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Leader's Blog - January 2018

Happy new year to you all.

2017 was a year of innovation and progress for Warrington Borough Council and 2018 promises to be the same.
The fantastic new temporary market opened along with the new 1,160 space, multi-storey car park. Construction has now started on the main elements of the town centre development:  the cinema, restaurants, new council offices and the new permanent market hall.

We also completed the acquisition of Birchwood Park. This is a significant investment which should see a significant return and will realise £4-5m from our capital assets, which will mean we won’t have to cut £4-5m from our services. 
Redwood Bank Warrington opened with our backing and it now provides loans to business owners in the area, secured on their commercial property, together with loans to professional landlords, secured on their residential or commercial investment properties.

Omega is now home to 7,000 new jobs and we have secured government investment to help us to improve the infrastructure around Omega and also in the east of Warrington. In the West of Warrington work is well under way on the new Warrington West station.
As we work on the budget for the next financial year it’s important that people understand that the money spent on these schemes, developments and investments is not from the council tax revenue. There are two streams of funding for a council:
Revenue funding - is money that we can only use for day-to-day spending like running services, staff costs and paying bills. The money is from council tax, business rates, fees we charge for services and money we make from our assets.  It is revenue funding which is affected by government cuts.  We aren't allowed to borrow money to fund day-to-day services.
Capital funding – is money that we can only use to invest in long term projects or to buy assets which will generate income in the future (which we can then use as 'revenue' to deliver services to you). This capital money comes from specific grants and low interest loans.
So, the council does not spend money on buildings and investments instead of services - they are two different funds. The money we make from our capital investments will be used to help run your public services in the future. 
As we move into a new year one thing is certain – that we will continue to find innovative ways to save and raise money as we face up to huge government cuts.