Preparing for a strong and sustainable recovery was the Council’s priority when setting the budget for 2021/22, agreed at Budget Council on Monday 22 February 2021.
Cllr Tim Swift, Calderdale Council’s Leader said:
“In this year unlike any other, we have faced the twin challenges of flooding and COVID-19. My thanks go to our communities, the neighbours, the council staff, the voluntary and community sector and the nurses and doctors who have worked night and day to keep us safe during the last 12 months. We will continue to do everything possible to support individuals, businesses and communities throughout the pandemic.
“We recognise that the virus is likely to have a lasting impact on our health and care services so it’s right that this is where we will make our most significant investment, ensuring that the most vulnerable people in our communities are able to live the fullest lives possible.
“Yet despite these challenging times we remain ambitious for the future. This is a robust and balanced budget which will ensure that we are well placed to support a sustainable recovery for our towns and communities.”
To help the Council maintain essential local services Council Tax will rise by 2%. The Social Care Precept will be added to this and used to raise an additional 3%, worth around £2.8m per year.
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.
The Council will also continue its commitment to tackling the climate emergency. The budget includes 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 Council does face a degree of financial uncertainty in the year ahead, as it manages rising demand for services whilst facing reduced income in services which have been affected by the pandemic.
To ensure that the budget is balanced by March 2022 the Council is required to make savings of £8 million. On top of raising the Social Care Precept, this will be achieved through:
- Efficiency improvements in the administrative support provided to Council services
- Standardising the children’s centre contracts
- Savings in the Youth Justice service
- Reducing opening hours at household waste and recycling centres
- Reviewing the costs which are recovered during the delivery of infrastructure improvement programmes
- The Future Council programme which will bring savings through changes to the way services are delivered
- Lower than anticipated pension contribution rates
- Pay award for Council officers in line with Government guidelines
The Council will continue to hold Calderdale Conversations with people about their vision for the borough and the role of the Council throughout 2021. This approach will inform the Council’s future budget decisions on priorities such as reducing the causes of deprivation and inequalities, developing sustainable towns and acting on climate change.
Full details of the approved budget will soon be available at www.calderdale.gov.uk