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Lib Dems call for £1million extra for Gloucestershire's roads in budget debate

By citizenmike  |  Posted: February 25, 2014

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COUNTY road repairs would be boosted by a further £1million if the Liberal Democrats get their way at a budget meeting tomorrow.

Gloucestershire county councillors are gathering to agree on a budget for the year ahead.

Liberal Democrat councillors have pledged to invest an additional £1million in road repairs as their biggest amendment to the budget this year.

A raft of other proposals are also being made by the county’s second largest group.

But they are hoping filling potholes will hit home with disgruntled motorists.

Councillor Paul Hodgkinson (LD, Bourton-on-the-Water and Northleach), the party’s spokesman for highways, said: “The recent bad weather has caused much damage and this can be seen on our county’s roads.

“An increase in the formation of potholes can be seen across the county.

“It is clear to us that the only solution to the problem of deteriorating road conditions in Gloucestershire is an additional programme of work requiring an injection of extra funding.”

The party says it will pay for the measure using money from the transformation reserve, which has an unallocated fund of £8million.

Councillor Jeremy Hilton (LD, Kingsholm and Wotton), the party’s finance spokesman, said: “This extra cash is desperately needed to stop our roads falling apart.

“We can all name a road that is waiting to be fixed. New potholes are appearing across Gloucestershire every day.”

It is unclear whether Conservatives will back the plan, however, after increasing the Gloucestershire Highways budget to the tune of £1million last Autumn.

But three other proposals are said to be more favourable with the group. They include sending all year five children on a visit to the SkillZONE centre in Tuffley to learn about personal safety, a reduction in charges for resident parking permits and carrying out a study into how school’s have used the pupil premium grant handed down by the Government to help disadvantaged youngsters raise their attainment levels.

Councillors will be presiding over a fourth year of budget cuts, which over that period will have totalled £114million – but taxpayers will be relieved that there will be another freeze in council tax.

LIB DEMS’ OTHER BUDGET DEMANDS

• More money for young people’s mental health support programmes to tackle rise in self harm. It would be paid for by a cut in the Active Together grant for councillors, reducing the grant for each councillor from £50,000 to £30,000.

• A one-off £35,000 investment to pay for all year five children in the county’s 246 primary schools to visit the Tuffley-based SkillZONE, which teaches children about personal safety.

• Reduce charges for resident parking permits from £80 to £50 for the first car. A study of 17 authorities found our county is within the top three most expensive places to purchase a permit. The reduction would cost £132,000 and would be paid for using a council tax surplus.

• A £10,000 study into how county schools have used the pupil premium grant introduced in April 2011 to share best practice. It is additional funding from the Government to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils and close the gap between them and their peers.

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2 comments

  • RoadWombat  |  February 25 2014, 12:47PM

    Speaking of the Lib Dems - one of their councillors has been issued a challenge (on an issue he himself has raised) so that he can demonstrate whether his party is worth voting for or not. You can follow the progress here. It is up to them now to demonstrate to you, the voter, their viability to represent you: http://tinyurl.com/ofaeyln

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  • SELINA30  |  February 25 2014, 12:46PM

    The Lib Dems are part of the problem. They are propping up the Tory government who are cutting back on funding.

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