Council funding protected and infrastructure spending up in Budget

Local Councils are to be protected from a further squeeze on spending, Chancellor George Osborne has announced in his budget.

It was announced in the Chancellor’s budget statement that most Whitehall departments will face a further 1% spending cut. However, schools and hospitals have been protected from the spending squeeze, as have police and local councils this year.

Conservative councillors in Bath and North East Somerset have welcomed this news as well as an announcement that more infrastructure funding is to be devolved to the regions.

The Government announced this week that it had accepted a majority of the recommendations contained within a report by Lord Heseltine on delivering economic growth, including the creation of a new Local Growth Fund from 2015.

Conservative Group Leader, Cllr Francine Haeberling, said:

“We welcome the fact that the Chancellor has protected local government from further spending cuts this year as well as his decision to plough more money into infrastructure funding.

“What we are seeing from this Government, in stark contrast to the last Labour Government, is much more devolution of funding to local areas. A number of ring-fenced grants which the Council used to receive have been axed and instead rolled into the general grant for B&NES to spend how it chooses. At the same time, infrastructure funding is becoming much more localised, so that the West of England can invest in projects which are a priority for our region.

“The crucial thing is for B&NES to work with the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership to ensure that our area shares in this increased capital spending and receives the investment in infrastructure we need to deliver economic growth.”