UP TO £12million could be pumped into improving the county’s roads.
Worcestershire County Council is applying for £6million of government funding to match the same level of investment the authority has planned.
An extra £2million is being added to the council’s existing maintenance and upgrade programme over the next four years, while another £2million will be distributed between councillors to pay for road improvements in their wards. On top of that £2million of New Homes Bonus money – which rewards councils for building more properties – will be used to bid for the additional funds.
The move was revealed as part of the council’s budget for 2015/16.
As the Standard previously reported, Council Tax will rise by 1.94 per cent – adding about an extra £20 a year to the average bill. Councillors say the move is necessary to fund an extra £4million needed by children’s services to meet rising demand.
A further £600,000 will be ploughed into waste disposal to deal with a significant increase in the amount of household rubbish.
Elderly care will benefit from a £2million boost in response to the growing older population and the increasing complexity of supporting vulnerable older people and adults with disabilities.
A total of £100,000 has also been pledged to help deliver a scheme to improve Redditch Town Centre.
The council has to save £25million from April, following cuts to its government funding, and a shortfall of £2.4million revealed in December has now been plugged, partly due to an increase in money collected through Council Tax and Business Rates.
Council leader Adrian Hardman said the budget was driven by Worcestershire people rather central Government.
“We continue to invest and remove congestion on our road infrastructure, and we continue to guard the most vulnerable in this county.” he told a cabinet meeting last Thursday (February 5).
Coun Marcus Hart, responsible for Health and Well Being, added there was no ‘salami slicing’ in Worcestershire.
“We are transforming and developing our services for the people of Worcestershire.”
But Coun Peter McDonald, leader of the Labour group on the council, said the budget was just a repeat of last year.
“It will mean more and more employees being dismissed.”