May 24 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, February 14, 2013
A £1m Olympic Legacy fund needs to be created in Norfolk to ensure the county does not lose out on the momentum generated by last summer’s successful London games, say opposition councillors at Norfolk County Council.
The fund is one of three key planks of the alternative budget which will be put forward by the Liberal Democrat group at next week’s County Hall meeting where the budget for the year ahead will be agreed.
The controlling Conservative group has already stated it intends to freeze council tax and make another £51.5m of savings, which could see up to 200 further jobs axed at the authority.
But the Conservatives also intend to spend £8m to help some of the most vulnerable people in Norfolk, inlcuding a £5m five-year project to support prevention services for older people, including training volunteers to visit the vulnerable to encourage them to use services and prevent them being isolated.
However, the Lib Dems say that, by cutting the communication budget at the council, taking some cash from the chairman’s budget, cutting member allowances and other back office cuts, they could make more money available for other projects.
Mike Brindle, leader of the Lib Dems, said: “Our budget amendment does not sacrifice any of the front-line services put forward within the administration’s budget, but it offers up additional spending on three areas and schemes.”
One is the creation of a Norfolk Olympic Legacy Fund to help community clubs and groups build on the impact of last year’s games.
Mr Brindle said: “We are disappointed that more has not been done to build on the momentum generated by the Olympics. So we would set up a fund of £1m over four years which community clubs and sports groups could bid for to help increase participation.
“We are in a great time for sport, with a football club in the Premier League, the Tour of Britain passing through Norfolk and paralympians such as Jessica-Jane Applegate.
“But we don’t believe the council did enough before London 2012 to help increase participation and we don’t want to see the county miss out on the opportunity to capitalize on the social and health benefits an Olympic legacy could have for Norfolk.”
The Lib Dems also want to triple the £1m funding the Conservatives have earmarked for school challenge and improvement. Mr Brindle said: “Norfolk is continuing to fall begind similar authorities, so we want to spend £2m extra over three years to deal with that and enable children to pick up a bit.
“We highlighted a year ago that that school performance and achievement is the most pressing issue this county faces.”
The final proposal is to create an annual fund of £500,000 for a Care with the Community scheme. Mr Brindle said: “We want to tap into the large audience of potential volunteers who are willing to give their time to a cause but cannot afford to be out of pocket in doing so.
“It would give them access to small amounts of money, such as petrol and hall hire.”
The budget will be discussed at County Hall at 10am on Monday.
Terrorism returned to the streets of London today as two suspected Muslim fanatics butchered a man in broad daylight in the name of “Allah”.
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