Labour's plan to drain congestion fund "short-sighted and harmful"

July 11, 2014 12:27 PM

Catherine SmartCambridge Liberal Democrats have attacked Labour's "short-sighted" plan to take £800,000 out of a fund to beat congestion in the city claiming it could cause "real harm".

The Lib Dems invested more than £1 million into the Keep Cambridge Moving Fund to ease congestion in the city arising from the widening of the A14.

But Labour plans an amendment to Cambridge City Council's Budget to drain the fund leaving just £263,000.

They plan to share the £800,000 between two new funds - £500,000 into a Shared Prosperity Fund and £300,000 into a Fixed Term Priority Project Fund. Both funds will pay for fixed-term or one off projects with the Shared Prosperity Fund also supporting the council's new Anti-Poverty Strategy.

Lib Dems, claim, however that it is premature to commit funds to the Anti-Poverty Strategy until there is a clear idea of where city council funds can be best used for long term reduction in poverty in the city.

And they claim that a council fund already exists to meet fixed-term or ongoing projects.

Cambridge Liberal Democrats' Deputy Leader, Catherine Smart said: "I am very worried about losing the Keep Cambridge Moving Fund.

"We face the real prospect of increased congestion in our city as a result of the widening of the A14 and this fund was set up to mitigate the effect of this road.

"We need money for match-funding county council schemes or to realise long-held ambitions for our city. Taking away this fund is short-sighted and could cause real harm to Cambridge.

"Our city's future prosperity relies on sustainable growth and this can only be achieved if people can move around the city and travel easily to other areas. That is why we put this fund in place and it is being seriously eroded by the new Labour administration. I fear this may be a cause for regret."

The Lib Dems will raise an amendment at Monday's (July 14) meeting of the council''s Strategy and Resources Scrutiny Meeting to retain the Keep Cambridge Moving Fund and scrap Labour's two new funds which will benefit from the money.

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