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Budget boost after Fleetwood Town Council splashes cash

Coun Terry Rogers, chairman of the council
Coun Terry Rogers, chairman of the council

An unprecedented spending spree has seen a group of councillors increase their budget for community projects by more than 50 per cent.

Fleetwood Town Council overspent its £20,000 allowance by around £11,000 – prompting a warning that members were giving away too much cash.

But others said the money, which was covered by council reserves, was being well spent.

So far this year, the town council has spent taxpayer cash giving grant aid to 10 local schemes totalling £26,291, and four community projects costing £4,919.

Projects ranged from a £5,935 contribution to the Final Homecoming Parade, commemorating the centenary of the end of the First World War, to a £1,877 grant to fund road closures on Fleetwood Carnival Day.

Councillors agreed to increase the grant aid and community projects budget for the first half of the financial year from £20,000 to £31,210 to cover the sums already awarded.

Town clerk Debra Thornton said before the decision was taken: “The money is there in our reserves and can be spent.”

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Coun Rita Hewitt said: “This is a learning curve. We need to contain spending.”

Coun Terry Rogers, chairman of the council, said: “Some of the grants ... were time-critical and needed to be given in this year’s budget. Many of the grants were one-offs.”

Coun Emma Anderton added: “What is the point of having money sat in the bank when we have got good community causes which we are able to support?”

Future grant applications this year will be considered alongside the necessary increase to the budget.