PLANS to invest £2.5 million into schools, libraries, museums and parks in Newport, as well as services for the disabled, the city's indoor market and combatting anti-social behaviour have been signed off.
Newport City Council's Labour-run cabinet approved the plans, which include £400,000 for library and museum services, £300,000 into roads, street cleaning and maintenance and £100,000 for play facilities, as well as a previously-approved £1.1 million for school renovations over the next two years, yesterday, Monday.
The investments also include £70,000 to support the indoor market, £30,000 to fight anti-social behaviour, £133,000 into grants for disabled people and £300,000 for a three-year skills project.
Speaking at yesterday's meeting council leader Cllr Debbie Wilcox said authority's financial department had determined some of the money the organisation has kept in reserves will not be needed, and therefore could be used for projects.
"The money isn't magic, it's the result of sound financial management," she said.
Cabinet member for finance and resources Cllr Mark Whitcutt said a significant amount of planning had gone into
"Newport has serious social problems as the result of being an old city, but also suffering from austerity," he said.
But he added: "This money has been carefully planned, we are not just throwing money at things for the sake of a quick headline."
Cllr Whitcutt also rejected calls for the cash to be re-invested in the Invest to Save fund, which pays for future projects, saying: "In my view that would be extremely irresponsible and unnecessary when these funds can be put to good use at times of hardship."
He was also critical of the UK Government's austerity agenda, saying: "You cannot cut yourself out of a recession.
"That is what is being imposed on local government at the moment."
Deputy leader Cllr Ray Truman also slammed the UK Government, saying the current political situation was "chaos".
"Austerity, we are told, will continue for many years," he said.
"Brexit, no one one seems to know what's happening.
"It's chaos, the political situation we have at the moment and we have had to deal with that as best as we can."
But he added: "If we hadn't had to save what we have had to save we could do a lot more.
"People like local services and they like local services to be delivered against all odds."
Cllr Debbie Harvey, who has responsibility for culture, leisure and sport, said: "This is the first time I have ever had to spend something, which is amazing considering I have been here five years."
To view the full report presented to cabinet members visit newport.gov.uk.