Thrice-capped council's extra pound;11m;Local authority spending

26th February 1999 at 00:00
Warwickshire County Council which has struggled against Government spending restrictions for more than a decade is to put an extra pound;11 million into education from April.

The Labour-controlled authority, which had its budgets capped three times by the previous Conservative administration, said it was determined to provide stability for its services.

The move came as councils across the country set their budgets, giving schools a much clearer picture of what they could expect to receive.

Ian Bottrill, Warwickshire's leader, said the council had used the newly-restored freedom for authorities to decide their own spending levels to remedy on once and for all "the last government's legacy of neglect".

He added: "It is a responsibility we take seriously and we will not shirk that responsibility."

Warwickshire is putting an additional pound;23.4m into front-line services at a cost of less than pound;1 per week for the average household. However, officers said the authority was still suffering financially.

Its education standard spending assessment needs to rise by pound;5.3m to bring it in line with the shire counties' average.

In neighbouring Oxfordshire secondary pupils are assessed as needing pound;122 more than those in Warwickshire, in Surrey an extra pound;135 and in East Sussex, pound;213.

Eric Wood, Oxfordshire's chief education officer, said: "There is a need for a simpler, more transparent and equitable funding system for our schools than the current mysteries of the SSA system."

In Cambridgeshire school budgets have been protected - rising pound;3.4m to pound;134.2m from April.

But cuts of pound;195,000 have been made to community education and pound;75,000 has been saved by increasing the cost of post-16 transport charges from pound;50 to pound;75 per family per term.

The price of school meals has increased and councillors have decided not to fund discretionary awards for another year, saving pound;120,000.

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