Keeping communities safe during the global pandemic and building a position from which to mount a strong recovery are the focus for the Cabinet’s budget proposals for the next financial year.
The proposals were presented by the Leader of the Council at a Cabinet meeting on Monday 11 January 2021, marking the start of a 28-day public consultation.
Cllr Tim Swift, Calderdale Council’s Leader said:
“This is a budget which addresses three themes: keeping Calderdale secure through the pandemic; ensuring a robust balanced budget for next year; and providing a strong foundation for an ambitious recovery with sustainable regeneration for the future.
“These proposals outline the steps needed to deliver a balanced and robust budget for 2021/22 which is an essential step so that we are able to support our communities as we move to recover from the impact of COVID-19.”
Although the level of Government funding next year has been confirmed, there is still some financial uncertainty for the Council as it manages rising demand for services whilst facing reduced income from areas such as parking and leisure services, which have been affected by the pandemic.
The Government has promised additional funding to support the Council’s response to COVID-19 but unfortunately this is unlikely to be enough to fully compensate for this.
To help the Council maintain essential local services the Cabinet’s budget proposals include a 2% rise in Council Tax. The Social Care Precept will be added to this and used to raise an additional 3% worth around £2.8m per year to help protect adult social care.
One of the Council’s most important responsibilities is to provide care and support to those adults and children who are vulnerable, to enable them to lead the fullest lives possible.
Unlike health services which are funded nationally, since 2015 an increasing share of the cost for social care has been transferred to Council Taxpayers, and as demand continues to rise these vital services are taking an increasing share of the Council’s budget.
Yet the pandemic has demonstrated the importance of carers, who are often low paid, but who provide this essential support.
The income raised by the Social Care Precept will allow the Council to increase the wages of social care providers above the increase in the National Living Wage, in line with recommendations from the Low Pay Commission, to reduce inequalities and help protect the vulnerable social care market.
Unfortunately, the pandemic has seen a dramatic increase in the number of families who need extra help and support. This continues to be a major priority for the Council, which has provided additional funds to ensure effective support, launching the ‘Never Hungry Again’ campaign to mobilise Calderdale’s communities to tackle holiday hunger, and continuing to maintain the Council Tax Relief Scheme at its existing level.
The Cabinet’s commitment to tackling the climate emergency is also reflected within the budget proposals, which provide for the first year cost of a planned £1m investment in measures to tackle climate change, working with communities to develop initiatives and using this as match funding to attract additional grants.
The Future Council programme has begun to reshape services, to find new ways to deliver services and reduce costs, which is essential to allow the Council to plan for the recovery on a secure financial footing. This includes increasing in-house provision for children who need looking after and reducing the use of independent fostering agencies.
Communities are working with the Council on a review of waste services, to find ways to increase recycling, minimise waste and reduce the amount sent to landfill (which costs £100 per tonne) whilst continuing to provide an excellent kerbside recycling and residual waste collection.
When the pandemic eventually eases, the Council will need to help Calderdale’s towns and communities to rebuild. Five of Calderdale’s market towns have already secured support through the Government’s different town programmes. These, together with the significant investment from West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Fund and the Leeds City Region’s Transforming Cities Fund will help them recover and thrive again.
The Cabinet budget proposals are available to view at www.calderdale.gov.uk/v2/sites/default/files/Cabinet-Budget-Proposals-2021-22-to-2023-24-for-Consultation.pdf
People can have their say on the budget proposals:
By emailing us:
Download the feedback form and when completed email it to email@example.com
By writing to us:
Print out and complete the Budget Consultation feedback form and post it to:
Your Budget (BudgetConsultation)
The proposals will be finalised by the Cabinet on Monday 8 February 2021 and the budget will be agreed at the Annual Budget Council meeting on Monday 22 February 2021.