Councillors pass draft budget proposals

Halifax Town Hall
Halifax Town Hall

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet has approved budget proposals for the next three years - but now is your chance to have a say.

They will see a two per cent rise in council tax and cuts to services as the council seeks to reduce it’s spending by £21.6 million by 2016.

Spending on adults, health and social care services will be cut by £850,000 in 2013/2014 rising to £2 million in 2014/2015 and £4.5 million in 2015/2016.

Children and young people services will see cuts of £975,000 in the next financial year rising to £1.68 million in 2014/2015 and £2.71 million in 2015/2016.

Council leader Tim Swift, chairing the Cabinet meeting, also announced plans to implement a living wage - above the minimum wage - for all council employees but couldn’t rule out future job cuts.

He said that while the cuts were deep he was confident the council could continue to offer a high level of service to the whole community.

“We do our very best to provide good services for local people within the budget we have and this is becoming more and more difficult. Despite the reduction in our funding we are proposing £2m to support the increasing number of children needing social care as well as investing in early intervention work to avoid further costs in the future,” said Coun Swift (Lab, Town)

“It is also very important that we build a stronger local economy to provide a future for our young people. To support this we are proposing a £2.5million fund to stimulate local economic regeneration and employment opportunities. We are also proposing to promote the Living Wage for low-paid workers, starting with our own staff.”

Calderdale Council’s Deputy Leader, Coun Janet Battye (Lib Dem, Calder) said: “We are building on the priorities local people gave us in our consultations over the last two years, these are to: improve services for vulnerable people, review charges, focus on early intervention, support those who need it most, reduce costs and become more efficient.

“It is likely that we will need to continue changing the way we work to make a difference and achieve savings and the Council continues to make best use of available resources, working closely with other public services, especially Health and Police, and local communities. We are especially keen to focus our support where it’s needed most, working with our partners, we have made great progress in looking after vulnerable children and adults and we want this to continue.”

The draft budget proposals will now go out to public consultation with public meetings starting on Tuesday 15 January 2013 at The Waterfront Hall, Hebden Bridge, Town Hall, St George’s Street, Hebden Bridge, HX7 7BY, 6.30pm – 8.30pm (doors open at 6.00pm), Wednesday 16 January 2013 in the Green Room, Victoria Theatre, Fountain Street, Halifax, HX1 1BP, 6.30pm – 8.30pm (doors open at 6.00pm), Tuesday 22 January 2013 at Brighouse Civic Hall, Brighouse, HD6 1RS, 6.30pm – 8.30pm (doors open at 6.00pm), Thursday 24 January 2013 at Edward Hall, Forest Cottage Community Centre, Cousin Lane, Ovenden, HX2 8AD, 6.30pm – 8.30pm (doors open at 6.00pm).

Consultation ends on Monday, February 11.

Final decisions will be taken at the Annual Budget Council meeting on Monday February 25.