How does council save £55 million?

Coun Janet Battye
Coun Janet Battye

THE council wants to know where you think the axe should fall on spending next year.

More than 3,000 people responded to a questionnaire earlier this year, which led to increased charges for parking, sport and leisure, cuts to senior management and protection for front line services.

With Calderdale council having to reduce its expenditure by £55 million over the next three years, more savings are needed.

“It is clear that in the medium-term we are going to face more potential challenges and therefore we need to plan ahead and want to know what people think now,” said Calderdale Council’s Liberal Democrat leader Janet Battye.

“We face difficult spending decisions for the next three years.”

Simple questionnaires are being made available on the council’s website, at libraries and council offices and will be sent to interested groups and organisations.

Among the things the council wants to know is whether it should stop providing some services and whether the role of community groups and volunteers in helping to run services should be expanded.

The issues will also be discussed at ward forums and with other special interest groups over the next few weeks.

Pressure is piling up on the council due to changes in Government funding and growing demands from the increasing number of older and disabled people and vulnerable children.

The Liberal Democrat-Labour coalition which controls the council wants to know whether people feel it has got its priorities right. Answers to the questionnaires will help councillors set their budget for 2012/15, when they meet in February.

“It is really important that people let us know whether the approach we have been taking is the right one,” said Coun Battye (Lib-Dem, Calder).

l The Government’s promise to freeze council tax bills next year should save Calderdale’s 90,000 householders about £25 each.

But it could prompt a more hefty hike in 2013.

Councillors managed to avoid any rise this year – leaving Band C property owners paying £1,090 for council services and another £162 for police and fire.