Balancing the books and ensuring that the Council’s finances are on a firm footing for the future 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 16 January 2023, marking the start of a 28-day public consultation.
In October 2022, the Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) estimated the impacts of the economic situation on the local authority. These included:
- providing for pay settlements which ensure the Council can retain and attract staff;
- a likely fall in income as residents cut back on spending;
- higher contract costs due to inflation;
- higher energy costs; and
- a significant fall in car parking income.
The MTFS also highlighted that additional investment in children’s and adults’ social care is required, to make sure the Council is as well placed as possible to respond to rising costs and rising demands.
The Council has already delivered savings of £120m since austerity started for local government in 2010.
This is the basis on which the Cabinet has put together the budget proposals for the financial year 2023 to 2024, building around three key principles:
- investing in social care to address demographic pressures from an ageing population, supporting people to live their best possible lives, and working in partnership with the NHS;
- maintaining existing spending levels on front line services, avoiding the need for further reductions; and
- delivering a robust and balanced budget which will help to protect the Council’s finances over the next two years.
Cllr Tim Swift, Leader of Calderdale Council said:
“Yet again the Council is faced with balancing the budget during a sustained period of financial uncertainty.
“During 2022 we saw levels of inflation not experienced in this country for a generation, which has put immense pressure on the Council’s finances just as it has on households across the country.
“Inflation is forecast to continue at a higher rate than we have been used to in recent times for the rest of this year, which means that this pressure is likely to continue at least in the short term. And we’re continuing to experience the impact and aftermath of the global pandemic, which has increased demand for our services.
“Our priority will always be to ensure stability in the Council’s finances, despite the exceptionally challenging climate in which we’re operating.
“We will continue to plan ahead, through our Medium Term Financial Strategy, although this is made more difficult when, as this year, we received only a one year financial settlement from the Government.
“We will, however, remain ambitious, continuing to invest in those things which will allow us to deliver on our Cabinet priorities – taking climate action, reducing inequalities and supporting our thriving towns and places.”
To protect and maintain vital public services the proposals include an increase in Council Tax of 4.99%. This is made up of an increase of 2.99% and an additional 2% on the Social Care Precept which will help to fund and protect social care services to vulnerable children and adults.
These increases are factored into the Government’s announcement of our spending power.
The Council Tax Reduction Scheme will remain at its current level.
The Cabinet budget proposals are available to view online at https://calderdale.gov.uk/v2/council/budgets-and-spending/cabinet-consultation-budget
There will be an opportunity for residents and businesses to ask questions about the Cabinet’s proposals during a Facebook Live Q&A session at 7pm on Thursday 26 January 2023 on the Council’s Facebook page.
People can have their say by completing the feedback form online at https://online1.snapsurveys.com/interview/df36a4c6-b4d5-44b4-addf-8753b0cbb613(external link)
Alternatively, for those unable to access the web form, feedback can also be returned by downloading the form available at Cabinet’s Consultation Budget 2023/24 to 2025/26 | Calderdale Council
This can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or posted to arrive by Wednesday 8 February 2023 to:
BUDGET CONSULTATION, TOWN HALL, HALIFAX, HX1 1UJ
The proposals will be finalised by the Cabinet on Monday 13 February 2023 and the budget will be agreed at the Annual Budget Council meeting on Monday 27 February 2023.