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Gloucestershire's budget set


Gloucestershire County Council has set its budget for 2016/17 including more money for roads, extra support for vulnerable children and investment into cycling schemes.

Today, (17th February), the full council met to agree the spending priorities for the next year.

Originally, the cabinet was proposing a budget of £417.98 million and a council tax increase of 3.99%, including a two per cent National Adult Social Levy. The levy is ring-fenced and will raise £4.7million to spend on adult social care services, things like residential or domiciliary care, carers support or support to keep people living in their own homes and communities for as long as possible.

However, last week the government announced an additional £2.4million for Gloucestershire and today members decided how that would be spent.

Several amendments were put forward by the Conservative, Liberal Democrat and UKIP groups.

At the meeting it was agreed that:

·         £2.075million extra would be spent on roads, including increasing Highways Local to £30k per member and £7,500 per member for additional road maintenance in their area

·         £150k to invest in new cycling schemes from the Barriers to Cycling report

·         £100k investment to pay for a designated Traffic Regulation Order officer to speed up the processes

·         £50k to be match-funded with the district councils to look into air quality and pollution

·         £50k to continue the free visits for all five year olds at Skillzone

·         £25k investment into mental health support for children and young people

·         £20k into support to tackle Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)

·         £5k to provide free residents parking for all Band A electric vehicles for the first permit only

The council also agreed the previous proposals, which include £2million to recruit new social workers, investments into better broadband and continued focus on healthy and active communities.

Cllr Mark Hawthorne, Leader of the Council, said: "This is a budget that delivers for Gloucestershire people and one that we can be proud of.

"We've worked very hard for the past few years making more than £140millionof savings and protecting crucial services and I believe that what we've set out this year continues to do that.

"It provides £4.7m extra for vulnerable older people, over £150,000 extra for children and families and protects our road repair budget."

Cllr Lesley Williams, Leader of the Labour Group, said: "It's never easy when debating and agreeing a budget, the county is made up of many views and we all do our best to represent them.

"We will always fight for costed, accessible and high quality services and this year is no different.

"I  am also relieved the council took our view to spend £2million in children's social care."

Cllr Alan Preest, Leader of the UKIP group, said: "This was a difficult budget as it's no secret we're facing tough challenges and reductions in funding from government.

"However, I am pleased that we've been able to set a budget that protects services for those who really need them and invests more into roads, which affects everyone I represent."

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