Supporting frontline services which protect vulnerable children and adults is the priority within the Cabinet’s budget plans for 2020/21.
The proposals were presented at a Cabinet meeting on Monday 13 January 2020, marking the start of a 28 day public consultation.
The Government has not yet announced the level of funding for local authorities beyond 2020.
This uncertainty means that this year’s Cabinet budget proposals cover only the spending and savings decisions required in 2020/21 for which funding levels are known.
The Council continues to face extreme budget pressures as the current level of demand for children’s and adults’ social care is unprecedented, particularly from those with complex needs. The Council will have to continue to take action to address these pressures and make use of any additional funding available to it.
The Cabinet will be required to make a £745,000 saving to ensure the budget is balanced by March 2021. It is proposed that this will be achieved by:
- reducing the Council contributions to the Council’s pension fund so that frontline services can be protected;
- accepting one off savings relating to the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Fund and
- replacing the proposed Council funding for market town improvements with the Government funding announced for Elland, Halifax, Sowerby Bridge, Todmorden and Brighouse.
To help the Council maintain essential local services the Cabinet’s budget proposals include a 1.99% rise in Council Tax.
The Cabinet is also proposing to use the Social Care Precept to raise Council Tax bills by a further 2% so that the Council can continue to provide high quality care for frail and vulnerable people, and to help meet increasing demand as the population ages.
An additional £1 million has been allocated within the proposals to support children’s social care and an extra £2.5 million will be invested annually in adults’ social care to help these services remain sustainable in the future.
Leader of Calderdale Council, Cllr Tim Swift said:
“Although the Government has announced the end of austerity and the provisional Local Government Finance Settlement for 2020/21 confirms some additional funding for social care and allows Councils to add a social care precept to the budget, this only provides a fraction of the level of funding which we have lost since 2010.
“Our priority must always be to protect those services which support the most vulnerable people in our communities. We will allocate additional funding to social care but at the same time we are transforming the way in which we provide services. We will also protect and sustain our prevention and early intervention services so that we do all that we can to reduce and manage demand.”
The Cabinet has highlighted four areas of focus once future funding is clear:
Addressing local poverty – the Council will work with partners to tackle homelessness and support the poorest households in our communities.
Taking action on the climate emergency – the Council has declared a climate emergency and its Climate Change Working Party is developing the Council’s response. Work on the Council’s re-fit programme, to make its own buildings more energy efficient, and the £22m LED street lighting replacement scheme will continue and further actions will be identified by the Working Party.
Developing sustainable towns – the Council will use the Future High Streets, Towns and High Streets Heritage Action Zone funding from the Government to help communities and businesses thrive.
Increasing affordable housing – the Council will take an active role in building new homes in Calderdale through its development company, with a £4 million budget to stimulate house building and continue to work with its partners.
Since the Autumn the Council has also been speaking to residents and businesses to identify their local priorities for spending through its Calderdale Conversations programme and this will help inform budget decisions in future years.
The Cabinet budget proposals are available to view at Budget 2020
People can have their say on the budget proposals:
By emailing us:
Download the feedback form and when completed email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
By writing to us:
Print out and complete the Budget Consultation feedback form and post it to:
Halifax HX1 1UJ
All responses will be considered before the final recommendations are made by Cabinet on Monday 10 February 2020.
Final decisions will be taken at the Annual Budget Council meeting at 6pm on Monday 24 February 2020 at Halifax Town Hall.