Green Business Network at risk

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CALDERDALE risks losing vital environmental support for its businesses due to spending cuts in Kirklees.

The Sowerby Bridge-based Green Business Network is funded by both councils, but Kirklees plans to pull the plug on its £100,000-a-year contribution - over ten times the amount Calderdale pays.

A report to Calderdale Council Cabinet is calling for urgent action to keep the resource at its Town Hall Street headquarters and prevent its staff being absorbed into Kirklees Council.

“If Green Business Network were to leave the borough, its innovative social enterprise projects would be delivered in the future with no connection to the area or funding being diverted into Calderdale,” it says.

The resource has attracted millions of pounds worth of funding into the area since it set up shop here in 1995.

It has benefited over 185 local community projects such as Ravenscliffe High School’s sensory garden and Incredible Edible Todmorden - yet Calderdale has paid an annual average of just £9,500 to the resource.

Barry Collins, Cabinet member for economy and environment, said the comparitive lack of funding from Calderdale had been a mistake.

The council has upped its contributions since 2008 and has now stepped in with £5,000 interim funding to keep the resource going until September.

Councillors will consider a long-term solution at a Cabinet meeting tonight, but it could prove tricky due to spending cuts.

“We need to ensure that it doesn’t just survive in our two areas, but actually prospers,” said Coun Collins.

“We’re going to have to look at the situation in light of our own budget problems and find a way forward, working with Kirklees and possibly seeking other sources of funding. The last thing we want to do is lose it.”