County freeze hits highways

January 18, 2007 10:00 AM

Lib Dems on Cambridgeshire County Council have exposed yet more mid-year cuts to services in the County.

Half a million pound is to be cut from Highways maintenance mid-year in another attempt to patch up overruns built up by the Conservative-run County Council. Back in November the County Council announced a freeze on previously agreed Minor Traffic Regulation Orders works including changes to parking regulations and new disabled parking bays in an attempt to correct already massive overspends at the Council. This will now be extended to Highways work.

Councillor Julian Huppert, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Cambridgeshire County Council and East Chesterton County Councillor, commented:

"Highways maintenance budgets are being continually raided in order to compensate for the County Council's financial mismanagement. The Council has a duty to make sure that the roads are safe for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, even more so in winter time when frosts and floods can cause further damage to road surfaces. This half a million pound cut will mean all new highways maintenance work will be frozen.

"The saga of these massive mid-year overspends continues and gets worse, resulting in the cuts we've now seen for many months. Today's panicky announcement is yet another in a long list of cuts. In a budget crisis like this surely it would be better to cut spending on the central bureaucracy of the Council, rather than essential services like highway maintenance."

Julian Huppert

Councillor Julian Huppert

Cambridgeshire County Council's Cabinet will approve the proposals to transfer another £630,000 to the budget recovery plan at the Office of Environment and Community Services at a meeting on January 23. £530,000 of this will be taken from Highways maintenance meaning a freeze on all maintenance work that is not already scheduled.

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