AT THE latest meeting of Kirriemuir Probus Club, president Duncan Brown introduced guest speaker Richard Stiff, chief executive of Angus Council.
Born and brought up in East Anglia, Richard taught in secondary schools and a college of further education before entering local government. He held various executive positions in England before joining Angus Council in 2011. Stating that he was gradually getting to know the area, Richard said he has found Angus a very attractive place to live and work in and talked about the challenges and the expectations of Angus Council in the current climate of austerity.
By far the biggest employer in the area with a workforce of over 5,000, the council is currently committed to cutting spending by 11 per cent through reducing staff levels, cutting waste and paperwork by taking advantage of new technology and being smarter about procurement, as savings must be found in budgets to balance the books.
Richard told the members about some of the challenges the council faces, a major one being waste management, with some 38,000 tons yearly going to landfill. As the Scottish Government is looking for zero waste in landfill, recycling of household waste must increase. He touched on the problems that an aging population brings in Angus, with increasing demands on healthcare and the social care services.
Conversely, the outward migration of younger people has seen underutilisation of primary schools in the area.
Supporting and assisting local manufacturing businesses, as well as tourism and farming, is also a priority, as is house building and renovation of older properties. Richard concluded by saying that in spite of current problems and cutbacks, he could see from recent history many positives for the future in Angus.
A vote of thanks was proposed by Lindsay Brown, who thanked Richard for an excellent talk delivered with eloquence and humour which was obviously appreciated by the members.