On 14 January 2013 Calderdale Council’s Cabinet set out draft proposals for the Council’s budget for 2013 to 2016. Cabinet members are asking residents and businesses for feedback on their proposals during a month of consultation.
The proposals have been put together against a background of substantial reduction in funding from central government. Since 2010 the Council’s annual budget has been reduced by £40.5 million, with another £11.2 million reductions planned. Recent Government announcements have increased this further and extra savings of £21.6 million need to be made by March 2016.
In addition to reduced funding, Calderdale suffered flooding in the Upper Calder Valley in 2012, needing recovery activity and investment over a number of years.
The Council are determined to face these challenges by being a strong Council for local people and using resources and influence to build a good future for local towns and communities. Proposals support both basic needs and ambitions: ambitions for a good start for children, for jobs and prosperity for communities and for success for locally-based businesses.
Cabinet’s proposals for the next three years focus on how the Council must face these challenges, including:
- Investing in economy and infrastructure
- Transforming social care
- Supporting children and young people
- Improving the way local people find and use our services, while helping them do things themselves in the community
- Achieving good value for money
Calderdale Council’s Leader, Cllr Tim Swift, says:
” We do our very best to provide good services for local people within the budget we have and this is becoming more and more difficult. Despite the reduction in our funding we are proposing £2m to support the increasing number of children needing social care as well as investing in early intervention work to avoid further costs in the future.
” It is also very important that we build a stronger local economy to provide a future for our young people. To support this we are proposing a £2.5million fund to stimulate local economic regeneration and employment opportunities. We are also proposing to promote the Living Wage for low-paid workers, starting with our own staff.”
Over the next two years Calderdale Council will work to secure investment to help address poverty, which currently affects up to 25 per cent of households in Calderdale. Long term rising energy costs may mean 1 in 3 households affected by fuel poverty by 2020. The Council is committed to projects that provide help with insulation and heating for lower income households who are at the greatest risk of fuel poverty and its effects.
Calderdale Council’s Deputy Leader, Cllr Janet Battye, says:
” We are building on the priorities local people gave us in our consultations over the last two years, these are to: improve services for vulnerable people, review charges, focus on early intervention, support those who need it most, reduce costs and become more efficient.
” It is likely that we will need to continue changing the way we work to make a difference and achieve savings and the Council continues to make best use of available resources, working closely with other public services, especially Health and Police, and local communities. We are especially keen to focus our support where its needed most, working with our partners, we have made great progress in looking after vulnerable children and adults and we want this to continue.
” To support this we are proposing to introduce a Council tax benefit support scheme available to most residents who have been getting help under the old system.”
The draft budget proposals are available on the Council’s website:Budget consultation Please give your feedback by returning the response form either by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by sending it to: Councillor Tim Swift, Leader, Calderdale Council, Town Hall, Halifax HX1 1UJ. The proposals will also be discussed at public meetings:
- Tuesday 15 January 2013 at The Waterfront Hall, Hebden Bridge, Town Hall, St George’s Street, Hebden Bridge, HX7 7BY, 6.30pm – 8.30pm (doors open at 6.00pm)
- Wednesday 16 January 2013 in the Green Room, Victoria Theatre, Fountain Street, Halifax, HX1 1BP, 6.30pm – 8.30pm (doors open at 6.00pm)
- Tuesday 22 January 2013 at Brighouse Civic Hall, Brighouse, HD6 1RS, 6.30pm – 8.30pm (doors open at 6.00pm)
- Thursday 24 January 2013 at Edward Hall, Forest Cottage Community Centre, Cousin Lane, Ovenden, HX2 8AD, 6.30pm – 8.30pm (doors open at 6.00pm)
Consultation ends on Monday, February 11.
Final decisions will be taken at the Annual Budget Council meeting on Monday 25 February 2013.