Council budget agreed

ABOUT 250 jobs will be axed in the three-year budget approved last night by Calderdale Council’s Lib-Lab coalition.

Most will be in health and social care, children and young people’s services.

The council expects to save £1 million a year by reducing nursery provision in Sure Start children’s centres in 2014 and axing up to 63 jobs.

Another 21 could go by reorganising education improvement services and passing on more responsibilities to schools, eventually saving £755,000 a year.

Closing Heathy House Care Home, Holmfield, Halifax, will result in 43 job losses and save £300,000 a year, while closing the Chatham Street Centre, Halifax, which is used by disabled people, will mean 16 more staff having to go.

Reorganising the learning disability supported- living service will save £100,000 and cost 20 jobs and another 40 will be lost by using private firms to deliver home care, which at the same time will save £400,000 a year.

Jobs will also go in the countryside service, which will rely more on volunteers, and nine job losses are expected as a result of cutbacks to customer and first and cash collection offices. The careers service and education welfare service will shed nearly 20 jobs.

Other budget highlights include a 10p an hour increase in parking charges in 2014, raising £400,000 and cuts to transport services, road, footpath and street light maintenance.

A £10 charge will be introduced for new and replacement wheelie bins.

An extra £500,000 will be put into protecting front-line services for vulnerable adults and £2.5 million more will be spent on children in council care.

The council expects to spend £179.5 million in 2012/13, up slightly on the current year, which will be achieved without any increase in council tax.

But by 2014, spending should fall to £172 million and by that time council tax increases of 3.5 per cent are anticipated.

Dozens of council workers waving banners lobbied last night’s meeting at Halifax Town Hall.

Among them were members of the largest public-sector union, Unison.

Its members are furious about the Government imposing the third consecutive wage freeze, which it is claimed has cost workers more than 10 per cent during that period.

The council’s Lib-Dem leader Janet Battye described their budget as “the right choice in hard times.”

Deputy leader Tim Swift (Labour) said the savings suggested by the Conservatives were “unethical and unnecessary.”