Sunderland City Council reveals £81million spending plans for roads, schools and buildings in bid to support jobs

Sunderland Civic Centre
Sunderland Civic Centre
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SUNDERLAND City Council has revealed plans to spend £81million on new investments in the city’s roads, schools and buildings in a bid to “support jobs, regeneration and wealth creation.”

The authority is coping with million pounds of funding cuts as part of the Government’s defecit reduction policies.

Cabinet Secretary Mel Speding said the council was prioritising cash to best support the city.

In a statement released this afternoon, he said: “Despite the cuts, we must continue to do is invest in the city’s infrastructure. With our improving schools, investments in roads and transport we can help generate more wealth and attract more jobs.

“We have to continue with work regenerating and investing in our city so we become more prosperous.”

The budget proposals will go before Sunderland’s ruling cabinet next Wednesday.

The meeting will also set out a provisional figure for the council tax charges in Sunderland.

Councillor Mel Speding, Cabinet Secretary, said: “Sunderland has been given a disproportionate level of cuts in its grant funding from Government.

“Because of the cuts to grant funding here, which are at higher levels than many other similar-sized authorities, we are again facing harsh and extremely difficult decisions on budgets.

“The council continues to look at new ways and alternative means of meeting our statutory service delivery. Nonetheless with a fourth year of Government grant reductions, changes to front-line services are unavoidable.

“The budget proposals therefore include the recommissioning of services, reprioritising spending, greater collaboration, and alternative ways of delivering services.

The final budget is decided at a full meeting of the council on Wednesday 5 March.

The council has a funding gap of £35million for 2014/2015. Bosses say its income from council tax, business rates and Government grant funding has been reduced by more than the national average.

In the last three years, the council has cut spending by more than £100million, with a potential reduction of more than £113million in prospect over the next three budgets.

The authority has also axed 2,845 jobs.

•Next week’s budget meeting takes place on Wednesday February 12 in Committee Room One from 2pm. It is open to the public.