Tim Oliver, Conservative Leader of Surrey County Council and the division member for Weybridge, writes:
Surrey County Council remains in good shape, despite the impact of Covid. Prior to the crisis we’d got our finances under control, we had a clear agenda and were taking steps to finalise our transformation of services. Surrey’s children and adult services (the largest amount of our spending) were in a much better place than before, and this year was going to be all about good news stories.
Then Covid came along and we had to stop what we were doing and really focus on keeping the county safe and looking after our vulnerable residents. I’m proud of the way we stepped up. By working with boroughs and Surrey Police we’ve been able to contact 94% of Surrey’s 41,936 shielded residents, to ensure they have access to the support they need. We provided financial support to care homes, sent out food packages and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and built strong links with the voluntary and faith sectors which will endure. We also refurbished and opened (within 35 days) a former army rehabilitation centre at Headley Court to care for those recovering from the virus, taking pressure off the health service. All of the work in the county is being led out of the Local Resilience Forum which is chaired by Surrey County Council.
Now, as we come out of lockdown our focus is on containing any further outbreaks and helping to reopen our high streets. We need to make sure we create a better world for our residents after the crisis. People can expect a continued focus from Surrey on value for money and delivering services locally.
We’re rolling out Active Travel schemes to encourage people to walk and cycle to our town centres, with a view to seeing if they should become more permanent. We’ve set out a plan to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2050 to tackle climate change. As part of this we’re planting 1.2 million trees and safeguarding grassland and woodland.
And we’re about to launch a £100M fund for community projects, so people can apply for money for schemes that will make a real difference to their area.
Our key focus that drives everything we do at Surrey is to address inequalities. Whether that’s inequality of life expectancy or opportunity, and our tagline is no-one is left behind.