Having your say on council budget cuts

PEOPLE will get a chance to comment on plans to reduce council spending by £55 million over three years at special meetings arranged for later this month.

Calderdale Council leaders will publish their proposals for slashing budgets on Monday, January 16.

Public meetings will be held at North Bridge Leisure Centre, Halifax, on January 17 from 6pm-8pm, at Todmorden Town Hall on January 19, 6.30pm to 9pm and at Brighouse High School on January 23 from 6.30pm to 9.30pm.

The council’s Liberal Democrat leader, Janet Battye, will attend each meeting.

“Rising costs and changes in the way councils are funded means difficult spending decisions need to be made,” she said.

“Last year’s consultation set us up well for the coming year but we need to know whether people think we are getting our spending priorities right during these difficult economic times.”

A year ago, the council undertook a huge consultation exercise so that people could say what they regarded as the top 50 council services.

This time around, it wants to know whether the council was right to make services for the most vulnerable its top priority, whether charges for some services should be increased, whether greater use should be made of volunteers and whether some services should be scrapped. In 20010/11 people said they wanted the council to become more efficient, to cut waste and secure better value for money.

As a result, councillors voted to maintain services for older and disabled people and do more for the most vulnerable children and young people.

Charges for parking and leisure services went up, the number of council managers is being cut and far less spent on printing and publicity.

Over the next three years, it needs to change the way it provides some services, respond to the growing number of elderly people and youngsters needing support and to stop doing some things, according to the medium-term financial strategy.