Councillors agree six per cent Council Tax rise in Calderdale

Councillor Tim Swift
Councillor Tim Swift

Calderdale residents face a Council Tax hike of six per cent for 2018-19 and could end up paying more for Council services after budget plans were approved.

The approved budget proposals include a three per cent rise in Council Tax rates in 2018-19, and a further three per cent in 2019-20, reducing to two per cent in 2020-21.

Counclliors also agreed t use the Social Care Precept to raise Council Tax bills by a further three per cent in 2018-19.

The Labour-led council said a £10 million investment fund will be created for regeneration schemes in the borough’s smaller towns and local communities after setting the Council’s budget for the next three financial years.

Leader of the Council, Coun Tim Swift said the budget will also support a significant increase in investment in social care, to help meet rising demand, provide the right support for looked after children and ensure that care workers are paid the National Living Wage.

“Through this budget we have sought a balance between protecting essential frontline services and investing so that our towns and villages will continue to grow and thrive," said Coun Swift.

“We must acknowledge that the amount of funding that Calderdale receives from central government continues to reduce, which means that even after taking account of the increase in Council Tax, we have less to spend on all services other than adult social care. So we continue to have to make some very difficult choices.

“However, I believe that this budget will allow us to continue to support those universal Council services which are so important to local people. It will allow us to support those who need our help most and to stimulate the growth which will build a prosperous future for everyone.”

The Social Care Precept was introduced by the Government to help local authorities fund the continuing growth in demand for adult social care services.

The budget includes additional investment for some Council services which require extra support.

A funding boost of £150,000 in 2018/19 was agreed for the Safer, Cleaner, Greener service which manages and maintains Calderdale’s many parks, open spaces, children’s play areas, woodlands and nature reserves.

The service is also responsible for sweeping roads and footpaths, emptying litter bins and removing graffiti and fly-tipping from Council land.

The Youth Offending Team and Young People’s Services will receive an extra £50,000 each year to help tackle youth offending and support victims of crime.

The budget also identified:

· additional funding for winter maintenance and gritting;

· targeted funding to help tackle poverty and homelessness;

· continued funding for the emergency living scheme to support those affected most by the changes to benefit schemes and

· an additional fire safety building control officer which was a recommendation within the fire safety review following the tragedy at Grenfell Tower.

To save money there will be some changes to Council, which include:

· reducing the number of managers and other staff by merging teams and moving more services on-line;

· working more effectively with our partners in the health sector to maximise the resources we use jointly;

· funding different priorities from the public health budget;

· increasing the charges from some services that the Council provides, such as bereavement services;

· reducing some of the money paid to West Yorkshire Combined Authority and

· spending on IT, staff training and other internal support services.