Millions of pounds of new funding - but Peterborough still feeling the pinch

Hampton Gardens Secondary School. EMN-170829-164734009
Hampton Gardens Secondary School. EMN-170829-164734009
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Peterborough City Council leader Cllr John Holdich:

This week we received three sizable pots of money from central government.

Our bid for £1 million to become an Integrated Pilot Area was successful. It will boost opportunities for young people, improve opportunities for work and continue to develop community cohesion.

We’ve also received £1.5 million of funding to improve our roads after last year’s bashing from the ‘Beast from the East’.

Lastly, we’ve teamed up with eight local authorities and AgilityEco to secure £6.5 million to install central heating for the first time in up to 1,500 homes, including those at St Michael’s Gate.

Not bad for just a week. Let’s hope next week is the same!

While I’m talking about government funding, we’re hearing in the national news that the age of austerity is at an end.

This may be the case, but it certainly hasn’t trickled down to local government level yet.

Councils, including Peterborough, are still feeling the pinch as we continue to deliver more with less.

Our Stand Up For Peterborough campaign pushes the unique challenges we face into the national domain, helping government (and local people) understand the pressures we are under.

We are the fourth fastest growing city, yet this is not reflected in our government funding.

This means we have to top-up the cash needed for statutory services - that we legally have to provide - ourselves.

Things like building new schools, supporting older and younger people in care and providing homes for homeless households.

Since the launch of Stand Up For Peterborough we have not been resting on our laurels. This national attention has enabled us to start 1-1 conversations with key influencers about how to get a better deal for our city.

Editor Jonn Elledge from CityMetric is one such key influencer. CityMetric is part of the New Statesman publication and a key title which is read by government policy advisors interested in economy and developing cities.

A few weeks ago I met him at Peterborough Train Station and personally guided him around the city, together with Tom Hennesey from Opportunity Peterborough.

He was struck by our rapid growth and our ambitious, can-do attitude in developing a city to be proud of in future years.

Like us, he was staggered that our government revenue support grant had shrunk by a whopping 80 per cent, but impressed with how we had dealt with this, while continuing to prosper and grow.

Jonn’s report is well worth a read and it’s national significance will help us to continue to stand up for our city. Have a look for yourself on the CityMetric website - www.citymetric.com.

Like many of you, I’m now wrapped up for winter in a thick coat, scarf and flat cap. Winter is here. To coincide with the start of freezing temperatures, this week it’s Brake Road Safety Week. I’m urging you to take five minutes to check your tyre depth and pressures and make sure your wipers are working properly.

And when you get in the car please make sure you can see out of the windows properly before moving off.

Last year 103 people were killed or seriously injured on Peterborough roads and a further 639 received non-serious injuries. .

Finally, Peterborough City Market become a winter wonderland on Friday for its first ever Christmas Fayre.

There was plenty to see and do, including a Selfie Grotto, stalls with bespoke gifts, festive menus and a festive raffle.

At 3pm, Deputy Mayor Councillor John Fox unveiled a mystery installation, created in conjunction with Street Arts Hire. And at 5pm the Mayor, Councillor Chris Ash, turned on the Christmas Tree lights.

If you’re looking for a truly individual gift for someone and a personal shopping experience, come and look around.