NEW recommendations over the future of road safety work in Bradford have been put on hold until councillors and local authority officers have worked to clarify future funding.

Bradford Council's Environment and Waste Management Scrutiny Committee was originally asked to examine the issue because of apparent 'spikes' in casualty numbers in the city.

That proved to be a consequence of the way figures were recorded and it emerged that the city's record on casualty reduction puts it the position as a national leader.

But the examination of the service also led to a recommendation that the council's ruling Executive should fund the department's work from its 'base' budget, instead of using public health cash as it does this year.

Shortly before the committee met, however, fresh information emerged to suggest the public health funding could make road safety less vulnerable to potential cuts.

As a result, no recommendations will be made on the future of the council's work on road safety until September, after councillors and officials have had the time to meet again.

Funding the work, which costs £257,000 a year at present, through the public health budget could provide protection from cuts in future, because public health budgets have been ring-fenced while the cash available for other services has been reduced through Government cuts.

But Cllr Alun Griffiths (Idle and Thackley) questioned whether it was appropriate for road safety work to be funded from the public health budget and said: "What is is being lost because the money is being spent here?"

However, principal highways engineer Simon D'Vali said that funding road safety work brought advantages in public health terms, because supporting "front end" work with road accident prevention meant there were savings at the "back end" such as demand on accident and emergency services.

Public health functions have just been brought under the control of local authorities nationally and the issue had been discussed when the issue of financing road safety through that channel had emerged in Bradford.

A further issue examined by councillors was the way money for road safety work is allocated across the city, with the current arrangements being that area councils each receive a proportion of the budget to spend in their area.

Councillors will have to decide in September whether to approve a recommendation that a new arrangement, where funding goes directly to the areas of highest need, is put forwards.

Mr D'Vali said the current arrangements involved the work being carried out in each area being monitored.

Cllr Ruth Billheimer (Eccleshill) said she hoped the recommendation of need-first would stay when decisions were made in September

But Cllr David Robinson (Wyke) said: "If you don't have funding, that leads to need. We all want devolved budgets."