Calderdale Council has set a budget for the next three financial years which will continue to support the most vulnerable adults and children in the borough.
The Council will spend nearly two thirds of its total budget on Adults and Children’s Services next year to make sure support is given to those who need it most.
The Council will raise additional money, so it can continue to fund high quality care for older residents, by raising Council Tax bills by 3% through the Social Care Precept in both 2017/18 and 2018/19.
The Social Care Precept was introduced by the Government to help local authorities fund the continuing growth in demand for adult social care services as the population ages.
A general Council Tax rise of 1.9% next year was also agreed. Similar increases in 2018/19 and 2019/20 are being recommended but these will only finally be decided upon at future Budget Council meetings.
Leader of Calderdale Council, Cllr Tim Swift said:
“We are facing unprecedented challenges to our budget over the next three years and we have had to take some tough decisions. Our priority is to protect those services which support our most vulnerable adults and children, but it is also vital that we manage the budget well and balance the books.
“We know that demand for our services will continue to grow, so it is essential that we plan for the longer term. Our focus must be on early intervention, prevention and, where we can, by doing things differently, so that we can manage and reduce demand for our services in the years ahead.”
The Council will continue to invest in three priority areas: growing the economy; reducing inequalities and creating a sustainable future, to achieve its ambition to become the best borough in the North.
Flood maintenance and planning will receive additional funding as the Calder Valley continues to recover following the Boxing Day flooding in 2015. Drainage will be improved across the road network with an investment of £600k into the Highways service.
To make sure that the towns and villages across Calderdale are as safe, clean and green as possible, the Council will create a new Environmental Crime Taskforce to tackle problems like litter, graffiti, ASB, dog fouling and fly tipping.
The Staying Well programme, which helps tackle loneliness and encourages people to stay active and independent, will also receive continued funding. People suffering from loneliness are more prone to experience depression and have an increased chance of developing other medical conditions. - By intervening early the programme can help people to feel better and reduce demand on health and care services.
Changes will be made to some Council services to bring savings:
- reducing the number of managers and other staff by merging teams and moving more services on-line
- reviewing the way we deliver some services including museums, libraries and waste centres
- reducing some programmes from public health
- changing the timing of some services – for example, the grass may be cut less frequently in some parks
- reducing some of the money the Council pays to Metro for bus and transport services
- address sickness absence by targeting key areas through use of an external service
- reducing spending on IT, staff training and other internal services, although we will keep using new technology to improve services, for example, helping to look after older people at home.
The budget, which covers the years 2017/18 to 2019/20, was agreed at Annual Budget Council, which was held at Halifax Town Hall on Monday 27 February 2017 and is available to view on the Council’s website.