Council tax decision time

SOME of the service cuts which councillors are planning would not be necessary if the Government made up its mind on whether to continue providing a grant towards the cost of freezing council tax bills.

The grant is available this year and should help Calderdale Council to avoid any council tax rise in April.

“But Government Ministers are making it up as they go along and the uncertainty is putting local services under greater threat,” said Labour group leader Coun Tim Swift.

“Local Government minister Eric Pickles has hinted that the grant might be available for a further two years, which will reduce the savings we have to find in the future and means some of the cuts they are forcing us to look at right now won’t be necessary,” he said.

The comments by the deputy leader of the council come as the cabinet prepares to finalise its 2012/13 spending plan which it will put to the budget council meeting on February 27.

“We are running Calderdale in a prudent way with three year budgets and we need clear information from the Government.

“Uncertainty over the grant to freeze council tax is no way to help the council make good financial decisions,” said Coun Swift (Town).

“For the sake of council tax payers, and for the sake of the people who use our services, we need Eric Pickles and George Osborne to stop making it up as they go along, and come clean with the people of Calderdale”.