#AmbitionCalderdale – a new kind of budget conversation

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The debate about how money received by local councils is divided and used to provide services probably doesn’t appear to be the most interesting conversation, but Calderdale Council hope that a new event taking place next week might make you re-consider that, and think about getting involved in the discussion.

 In a unique move, Calderdale is beginning its consultation on budget proposals with ‘Building Ambition for Calderdale – a conversation on our future’, a roundtable discussion that brings together representatives from organisations across the borough.  You too can take part, by sending your comments, tweeting and following the debate live as it happens, on the Council’s website.

 Representatives from the business sector, health, volunteer groups, education and faith will come together at 4pm on Wednesday 4 December at The Threeways Centre in Ovenden.  They will discuss which services are important to them, which need to be maintained and suggest innovative new initiatives that could be developed. The event will be chaired by the BBC’s political correspondent, Len Tingle and hosted by Calderdale Council’s Leader, Cllr Tim Swift. 

Cllr Swift said: 

“This event is part of a new approach to widening debate about what the council does.  It allows you to play a greater part in our decision making, offer your comments and follow the Ambition for Calderdale debate.

 “It’s great that people can get involved and engage in the event on social media. We’re live tweeting throughout the evening using the hashtag #AmbitionCalderdale, so you can follow the conversation, or you can have your say on the council’s website. 

“We will be discussing how, despite budget restrictions, we can continue to support those who need it most; provide high levels of service, and protect jobs.”

 The conversation will be based around the Council’s priorities; Growth, Ambition, Resilience, Sustainability, Efficiency and Fairness and is all the more important as it takes place against the backdrop of a seriously declining budget.  Next year there will be less money for local services, less funds from Central Government and still more national priorities impacting on the delivery of local services. The Council has already had to make savings of £56m since 2010/11 but needs to increase these to £96m by 2016/17.  This means that by 2016/17 we expect to have saved the equivalent of 37% of our original budget.  

Yet, Calderdale Council is continuing to support the needs of residents and businesses through a progressive programme to drive out even greater savings while building ambitions for jobs and prosperity, our diverse communities and successful businesses, and also providing the best start for our children. 

To have your say about how Calderdale ambitions can be achieved despite the declining budget, email your comments to Follow the conversation on Twitter #AmbitionCalderdale and comment on Calderdale Council’s website Council budget consultation

 Your comments are important and will be considered before the final recommendations at the Cabinet meeting on Monday 10 February 2014.

 Final decisions will be taken at the Annual Budget Council meeting on Tuesday 25 February 2014. Please come along to the meeting to find out the Budget decision.

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