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Schools, streets and city centre benefit from £123m of council spending

Credit: Swansea Council

Schools, streets the city centre and community facilities across the city saw investment of more than £123m last year, according to a report due to be seen by Swansea Council’s Cabinet next week.

Spending on projects ranged from the rollout of free school meals for children in city primary schools to street-lighting upgrades and extra money for roads resurfacing.

Rob Stewart, Leader of the Council, said the council’s Capital Budget programme is making a difference to families, communities and businesses right across the city during the cost of living crisis.

He said: “Investment of £1.3m in the free school meals initiative means more children are getting cooked meals for free every school day in Swansea.

“The extra money we spent on roads totalling £4.2m is helping prevent roads deteriorating and keeps motorists on the move.

“And our decision to invest in the Debenhams building purchase, upgrade the Kingsway and turn the derelict Palace Theatre into a thriving business community demonstrates our continuing commitment to city centre regeneration.

“All this spending on major projects is in addition to the hundreds of millions of pounds we spend every year keeping day-to-day services running like schools social care which touch the lives of almost everyone in our communities.

“The council’s capital budget is targeted at projects that make a real difference in people’s lives, responding to the priorities of local families, investing in the future of our children and supporting business.”

Funding for the capital budget was secured from capital grants from Welsh Government alongside the council’s own funds, including set-aside reserves and very low-cost borrowing obtained prior to the Bank of England putting up interest rates.

The report to Cabinet says that almost £160m was allocated to the capital budget for last year, of which £123.6m was spent. Unspent money, mainly due to delay in the delivery of complex projects, is anticipated to be carried over to this financial year.

Almost £12m was spent on schools including more than £6.2m on schools maintenance and major upgrades at YG Gwyr and Bishopston Comprehensive and new-builds at YGG Tan-y-Lan and YGG Tirdeunaw.

More than £6.2m of Welsh Government grant was given to continuing the expansion of Swansea’s 120km network of pedestrian and cycling routes under the Active Travel programme.

Just over £10m was allocated to the ongoing construction of 71/72 Kingsway which will attract hundreds of jobs to the city centre when complete as well as £2.6m on the purchase of the former Debenhams store in the Quadrant Centre.

The council’s LED street lighting upgrade programme that aims to reduce the council’s energy costs and make a contribution to its carbon net zero ambitions saw investment of £885,000.