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County Council says road repair bill will run into hundreds of millions

The leader of Cumbria County Council has welcomed the news that the government has pledged £40 million to help repair some of the county's flood hit roads.

However, Stuart Young has said the total repair bill across the county will run into hundreds of millions of pounds.

Our initial estimates indicate that the cost of repairing all the infrastructure which has been damaged by the recent flooding in Cumbria alone, will run into hundreds of millions of pounds.

This includes roads, bridges and schools, but we welcome this announcement of an initial allocation towards the cost of repairing the A591, Eamont Bridget and Pooley Bridge.

We will continue to work closely with the government and their agent Highways England, to ensure that these vital communications links are restored as soon as possible."

– Cllr Stewart Young, Leader of Cumbria County Council


Full range of flood funding now available

The Eden river in Appleby burst its banks Credit: ITV News Border

A full range of funding schemes for those who've been affected by flooding has now been put in place by Cumbria County Council.

Six separate flood schemes have been set up to support households and businesses, with a seventh scheme to fund household protection due to launch on January 4th.

These flood schemes include:

  • £500 for every household that has been flooded
  • Flood resilience grants of up to £5000 (launching January 4th)
  • Council Tax relief scheme for flood properties
  • Business Rates relief scheme for flooded businesses
  • Business grants of up to £10,000 for businesses affected by flooding
  • Funding for households via the Cumbria Community Foundation
  • Funding for voluntary organisations via the Cumbria Community Foundation

For further information on these grants and how to apply for them, visit the Cumbria County Council website, here.

Department for Transport responds to rail protest

The Department for Transport was responding to criticism from the RMT. Credit: ITV Border

The Department for Transport has released a statement in response to protests from the RMT union, about proposals to cut ticket staff jobs.

The rail and transport union is protesting outside Cumbria County Council's meeting in Kendal today, because the Government has decided that local authorities will have more say over local rail services:

The next Northern and Transpennine franchises will bring massive improvements for customers, including removing the outdated and unpopular Pacers, bringing in a brand new fleet of modern trains, and boosting capacity at peak times by a third. It’s part of our ambitious one nation plan to transform transport infrastructure and build a Northern Powerhouse to create a balanced, healthier economy.

We recognise the value of customer-facing staff on the railways, which is why we are not specifying any staff cuts in the new franchises. Giving drivers responsibility for opening and closing doors frees up on-board staff to provide the high level of customer service that passengers deserve.”

– DfT spokesperson


Protests expected over fire and rail cuts

The council has proposed closing fire stations. Credit: ITV Border

Opponents of plans to cut fire stations and axe rail jobs in Cumbria are expected to stage protests in Kendal today.

Members of the Fire Brigades Union and the RMT rail union are set to gather outside Cumbria County Council's full council meeting, to object to proposals to close five fire stations and cut train guard posts.

Council to consider closing fire stations

Cumbria County Council. Credit: ITV Border

Plans to cut millions of pounds from public services in Cumbria will be discussed by councillors today.

Cumbria County Council says it has to save an additional 17.5million pounds next year and is putting forward savings proposals for public consultation.

The plans include closing four fire stations, which the council say could shut as the number of fires in the county is decreasing.

Well we've certainly selected fire stations for a number of reasons, one is that the level of risk has reduced, but also that there is a proximity of other fire resources and fire appliances from local stations in close proximity."

– Jim Onions, Chief Fire Officer, Cumbria Fire and Rescue

Councillors to get 1% allowances increase

Cumbria County Council Credit: ITV Border

Councillors at Cumbria County Council are to get a one percent increase in their allowances.

It was agreed at a council meeting today, and has now come into force.

The Independent Remuneration Panel recommended a significantly higher increase - of 2.2 percent.

The council expects to have to save £55 million by 2019.

Although I welcome the panel’s recommendations and recognise the hard work that they have done, we are in unprecedented financial times.

The challenges we are facing ahead will be very difficult and we will have no choice but to make difficult decisions. With this in mind we felt it was not appropriate that we agreed to take a 2.2% pay rise, especially when in real terms the rate of pay for our staff has gone down despite a national pay increase received by our staff last year.

With this in mind we felt that the only reasonable increase that we could and would consider, would be 1%. I feel that this acknowledges the hard work and commitment of our members, but also recognises the current financial climate within which we find ourselves operating.”

– Stewart Young, Leader of Cumbria County Council

Our report was underpinned by research and consultation with the public, via the local media, questionnaires and using channels such as Facebook and Twitter.

We were particularly impressed with the feedback from the Cumbria Youth Council. We believe that a modest increase in allowances is appropriate even in the challenging financial climate locally and nationally.

Whilst the council didn’t accept our recommendation of 2.2% the Panel feels that the 1% does go some way to recognise the hard work and commitment of the council’s members."

– John Lyons, Chairman of the Independent Remuneration Panel
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