It is one year since I became Mayor of Doncaster and a great deal has happened in those 12 months.
As everyone knows, Doncaster Council has been through a turbulent time and it is the people of Doncaster who were let down.
However, we are now making real improvements, putting the council back on track and ensuring it is led professionally.
We have received good feedback from partner organisations, schools and Government commissioners about the progress we are making.
The new Enterprise Zone at the airport, which I proposed, can deliver 4,000 new jobs and will help to secure some of the business growth and new investment that Doncaster needs.
I also pledged to create 750 new apprenticeships for our young people and we have already delivered over 250.
Companies are locating in Doncaster and our unemployment figures have gone down. We have also changed the rules to help local companies bid for council contracts, so that more money spent by the council stays in the borough.
In addition, we’ve implemented the business rates relief scheme in a way which will save companies money while ensuring a good deal for the local taxpayer.
I also promised to do all I can to help people who were struggling with the cost of living crisis, starting by helping people get a good deal on their gas and electricity bills.
I was delighted with the success of our first scheme which will save residents over £80,000 in total – 385 households took part with each one saving an average of £209 a year. You can register at www.doncaster.gov.uk/switch.
The development of an independent children’s trust has moved forward but the model has been improved after my discussions with Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Education.
For the first time ever, Doncaster Council has also agreed a three-year budget, ensuring proper forward financial planning.
This is vital as we responsibly manage the massive cuts we are facing as a result of the Government’s austerity measures. As everyone knows, this will also mean considering difficult and potentially controversial decisions, but they will be made in the right way after careful consideration of all the information available.
Of course there is still a great deal to do. For example, I would like to see improvements in our schools and I hope everyone will back our bid to bring Higher Education facilities like the national High Speed Rail College to Doncaster.
We will be developing further plans in the coming year, but we are now on the right track and moving in the right direction.
* Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster