Council agrees budget 'to boost economy'
25 Feb 2021
A budget aimed at boosting the county’s economy over the coming years has been agreed at Full Council.
There will be a big push on helping Northumberland to recover and grow economically following the coronavirus pandemic, with an emphasis on delivering a green and sustainable future for the county.
Councillors agreed to an ambitious three-year Capital Programme totalling more than £747m, which includes multi-million pound investments in rail and transport links, the regeneration of town centres, school improvements and a host of schemes relating to climate change.
Work is already well underway on new leisure centres for Berwick and Morpeth and renovation works at Cramlington and Newbiggin centres, while school improvement works will take place in Amble and Berwick as building continues on Hexham’s new facilities.
Funding has been approved for a range of town centre improvement programmes including Ashington, Bedlington and Hexham and the ongoing regeneration of Blyth as a flagship centre for renewable technology.
Millions are also set aside for new homes, along with investment in parks, roads and highway repairs.
An ongoing focus is also on the green agenda, with more than £6m agreed by members for climate change improvements, from investing in a more environmentally friendly fleet of vehicles to installation of solar panels on buildings and a range of flood prevention schemes.
Council Leader Glen Sanderson said: “This strong and ambitious budget is the result of months of planning, and I’d also like to thank residents for their key contribution in shaping the proposals.
“Nearly 400 people took part in our online consultation, while hundreds more watched a live budget question time and over 30,000 engaged on social media.
“By any stretch of the imagination this has been an extraordinary 12 months, bringing huge stresses on all of us, as well as on the wider economy.
“But brighter times lie ahead and this is reflected in our ambitious capital investment to regenerate the county and bring jobs.
"Our staff have worked hard to develop plans for economic recovery and on top of maintaining all our frontline services they’ve progressed delivery of investment in the county’s infrastructure – from new schools to leisure centres and improving roads.
“We’re proud of what we’re setting out to achieve over the coming years to improve the lives of everyone in all parts of the county.”