RMBC councillors to ask for more community cash to spend in their wards

COUNCILLORS will ask for more cash to spend on community projects with high inflation meaning the current amount buys less.
Cllr Marnie HavardCllr Marnie Havard
Cllr Marnie Havard

Each year, RMBC’s 59 members receive a leadership fund of £1,584 for revenue projects, which can be spent on things like room hire, activity sessions and utility bills.

Capital pots of £10,680 and £7,120 are also given for wards with three and two councillors respectively, to be spent on physical assets like street furniture, computer equipment or other fixtures and fittings.

Wales ward member Cllr Marnie Havard raised the matter at a scrutiny meeting last Tuesday (24), asking if the amounts could rise given the current high costs.

Cllr Sarah Allen, cabinet member for neighbourhood working, said: “I think that’s an optimistic question. I’ve not been privy to or initiated any such conversation.

“Indicative budget figures have remained where they are for this year but that doesn’t mean to say I’m not going to ask for more as the process unfolds.”

The Improving Places select commission members from all parties agreed last Tuesday to ask for more cash.

Chairman Cllr Ken Wyatt said: “Inflation and raised costs of materials and labour should be factored into consideration of ward budgets, otherwise we’re just going backwards.

“If this stays static in the future, it’s going to be less and less that we will be able to achieve. Everything is going up. Play equipment has gone through the roof.”

Last year, elected members allocated more than £250,000 to projects – £110,820 from community leadership funds and £148,927 from the capital budgets. Some 267 community organisations were supported.

Underspends have previously been allowed to carry over to the next financial year but that will not happen this year because of the all-out elections next May.

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