Letter: Time for council to adopt a ‘No cuts budget’

Halifax Town Hall
Halifax Town Hall

It’s not on that Calderdale Council’s budget 2017-19 proposes to cut services for disabled children, young people and their families.

These are valuable services that disabled children and their families can’t do without.

On Monday, February 27, 5-6pm, there is a lobby of Calderdale Council to drop these cuts, outside Halifax Town Hall. All are welcome.

DCATCH provides additional funds to nurseries or school nurseries that take a child who has learning difficulties and disabilities.

Cutting it means that children won’t get the support they need to help them access mainstream education.

Without this help, won’t children’s problems build up and so require costlier solutions?

The SENDIASS team also faces cuts. They work in many valuable ways with parents and families of all children with learning difficulties and additional needs, including help with the difficult process of obtaining an education, health and care plan.

Calderdale Council - and local authorities across the country - have been cutting public services since the coalition government started slashing local authority grants in 2010.

We are the sixth richest country in the world. We can afford properly funded public services - but the government chooses to squander our public wealth on socialism for the rich: huge subsidies to fossil fuel companies that are destroying the environment and worsening climate change, quantitative easing for bankers who caused the financial collapse in 2008; and a blind eye to corporate tax dodging on a colossal scale.

We need Calderdale Council to act on the Unite resolution calling on Labour councils to implement “No Cuts Budgets”, by pooling and using the combined reserves of their councils. In 2016, these amounted to £5.86 billion.

Councils can also use their significant borrowing powers. These include “Prudential” borrowing alongside capital borrowing.

When the Labour Party was in opposition in Calderdale Council, they called on the Tory Council leader to use prudential borrowing.

Under the Localism Act, local authorities have a “power of competence” to do “anything apart from that which is prohibited”.

So Calderdale Council could and should support Unite’s call for a national campaign to unite service users, communities and trade unions in a fight to protect local government and end the Tories’ austerity programme.

Jenny Shepherd,By email