Disposing of The Shay, cuts to youth services and possible job losses proposed by Calderdale Council as it seeks to make savings

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Proposed cost savings by Calderdale Council include disposing of The Shay stadium, cuts to youth services and possible job losses after a warning that it will look into reducing services.

The budget proposals were presented by the leader of the Council at a cabinet meeting yesterday (Monday), marking the start of a period of public consultation.

The Council is legally required to set a balanced budget each year. Based on the Council’s current financial forecasts, the local authority is now facing budget deficits of £7.5 million in 2024/5, £6.2 million in 2025/6 and £4.8 million in 2026/27.

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This has been estimated based on the likely impacts of the economic situation on the Council, including higher contract costs as contract prices are linked to national inflation rates, ongoing impacts on levels of income through fees and charges affected by the cost-of-living crisis, providing adequately for pay inflation, and energy costs still being affected by higher rates.

The ShayThe Shay
The Shay

Additional investment is also needed in children’s and adults’ social care in response to rising costs and demand.

Coun Jane Scullion, Leader of Calderdale Council said: “These are extremely challenging times and unfortunately, we are now faced with some very difficult choices. Calderdale has a proud record of robust financial management, and we will not put that reputation at risk.

“Our priority is to set a sustainable budget, for this and subsequent years. We must be able to continue to balance the books.

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“Over recent years we have tried to do ‘more with less’ but this is not sustainable and inevitably we must now look at reducing services which we are not legally required to provide.

“Like all councils Calderdale must by law provide certain services such as social care and refuse collections, whereas many other services whilst important, are optional. To protect our most critical services we have no choice but to make some tough decisions.”

The budget proposals outline a number of services where the Council will seek to find potential savings in future years.

To protect and maintain vital public services the proposals include an increase in council tax of 4.99 per cent. This includes a council tax increase of 2.99 per cent in line with the limit set by Government and an additional two per cent social care precept to help fund and protect social care services to vulnerable adults and children.

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These increases are expected of the Council by the Government when it is calculating how much funding the local authority will receive within the financial settlement.

The Cabinet’s proposed budgets savings include savings from festive lighting, charging for care services within Heatherstones, which provides temporary residential care to help people adjust after being in hospital (after an initial free six week period), a reduction in youth services across the borough, a reduction in the level of preventative work of the Youth Justice service, a reduction in spend on contracts with external suppliers, the introduction of a permit scheme to use household waste centres and the closure of Elland household waste recycling centre.

The Courier also understands that disposing of The Shay stadium is among the savings being proposed to balance the books over the next three years.

The Cabinet’s budget proposals may affect up to 44 full time equivalent (FTE) jobs across the Council over the next three years.

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The proposals will now go out to consultation, with the council setting its budget in late February.

Calderdale Council, FC Halifax Town and Halifax Panthers have been contacted by the Courier for comment.