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COUNCIL CUTS: Travel and sport will get a boost
9:00am Wednesday 20th February 2013 in News
FUNDING for an Oxfordshire “oyster card” and a cash injection for Oxford City Football Club are included in spending plans.
Despite swingeing cuts to council coffers, decisions made at County Hall and Oxford Town Hall didn’t all spell bad news.
County council leader Ian Hudspeth yesterday used his speech on the budget to announce £50,000 from reserves would be spent on developing an Oyster-style payment system for county transport methods.
He also said the council would spend £100,000 on economic growth in the county and would re-establish the “big society” fund, a £10,000 pot given to each councillor to pay for community projects.
He said: “I am pleased to announce one-off funding to come from the efficiency reserve in 2013/14 so that we can develop improved and joined-up technical solutions to paying for journeys across Oxfordshire and beyond. As part of our commitment to economic growth, we have allocated £100,000 for the next three years to increase the county council’s capacity to pursue growth opportunities with our partners in the public and private sector.”
After the meeting, Mr Hudspeth said the money was not ringfenced for any specific projects, but could be spent on training and skills, or used as match funding to attract other investment.
At Oxford Town Hall on Monday night, a £60,000 grant for Oxford City Football club was approved as part of the city council’s budget for the 2013/14 year.
The cash will help upgrade the club’s home ground in Marsh Lane, Marston, which is owned by the council.
The club was promoted from the Southern Premier League to the Conference North League last year.
As part of the move up, the FA gave the club until next month to upgrade their facilities.
Three new turnstiles, larger dugouts, new floodlighting and a different seating arrangement are among the plans.
Club manager Mike Ford said: “We have come a long way in a very small amount of time.
“The higher up you go means you have to tick a number of boxes, so now we can look forward to staying in the league next season.
“We have almost crossed the finish line to stay in the league. We need to win a couple more games first but we have proven we are not out of our depth after moving up, and will now have the grounds to stay up.”
City managing director Colin Taylor said: “The stadium is 20 years old and the new improvements will help for training and attract more players. We have young teams which use it as well who are near the top of the leagues so it will benefit them as well.”
Oxford City Council leader Bob Price said: “We are very happy to make the allocation to ensure that Oxford City Football Club can remain in their league.
“And we also welcome the long- term benefits of having improved seating and lighting because it is a council facility that can be used by a variety of clubs and teams.”
As part of the city council’s four- year financial plan, an extra £100,000 a year will also be pumped into the council’s apprenticeship scheme to help train new staff in-house, while more than £470,000 will be spent on sports pavilions across the city and £500,000 on roads and verges on estates.
The city council also approved a capital spending programme of more than £40m over the next four years, including £19m on housing.