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Council budget to include £1m fund to help St Helens town centre
2:58pm Wednesday 5th March 2014 in News
A £1 MILLION business fund is being set aside to boost shopping in the town centre, St Helens Council’s budget plans for the forthcoming year have revealed.
Councillors are due to meet at the town hall last night over the 2014/15 budget in the face on continuing government cuts.
They are expected to vote through a council tax increase of 1.99 per cent.
The council says that by 2015 they will have seen a £65 million cut in government grants since 2010.
It has shed 1,400 jobs and faces more losses with the closure of the Red Bank secure children’s unit.
Council leader Barrie Grunewald pledged to protect services for the most vulnerable but admitted it will be an “uphill struggle”, with many tough decisions ahead.
Grunewald said: “The government has stretched essential council services to breaking point.
“But I can assure people that we will do our best to protect people from the government’s disgraceful attack on local government.”
However, in an effort to boost the town centre business there will be a significant cash hike.
He added: “I am intending to commit an additional £1 million to the business development fund to specifically support the development of retail activity and will look to our commercial partners to advise how best this funding can be used.”
He also cited the £6 million committed to the Parkside development and the £1 million to provide affordable mortgages to first time homebuyers as evidence of commitment to its communities.
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