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Millions of pounds earmarked for schools, housing and roads in council's Capital budget

THOUSANDS of pupils from communities across Swansea could benefit from one of the biggest-ever investments in new schools and upgrades in the coming years.


Around £150m in capital funding has been earmarked for upgrading schools as part of the Budget being considered by Swansea Council's Cabinet next week.

On top of that a pot of more than £57m has been earmarked for upgrading hundreds of council homes which includes cash for new-build council houses.

The council houses upgrade for kitchens and bathrooms is part of a continuing £220m improvement programme designed to meet the Wales Quality Housing Standard that's also helping create and protect hundreds of jobs.

And more money has also been earmarked for highways improvements, including an extra £1.4m being spent on road maintenance and improving traffic management.

The proposals are all part of the council's Capital Budget plans which will go to Full Council on March 1 for a final decision.

There's also future investment planned for the council's share of the £1.3bn City Deal which will transform the whole of south-west Wales in the years ahead. The capital programme will increase further as the City Deal comes fully on stream.

While Councils are allowed to allocate funding for roads and building investment from a number of sources, including borrowing, capital budgets cannot be used to run day-to-day council services, budgets for which have seen significant reductions over recent years.

Rob Stewart, Leader of Swansea Council, said: "The Capital Budget programme represents a significant investment in the long-term wellbeing of our city, our communities and their priorities.

"Better schools and better council homes are an investment in our children, their families and their futures. They help tackle poverty, support improved educational attainment and pave the way for families to make the most of their talents and opportunities in the years ahead."

Jennifer Raynor, Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Lifelong Learning said Swansea Council, supported by the Welsh Government, is playing its part by providing teachers with improved classrooms and facilities.

She said: "Since 2012 there's been an investment of £70m in new schools at Gowerton, Burlais and Lon Las and upgrades for others like Morriston, Pentrehafod and YGG Gwyr.

"Now we're looking at a new round of schools upgrades which will be jointly-funded with the Welsh Government and will benefit future generations of pupils and their families."

The council's ambitious council house improvement programme aims to have spent more than £220m by 2021 to bring properties up to the Wales Housing Quality Standard. It's all being paid for from rents and not from regular council budgets.

Andrea Lewis, Cabinet Member for Housing, Energy and Building Services, said: "Hundreds of council houses in Swansea have already benefited from kitchen and bathroom improvements over the last 12 months. By the end of 2018/19 the council will have spent more than £110m on the project with a similar amount spent by the end of 2020/21.

"Alongside the new council homes built on Colliers Way and those planned for Parc y Helig, this investment will have been the largest investment in council housing in Swansea for a generation, making a huge difference for many thousands of people for years to come."

Mark Thomas, Cabinet Member for Environment, said the extra £1.4m for roads was in recognition of the importance of keeping traffic in Swansea on the move.

He said: "It'll mean we'll be spending £4.3m next year from the Capital budget alone on doing the right thing for businesses and drivers. Our roads are among the busiest in Wales and, according to the Welsh Government, among the best-maintained as well.

"By investing more in road maintenance and on traffic management projects it'll help improve access and support the economic wellbeing of our city."

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