5 September – Message from Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council


Now that Liz Truss is to become Prime Minister, when she is asked to form a government by the Queen tomorrow, she will be faced with some incredibly difficult issues to deal with from the cost of living crisis prompted by soaring energy costs, the war in Ukraine to UK inflation.  I look forward to working with her new government to provide whatever support we can to people across Solihull to get through these tough times.        

The death of Mikhail Gorbachev quickly brought back memories of the Cold War.  Gorbachev will be remembered in the West for his efforts to bring about change through "perestroika" (restructuring the Russian economy) using "glasnost" (openness) as the basis of his approach. 

In Russia his legacy is more contested and many blame him for the fall of the mighty USSR. In a sense the war in Ukraine is an unintended consequence of this collapse of the ‘communist empire’. It shows how quickly a march towards ‘freedom’ and ‘peace’ can end in war and aggression when those in power mourn the loss of control and influence and try to rebuild the USSR by force. 

Let us pray Putin’s successor is more like Gorbachev than Putin.

Closer to home, earlier in the summer I mentioned our new five-year plan for adult social care.  You’ve been sharing your views via our online survey which is open until Sunday 11 September.  It’s really important that we also hear from residents who don’t have internet access or prefer to talk to someone face to face so we’re holding two drop in sessions this week. 

Staff from adult social care will be at Touchwood Shopping Centre on Wednesday 7 September and Chelmsley Wood Shopping Centre on Friday 9 September.  If you have an interest in adult social care, use our services or care for someone who does, please drop in and tell us what matters to you.

I know that we are all facing unsettling times with the cost of living crisis and that these challenges will inevitably affect our health and well-being, which is why I’m so pleased that our Health and Wellbeing Board’s plan of action is now live.

The strategy entitled “Tackling health inequalities: a blueprint for Solihull 2022-2025” describes how we will address health inequalities over the next three years. You can read more about tackling health inequalities here.

Finally looking at more local matters, I was intrigued to see driverless technology meet the football pitch with our new Robot Pitch Marker. The pitch marker uses Geographical Position System (GPS) to guide it as it marks out a football pitch, while GPS is also amongst the many technologies that our cutting edge Connected and Automated Vehicle (CAV) programme uses as part of our trials of a driverless bus. 

Innovating and testing new technologies is how we as a region will be at the front of the sustainable economic revolution and it’s great that the Council is playing its part in developing these new technologies, building the skills that we will need in the coming years. 

Best wishes to you all

Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council