IN January Oxfordshire benefited from a multi-million-pound boost as part of the City Deal.

Now six months on, the county is a winner again as more than £100m is invested in improvement schemes.

For a long time the message from the Government has been that local authorities must tighten their belts because of the economic downturn, but after these two major funding packages it seems the tide could finally be turning.

Many areas across the county will benefit from this latest investment, but perhaps the most important part of the package is the £26m that will go towards ensuring the Western Conveyance flood channel is actually built in Oxford.

With more than £75m now set aside, there can be no turning back from this crucial scheme, which should guarantee that the city is not brought to a standstill every time there is serious flooding.

Oxford was in a sorry state at the start of the year when the Botley and Abingdon roads had to be shut, with the only consolation being the dogged determination of most people to get to work, despite the obstacles.

The total cost of lost trade is still being calculated, but it must run to millions of pounds, which is why the latest investment in the flood channel is so important.

Work can now get under way, but the Government’s generosity places the onus on local authorities and other bodies to come up with the rest of the cash.

Investment on this scale from Central Government does not happen automatically and council leaders and the Local Enterprise Partnership deserve praise for lobbying hard on behalf of residents.

The money will not come all at once, but it should create a stronger economy in the county by creating jobs, providing better transport links and allowing for desperately needed new homes to be built.

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