I am supporting the labour alternative budget because we need a radical and different approach to local authority finance. We cannot keep on doing what we have always done. We need to be smarter, more entrepreneurial, more creative.
We also need to find new ways of engaging our communities and our young people.
We have problems around schools with traffic and too many cars at the beginning and the end of the day. There are accidents waiting to happen and indeed sometimes they do happen. You may recall there was an accident outside Earl Spencer last year.
We also have problems with air emissions around schools and a growing number of children and staff suffering from asthma. This is not a County issue. This is an issue for us. We want to enlist the help of schools to help us monitor air quality. We are suggesting a pilot with 10 schools at an initial cost of £18,000. This is a one off cost for the air testing kit.
Children at the school coming up with scientific data might be just the thing that parents and visitors to schools will respond to. It may make them change their habits and reduce the use of cars, producing a cleaner and safer environment for our children.
We also need to engage our small businesses,. It is very concerning that many retailers are opting out of the town centre BID and we are taking them to court for non payment of the BID levy. We need to do better than this to engage small businesses. We need them to help regenerate the town.