Schools, shelter and smack: New city budget has something for everybody

New Copenhagen budget sets aside funds for school improvements, low-cost housing and a new injection room, among other things

The focus is on schools in the 2014 budget for the City of Copenhagen agreed upon last night at City Hall. A longer school day, more physical activity, more meal options, more teacher training and better facilities for teachers and students are all included in the new spending plan the city has dubbed ‘Strong City – Strong Schools’.

A broad majority consisting of Socialdemokraterne (S), Socialistisk Folkeparti, Radikale (R), Enhedslisten and Dansk Folkeparti agreed on the plan. Representatives from Venstre and Konservative walked out of the budget negotiations on Wednesday, a move that Anna Mee Allerslev (R), the city’s deputy mayor for employment and integration, called “irresponsible".

Copenhagen's mayor, Frank Jensen (S), said that better schools are the building blocks of the city as a whole.

“School reform starts on day one,” said Jensen.”We need a longer school day, more physical activity and more in-depth courses of study.”

A bump for business
Allerslev said that she was glad that the budget also includes initiatives to attract new businesses to Copenhagen, saying in a statement that the city still had “a way to go” to catch up with places like Stockholm and Hamburg.

'This is a broad agreement that improves the business environment, creates more jobs and points us toward a greener and more vibrant metropolis,” said Allerslev.

The budget also includes funds for the construction of 1,200 new low-cost residences for families and students and leaves retirees and disabled pensioners with more disposable income.

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Help for addicts
The budget also includes funding for improvements for cycling improvements, a new Metro line to Sydhavn, more and better sports facilities, better security and myriad social programmes.

One social effort sure to raise a few eyebrows is the 82 million kroner being set aside over four years to – in the words of the budget – “improve the health situation of drug users and prevent deaths from overdoses". The city wants to establish a new temporary injection room for addicts while the permanent one on Halmtorvet in Vesterbro is being built. The city will also invest in a new mobile injection room to assist the city’s drug addicts.

READ MORE: Injection room saves 30 lives