The strain on local government has never been greater. We've got big issues to deal with and less money to do it. The Chancellor’s recent Autumn Statement has not helped with this.

Over the last ten years we have seen a 50 per cent cut in real terms to government funding for local councils, including Watford Council. The Government are planning further cuts in local government funding and insufficient funding for our NHS, schools and police service. Sadly, the Government continues to neglect vital public services. We see this all around us, with roads that are crumbling and people struggling to get GP appointments. There is a real sense that things can’t go on like this and we need proper investment in the services we use.

Last week Watford Council was inspected. This is known as a Peer Review and involves senior leaders from other councils talking with hundreds of people about the performance of the council. They recognised that Watford Council is responding to our financial challenges well, and delivering excellent services for our residents. We are in a far better position than many other councils, but the financial challenges we face are significant.

Of course, no council will get everything right, but the team reviewing Watford Council were impressed with our ‘can do’ attitude and the way we roll up our sleeves to deliver improvements to the town, such as the Beryl Bike scheme, better parks, restoring the River Colne and working with local charities to help people sleeping rough.

Despite the financial challenges we face, I know that everyone at the council remains focused on delivering the best possible services for our residents.

  • Peter Taylor is the elected mayor of Watford