Council agree new priorities

At the meeting of Dumfries and Galloway Council last Thursday, councillors agreed to a new set of priorities.

The four new council priorities target the most important areas of council services; on improving the region economically and also ensuring better lives for our children and other vulnerable groups.

These priorities will be at the heart of council services.

The new priorities that were agreed by members are:

Building the local economy - This continues to be the number one priority of the council who are committed to ensuring that Dumfries and Galloway emerges from the economic downturn in a stronger position. This will be achieved by:

- Improving the level of skills within our communities and workforce

- Supporting our small and medium sized businesses in establishing themselves and growing

- Investing in our key infrastructure

- Providing an attractive location to do business

- Developing a diverse economy that creates sustainable, high wage job opportunities

Provide the best start in life for all our children – Dumfries and Galloway Council is committed to giving all local children an equal chance to fulfil their potential. This will be achieved by:

- Ensuring early intervention in particular to support our region’s most vulnerable children

- Investing in creating schools fit for the 21st century, which are at the heart of our communities

- Raising ambition and attainment, in particular to address inequalities

- Supporting children in being healthy and active

Protect the most vulnerable – Dumfries and Galloway Council wants the most vulnerable residents – many of whom live in poverty – to have the support and resources they need to live healthy, independent lives. This will be achieved by:

- Alleviating the causes and effects of inequality and poverty

- Helping older and vulnerable people receive the care and support they need

- Keeping our communities safe

An inclusive council – This includes:

- Ensuring that local people and communities are at the heart of our decision making process

- Increasing equality of opportunity

Speaking at the meeting of full council, council leader Ronnie Nicholson said: “The Administration is determined that our council makes a positive difference to the lives of those in our community who most need a helping hand. We know that we face falling budgets but rising demand for services so we have to focus on the issues that matter most to local people. I have consistently said that the number one Priority of our Council needs to be building the local economy. We need to commit to ensuring that Dumfries and Galloway emerges from the economic downturn in a stronger position by focusing on tackling as best we can the underlying weaknesses in our local economy- low pay, underemployment, above average levels of youth unemployment and the low level of qualifications.

“We also need to make a clear commitment to prioritising giving all local children and young people an equal chance to fulfil their potential, whether that is through strong early years support or delivering the changes needed in our children’s services to create the safest possible environment. When it comes to making the tough financial challenges, I have also said that we need to be guided by a commitment to protect our most vulnerable residents – whether it is those living in poverty or those suffering from poor health.

“And finally, it we are to achieve these priorities - it will need all of us to work together as an inclusive council in partnership with local people, our communities, our businesses, our staff and other organisations in our region.”