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Welsh road repair borrowing scheme launched

Councils in Wales are going to be allowed to borrow £60m to fund highways repairs this year, to plug the funding gap that would otherwise see many roads rapidly deteriorate.

Under the new Local Government Borrowing Initiative (LGBI), across Wales, local authorities will receive £240m of funding from the Welsh Government over the 22-year life of the scheme, to support capital borrowing amounting to around £172m over the next three years.

£4m in revenue funding is to be provided in the first year of the LGBI, £8m in 2013-14, and £12m in 2014-15 and thereafter, until it winds down again to £8m in 2032-33, and £4m in 2033-34, totaling £240m over 22 years.

How much money each of the 22 councils is getting has now been announced, withCardiffgetting £348,949 for capital borrowing worth £5.13m, while Bridgend is getting £158,179 for £2.32m, for example.

Welsh Local Government Association regeneration director Tim Peppin told the BBC: “It’s very much a question of seeing how this works, but it has the potential to be used in other areas.

“Some people in authorities have raised concerns, but there’s a world of difference between borrowing to finance straight consumption and borrowing to put the main bedrock of the economy into shape.”

Hutt said: “We want to help councils address revenue pressures, and see them undertake new and necessary capital investment in our highways.

“By providing £4m in the first year of the scheme local authorities will be boosting their capital spending by £60m this year resulting in immediate improvements to our roads and highways, and creating or safeguarding around 900 jobs.”

When first announcing the LGBI in February, Hutt said: “By giving local authorities the opportunity to borrow funding to accelerate road improvement projects we are helping to create new job opportunities for local people as well as providing supply chain opportunities for local businesses.”

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