A £770,000 government funding windfall will help prevent future floods and protect frontline services in Somerset.
A proposal to help prevent flooding in Somerset was launched by county councillors today. And more than half a million pounds could be returned to council budgets to protect some key frontline services.
The last-minute funding windfall of more than £770,000 was announced as the council’s own budget was being finalised.
The extra cash would fund a proposal to come to full council today to set aside a total of £200,000 for landowners and residents to help them in the costs of clearing their roadside gullies and ditches through providing grants.
Funding would also be used to monitor the grant funding so that essential work is prioritised.
“This is an important step to try and tackle flooding issues with all the problems and damage that causes,” said cabinet member Harvey Siggs.
“Many people, including landowners, do not realise that they are responsible for clearing gullies and ditches on their own property or land. But we are very aware of the tough financial times we are living in, and we have set up this flood prevention budget to help people out where we can.”
In a separate move, councillors will today vote on proposals to spend more than half a million pounds of this windfall on frontline services. The new proposals would see free transport for excluded school pupils continue along with free transport for children with special needs.
In addition, over £100,000 will be dedicated to continuing dementia support, £60,000 given back to children’s centres, and £100,000 set aside to take into account the increased costs of providing homecare services in more rural areas of the county.
Two of the biggest cash sums would be put back into budgets for support to raise achievements in schools and early years (£150,000), and learning disability services (£100,000).
John Osman, leader of the council, said: “On the day Full Council meets to approve next year’s budget, I am delighted to announce some last minute changes that will benefit thousands of residents across the county. This £770,000 windfall will enable us to help prevent our county against future floods, save transport for children with special educational needs and provide a fairer homecare service for our most vulnerable.”