Government confirms �6m growth fund cut
THE Government has confirmed that its contribution to growth-related infrastructure next year will be cut by 43 per cent, delaying several key projects – but Huntingdon s �3million town centre link should be safe. The �6million reduction means plans to de
THE Government has confirmed that its contribution to growth-related infrastructure next year will be cut by 43 per cent, delaying several key projects - but Huntingdon's �3million town centre link should be safe.
The �6million reduction means plans to deliver sustainable new communities across Cambridgeshire have suffered a massive blow, Cambridgeshire County Council said.
Although the county had been warned of the threatened cut, it had hoped its arguments for keeping the cash would chime with Whitehall.
In July, Communities and Local Government (CLG) ministers wrote to council leader Councillor Jill Tuck, outlining the department's intentions to reduce the county's Housing Growth Fund (HGF) capital allocation for 2010-11 by almost �6 million.
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The link road is one of the projects for which HGF funding had been earmarked.
Local authorities and Cambridgeshire Horizons, the not-for-profit company set up to deliver the infrastructure needed for scores of thousands of new homes in and around Cambridge, protested vigorously. But on Tuesday the Government confirmed the reduction.
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Councillor Tuck said: "I am furious at the Government's attitude to funding Cambridgeshire, as once again we are the poor relation. Due to the economic power of Cambridgeshire, it has been shown we can help drive the UK out of the recession and onto prosperity.
"At a time when fat-cat bankers are benefiting from bonuses paid for by taxpayers and public services, the Government should be looking at ways to redress the balance, not rob us of more money. Cambridgeshire is the fastest-growing county in the country, and it is vital that Government invests in us so we can properly manage this growth."
Horizons chairman Sir David Trippier, a former housing Minister, added: "We are very annoyed that the Government has confirmed the proposals to cut Cambridgeshire's Housing Growth Fund capital allocation for 2010-11 by �6 million, and that it has not been swayed by the very serious points we made in response to the consultation.
"Cambridgeshire has an excellent track record in helping deliver Government targets for new homes, and facilities, and the 43 per cent cut to our funding allocation for next year will have a significant impact on our ability to deliver sustainable new communities.
"Much of the money had already been earmarked for a range of vital schemes which are due to deliver significant numbers of new homes over the coming years, and we must continue to work hard with partners to re-evaluate these proposals."
Malcolm Sharp, director of environmental and community services at Huntingdonshire District Council, said: "We are very disappointed to hear that the Government did not take into consideration the concerns that we expressed in terms of the growth funding. We will find it difficult to build the infrastructure to match the growth. However, we are confident that some priority schemes, like the link road in Huntingdon will still go ahead."
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