Councillors approve budget plans including two per cent hike in council tax

Halifax Town Hall
Halifax Town Hall
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Councillors gave the green light to budget proposals which include £21 million worth of cuts to key services across Calderdale at a meeting on Monday evening.

Conservative members hit out at the plan by the Labour-Liberal coalition cabinet to increase council tax.

Tory group leader Stephen Baines (Northowram) said: “We do feel there have been missed opportunities in this budget and one of the major ones is the council tax increase.

“We should have been the 220th council to declare we would not be increasing council tax.”

However, in a surprise move, the Conservative shadow cabinet decided not to bring an alternative budget to the meeting saying that it would have been defeated anyway.

This was met with derision by Labour members with cabinet member for economy and environment Barry Collins speaking out at the meeting.

The Illingworth and Mixenden councillor said: “I can’t believe in the situation we are in a party has come without a budget; not even proposing any amendments - just a bag of silly proposals. It’s not reasonable to the people of your ward that you represent.”

In addition to the council tax rise, which will see an average Band D property paying £1,444.33 a year - an increase of around £25 per year, there were a series of cuts to many council services.

Adult health and social care will see a reduction of £850,000; children and young people’s services £925,000; communities £200,000 and the chief executive’s office will see reductions of £400,000 for 2013/2014.

The total council budget is £183,861,500 and the council aims to reduce total spending by £73 million compared to the levels in 2010.

One of the major investments from the council was a commitment to a ‘living wage’ for all council employees.

The proposals were passed with a large majority and will come into effect in the new financial year.

A full breakdown of the figures including council tax prices for all property bands will be available in Friday’s Courier.