Merry Christmas, but perhaps it’s the last?

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SIX villages which last year received a £1,000 Christmas bonus from the council have been told they won’t be getting any cash this year.

And there could be worse to come.

It has emerged that unless councillors can find some more cash, there might not be any illuminated Christmas trees in Calderdale towns and villages in 2012.

Conservative group leader Stephen Baines told Calderdale Council Cabinet that the money to pay for trees and decorations had been cut from the basic highways budget.

As a result, they now rely on money from the council’s economic fighting fund, which is fast running out.

This year the fund will provide £15,000 for festive trees and decorations, and £2,500 to promote Christmas trading in Halifax, Brighouse, Hebden Bridge, Sowerby Bridge, Todmorden and Elland.

Last year, the each town received £5,000 and villages such as Ripponden, King Cross, Mytholmroyd, West Vale, Hipperholme and Northowram/Shelf received £1,000.

Although the villages will have lights and a tree this year, they will not be getting any cash and Coun Baines (Con, Northowram and Shelf) questioned whether there would be any Christmas trees in 2012.

Council leader Janet Battye (Lib-Dem, Calder) said every council department had been affected by the need to reduce spending.

“I don’t know what the future budget allocation will be but at the moment we have got what we have got,” she said.

Councillor Geraldine Carter (Con, Ryburn) said the money given to villages like Ripponden had been spent to good effect last year and she was hugely disappointed that they would not be getting anything this Christmas.

Fortunately, Ripponden has a parish council which would be doing its bit as usual to spread some Christmas cheer.

l Should Calderdale Council cough up for Christmas? Email Yoursay@halifaxcourier.co.uk