‘Care for the needy - and keep us safe’

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THE Brighouse area got its chance to have a say over Calderdale Council’s proposed budget cuts.

In a quickly arranged meeting at Rastrick High school, over 20 people attended as Calderdale Council’s leader, Coun Janet Battye, portfolio holder for Economy and Environment, Coun Barry Collins and head of finance Peter Smith answered their questions.

One of the main topics of discussion was the effect of the cuts on the most vulnerable including care of the elderly and children.

Another was the issue over management structure and the hiring of volunteers to carry out school crossing patrols.

Councillor Barry Collins said that the proposals had been phrased incorrectly and that the council was not looking for volunteer crossing patrol wardens. The authority was in discussion with the schools for them to fund and run the patrols instead of the council.

However, Ann Rutherford of Brighouse Road Safety Committee and a lollipop lady for many years, said putting this control into the hands of schools would be a disaster and it simply would not work.

She believed that the responsibility of school crossing patrols should be moved into the hands of the road safety teams.

The road safety unit has been hit hard in the budget proposals but Coun Battye said the council was looking at ways of minimising the impact.

“The number of accidents in Calderdale has decreased so it shows that the road safety scheme is working.

“It’s something we hope to address,” she said.

People have until February 14 to comment on what services should and should not be cut before the council’s annual budget council on Monday, February 28.

Councillor Colin Stout (Independent, Brighouse) thanked people for attending at short notice.

“In the circumstances it has been a really good turn out and I urge as many people as possible to hand in comments regarding the cuts and welcome them to attend the annual budget meeting,” he said.

Feedback forms can be found in local libraries. Alternatively, comments can be sent to budget@calderdale.gov.uk, or post to councillor Janet Battye, Leader, Calderdale Council, Town Hall, Halifax HX1 1UJ

The Cabinet Budget proposals report is available at www.calderdale.gov.uk

What do you think about the budget cuts? Let us know your views by emailing stephen.firth@brighouseecho.co.uk or send your letters to Brighouse Echo, West Park Street, Brighouse, HD6 1JW