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Europe to the rescue with pounds 1m.

A FUNDING shortfall for this year's Capital of Culture celebrations has been cutwith pounds 1m of European funds.

This will help plug the pounds 1.6m deficit in the cost of paying for Liverpool's 2008 programme.

The news came as the council said it was confident of improving on the embarrassing one-star Audit Commission rating in February, which branded it the UK's worst for handling taxpayers' money.

Resources chief Cllr Phil Halsall told the council's executive board that the pounds 1.6m hole in the culture budget had been cut to pounds 600,000.

It followed a successful European Regional Development Fund grant bid via The Government Office North West.

The remaining debt will be met from an pounds 800,000 saving the council made from re-negotiating insurance deals. The pounds 1.6m shortfall came on top of the well-documented missing pounds 20m to pay for Capital of Culture.

Earlier this year the council said it was plugging the pounds 20mhole from a mixture of sources, which would avoid any increase in council tax or cuts in services.

This included juggling money with Liverpool Direct Ltd, the organisation set up with BT in 2001 and raiding reserves.

The council's overall financial position appears to be improving with balances expected to be pounds 18m in the black by the year's close.
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Aug 30, 2008
Words:220
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