Norfolk needs ‘technological motorways’ says county leader - but Labour question children’s services commitment
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The re-elected leader of Norfolk County Council has said economic development will be one of the most important issues to tackle in the next 12 months.
But Conservative leader Cliff Jordan came under fire from Labour, who questioned where looking after the county's vulnerable children fell on his list of priorities.
Mr Jordan, whose Conservative group was strengthened from 42 councillors to 55 after the county council elections, was re-elected as County Hall leader this week.
New Labour group leader Steve Morphew asked Mr Jordan what his most important priority would be.
Mr Jordan replied his group had produced a manifesto which had set out the Conservative programme.
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He said: 'All of that is important, all of it.
'But one of the most important things is business and economic development to try to get the county to the top end.
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'Connected with that is broadband and mobile phone signals, because they go together in trying to get more business.
'We don't have motorways in Norfolk, but we need technological motorways so we can take on trade worldwide.'
The council's economic development sub-committee has been scrapped, with a business and property committee created.
But Mr Morphew said: 'Important as business is, we have to be amazed that vulnerable children and adults is not top of the Conservative agenda for the coming year.
'Given the poor performance of the Conservatives during the past year, I'd have thought they would be desperate for improvement.'
But Mr Jordan said those services were also priorities.
And he said the recent monitoring letter from Ofsted had highlighted decisive action his party took to improve a children's services department twice rated as inadequate by watchdogs.
Newly-elected Conservative Penny Carpenter has been named chair of the children's services committee.
Of the 13 councillors on it, just two - Conservative Barry Stone and Labour's Emma Corlett - were previous members of the committee. Ten are completely new to the council.
The EDP has, through our Fighting For Their Futures campaign, been investigating services for young people in the county.
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