Gloucestershire County Council defends £12m investment

Proposals to spend £12m of council money on boosting Gloucestershire's economy have been defended by the leader of the Conservative-run council.

It plans to spend £7.5m on rural broadband, £1m helping first-time buyers, £2.5m on the Elmbridge park-and-ride and £1m on young people.

Council leader Mark Hawthorne said it had the "right plan in place" to keep Gloucestershire's economy growing.

"We're making sure businesses stay in the county and create jobs," he said.

'Anti-social behaviour'

"We've also got a job to make sure we have got businesses in the county paying business rates and people in employment paying council tax and income tax to fund these services.

"So we think the balance is right, we've got some money, it's one-off revenue and capital to help stimulate local growth.

"I think it is absolutely right the county council does this," Mr Hawthorne added.

But the mayor of Nailsworth, Councillor Steve Robinson, said he was unimpressed by the announcement.

He said youth club provision across the county had been badly hit as part of the £114m savings the local authority had to make last February.

"Now they are starting on new projects and there is hardly a youth club in the county.

"We're hearing in the local press of anti-social behaviour in Matson and elsewhere. I'm sure this is making a difference," he added.

The proposals are due to go before a full meeting of council on 22 February.

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