Suffolk County Council Conservative Administration welcomes its newest member of the Cabinet - Jane Storey. For the past year, Jane has done an outstanding job representing the Council as Chairman and has attended over 100 external events. Jane will be taking on the role of Cabinet Member for Broadband and Rural Affairs when she steps down from her current role at the annual meeting of the Council in June.
The roll out of Broadband across the County remains a high priority for the Conservative Group. Access to superfast broadband is critical for many elements of modern business and life, and SCC is working hard to ensure that a digital divide does not exist in Suffolk. Work was completed in the first contract ahead of target in September 2015. It was under budget, and over delivered (105,000 premises). The Conservative Administration were conscious that stopping at 85% would still leave a big gap in provision across the county, so SCC committed further funding (£30m) in late 2014, and were the first county nationally to commit to at least 97% coverage by 2019, under the BDUK Superfast Extension Programme. This build process is underway, and progressing well. SCC aims to increase coverage further towards 100%, and is ultimately committed to ensuring that Suffolk experiences 100% superfast coverage as quickly as possible. Jane will be working tirelessly to drive this ambitious agenda forward to ensure the people of Suffolk have the best possible Broadband access.
Jane will also be focusing on Rural Affairs. As a rural County many residents face challenges to access services and can sometimes be disproportionately affected by service changes. Jane will be ensuring that services to rural areas are defended and improved upon so that residents can easily access the services they require. Her cross-cutting role will ensure that every decision the Cabinet makes will be held up against how it effects rural communities.
Jane said: “I am delighted that the Leader has asked me to take a Cabinet post when my term as Chairman of the County Council comes to an end. The work on Broadband will be very important on all levels for Suffolk - particularly the economy, education and social infrastructure. Rural areas face different challenges to our towns and Colin has recognised this by creating a specific role to ensure our rural residents are given a louder voice. It dovetails very well with the work that Christopher Hudson does as Cabinet Member for Ipswich and the work of Sarah Stamp as Cabinet Member for Communities, working with our towns. I look forward to working with Colin Noble and all the other Cabinet members to continue delivering services and support to the people of Suffolk.”
Cllr Storey will take up her new role after the Council annual general meeting on 30th June 2016.