Protecting communities and supporting businesses through the pandemic, building a strong recovery, and ensuring the Council maintains financial stability are the priorities for the Cabinet’s budget proposals for the next financial year.
The budget proposals were presented by the Leader of the Council at a Cabinet meeting on Monday 17 January 2022, marking the start of a 28-day public consultation.
Additional funding for local government which was announced by the Chancellor for 2022/23 has been welcomed by the Council but will not fill the growing gap between the available funding and pressures from inflation and rising demand, particularly around caring for vulnerable children and adults.
The additional funding does not replace the savings the Council has made since 2010 when austerity started for local government.
The proposed budget includes a Council Tax increase of 1.99% with an additional 1% Social Care Precept to help fund and protect social care services to vulnerable adults and children.
The Council is experiencing inflationary pressures from rising costs and this is required to protect and maintain the essential services to vulnerable people, and other residents.
The Council has already delivered savings of £120m since austerity started for local government in 2010.
Cllr Tim Swift, Calderdale Council’s Leader said:
“For nearly two years now our overriding purpose has been to do all we can to keep our community safe in the face of a global pandemic and to support our local economy as we recover from its impact. We will continue to prioritise public health for as long as there is a risk to our communities from the virus.
“With this in mind we are now publishing the Cabinet’s budget proposals for the next financial year. We have been given no guarantees about future government funding for local authorities beyond 2022/23 and it is critical that we continue to manage the budget responsibly.
“These proposals will provide a robust and balanced budget so that the Council will remain on a sound financial footing despite this uncertainty.
“Within these limitations however, we have demonstrated within these proposals our continuing commitment to reducing inequalities, building stronger and sustainable towns and responding to the climate emergency.”
The most important responsibility placed on the Council is to provide care, support and community services to the most vulnerable children and adults to enable them to live a larger life.
The pandemic has demonstrated the importance of the often low-paid carers who provide this essential support. The budget proposals include funding to increase the wages of social care staff with our providers in line with the increase in the national Living Wage.
When combined with funding through the Integrated Care System and the government grant this will allow the Council to introduce the increase from 1 April 2022 and to implement bonus payments to help recruit and retain these essential workers, in recognition of their vital role throughout the pandemic. This will also help protect the vulnerable social care market.
Sadly, the pandemic has seen a dramatic increase in the number of families who need extra help. This remains a priority for the Cabinet, which will continue to support the ‘Never Hungry Again’ campaign which mobilises the community to tackle holiday hunger and will maintain the Council Tax Relief Scheme at its existing level.
Building stronger towns
The Cabinet’s budget proposals provide the initial funding for a small team to help develop and identify ways of sourcing investment in North Halifax where the greatest inequalities exist across the borough.
A number of major improvement schemes are already underway or planned for the area, with significant investment in projects including improvements at Beechwood Road Library, and major new schemes to improve walking and cycling.
These schemes will be brought together as one coherent programme of work, forming a Strategic Plan for North Halifax. This will be led by local communities and shaped by existing feedback from local people about their priorities for recovery.
Tackling climate change
The £1 million Climate Emergency Fund, administered jointly with the Community Foundation for Calderdale (CFFC) will continue to invest in measures to tackle climate change and further schemes will be brought forward during the course of the next financial year, bringing further energy efficiency improvements. Calderdale aims to be carbon neutral by 2038, with significant progress by 2030.
The Cabinet’s budget proposals also include additional investment into the waste collection service, the new leisure centre in Halifax and into the planning service. The investment in waste collection will create a more competitive offer for drivers so that the Council can improve the reliability of the waste and recycling service.
The Cabinet budget proposals are available to view at https://www.calderdale.gov.uk/v2/council/budgets-and-spending/budget-2022
People can have their say by completing the feedback form
Alternatively, for those unable to access the web form, feedback can also be returned using the form available at:
https://www.calderdale.gov.uk/v2/sites/default/files/Cabinet_Budget_Proposals_2022-23_to_2024-25_for_Consultation.pdf This can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or returned by post
to BUDGET CONSULTATION, TOWN HALL, HALIFAX, HX1 1UJ by Wednesday 9
The proposals will be finalised by the Cabinet on Monday 14 February 2022 and the budget will be agreed at the Annual Budget Council meeting on Monday 28 February 2022.