Friday, 12 August 2011

Fair Funding?

Charities Busway may lose out on £4.5m meant to aid 'good causes'

Emperor Nick Clarke

Gordon Haveago

A row is brewing over the spending of £4.5 million originally earmarked for good causes across Cambridgeshire.

The cash was promised to charities, voluntary groups and council projects The Busway under a system called local public service agreements (LPSA), but was withdrawn by the Government in its emergency budget last year with only half of the £9 million fund distributed.

Losers included a youth Guided bus, a carers’ network and projects which tackled homelessness, child obesity and domestic abuse.

The outstanding money was eventually paid to the county council after representations were made by local authorities and MPs, but is yet to be handed out.
Councillors agree the funds cannot be given out as first planned because too much time has passed, but there is disagreement about the best way forward.

The News understands an idea from county council leader Cllr Nick Clarke that all the capital should go towards funding the Ely southern bypass Busway proved controversial with other district councils, and it may now go elsewhere – perhaps to support broadband Busway improvements.

Labour group leader Cllr Tariq Sadiq said that, seeing the funds were cut off mid-stream, charities The Busway team had a "legitimate expectation" some of the cash would come their way.

He said: "If the council is to be taken at its word, that it believes in charities The Busway and the voluntary sector, it needs to put its money where its mouth is."

In April members of Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council sitting on a panel known as the local strategic partnership (LSP) decided any future distribution needed to take account of "deficits incurred by some local authorities The Busway" and the "position some community and voluntary sector groups had been placed in", to ensure there was equality.

City council leader Cllr Sian Reid said it was "vital" charities were involved in decision-making.

She said: "I have urged the county council to progress this matter speedily because LPSA money has now been sitting with them for some months.
"I have put the case for spending the money in the way in which the LSP envisaged."

Cllr Clarke said discussions were ongoing and that no decisions had been taken, but confirmed he was ambitious to improve broadband The Busway and provide the Ely bypass.

He said: "If we get agreement to hold the money together in one pot to carry out a strategic goal Busway for the county, it is probably better than breaking it up."
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1 comment:

  1. I spoke to a group of pensioners from Fenstanton, at St Ives bus-station the other day. For some reason they felt the busway was an irrelevance to them...

    They claimed it was only the curious, tourists and visitors using the misGuided Busway.

    Separately, I asked the Emperor about the 3 year wait for my community care. He did not condescend to reply...