Continued from Part 2.
Donnie said that the document said there was £200 million left and asked to the layperson what did that mean, as most people don’t talk in those figures? He said he had come along to try to get an understanding of the mechanics. Normally there would be presentations from the grass-roots about bids, but they had received a letter from the new Chief Executive saying the funding had been suspended which he was disappointed about. He said that funding at that level was important and he didn’t understand what caused a £17 million overspend unless people just “can’t add up”. He asked a question about the Rampworx project and how Wirral Council had offered match funding, but that the site had archaeological significance and contamination issues and how they had looked at a plan B which was the back field to the Bidston Rise estate. He asked whether this had been put on hold or they’d switched to plan B?
Cllr Foulkes said that he hadn’t got the Cabinet decision which was about non-essential spending and why it fell foul was that it wasn’t life or death. He said that it should be a priority as it would create jobs and youth opportunities and sounded like good value for money, however they had to fight for investment.
Donnie said that the land in question belonged to Wirral Partnership Homes and had been transferred by mistake with the housing stock, so it was designated as building land due to the need for affordable housing. He was hoping at the Strategic Housing Partnership meeting that he would find out more.
Cllr Foulkes asked Ian Brand to answer.
Ian Brand said if they had entered a legal contract then the money wouldn’t be frozen, he said he would talk to Donnie separately after the meeting.
Cllr Roberts said although this fund was frozen, that there was another pot of money called Community First that it was possible to apply to and that Anna Wallace the person responsible for Bidston could help. She said as there were no further questions, they would move to the consultation on Council Tax support and benefits.
The officer said they were proposing changes from the 1st April 2013 and that there were 40,000 people in receipt of Council Tax Benefit. There were a few rules, pensioners were protected so they would be no worse off and there was a suggestion that they should protect vulnerable groups. There was another consultation about the changes and they were now seeking people’s views. They currently received £32 million for Council Tax Benefit, which would be reduced by £3.2 million next year, so they were looking at options, one of which was not backdating claims and whether there should be a discretionary fund for hardship. If they didn’t agree on a scheme, then the default scheme would be the same as the one they had now. The consultation was running from the 1st September  to the 31st October .
Continued at Part 4.