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Monday, 21 April 2014

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Funding announced to repair storm-damaged roads in Cumbria

MORE money is being set aside to repair storm-damaged roads in Cumbria, following recent flooding and a windy winter.

Cumbria County Council will be asked to set aside an additional £849,000 to repair the county’s ravaged roads, particularly in coastal areas.

The funding package will be presented at a budget meeting of full council on Thursday following amendments to the draft budget agreed by Cabinet on January 30.

Cumbria’s final Local Government Settlement and the clarification of grants means that the council’s budget for 2014/15 has one-off funding of £2.317m above the amount agreed in last month’s draft budget.

In January, the Cabinet decided on spending cuts of £88m over three years.

Detailed assessments on the extent of the damage to the highways network caused by floods and storms over the last two months are still being assessed, but initial surveying work suggests the damage bill will be over £1m.

The council will also be asked to channel nearly £1,500,000 into improving the county’s schools and supporting some of Cumbria’s most vulnerable young people.

The extra money comes from the Special Educational Needs Reform Grant (£564,000) and the Adoption Reform Grant (£404,000). This will be boosted by one-off funding of £500,000 for 2014/15 from the council to help strengthen school improvements in collaboration with headteachers.

Councillor Jo Stephenson, deputy leader and cabinet member for resources at Cumbria County Council, said: “I am pleased that we can alleviate some of our immediate budget pressures on highways repairs next year and also channel some one-off money to supporting young people, but the task before the county council is still grim.

“While it would be tempting to put off some of the difficult decisions we face, we cannot escape the reality that we are only half way there to achieving our savings targets. We need to save millions this year and we need to save more after that. We must turn the tap off now on some of the non-statutory functions that we know we can’t sustain any longer.”

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