Inside the Council: budget proposals

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At its meeting on Monday, the Conservative/Independent Cabinet put forward its proposals for the council’s budget for 2015/16 to 2017/18, writes Coun Ann McAllister (Con, Rastrick).

The good news is that the cabinet plans to take up the Government’s offer of a council tax freeze grant in 2015/16, so there will be no increase in the Calderdale part of the council tax again this coming year for local residents.

Local authorities continue to feel the impact of the national austerity measures and Government funding to local government will have reduced by around 40 per cent by 2015/16 from when the measures started in 2010.

Calderdale has delivered its budget plans since 2010 within a total council tax increase over the period of just two per cent with minimal disruption to front-line services. Despite the reductions in funding and the continuous need to identify efficiency savings, the council has delivered on its priorities in terms of protecting the most vulnerable people in the community and building ambition for Calderdale.

There is clearly great uncertainty about local authority funding after the general election and, therefore, the budget proposals for 2017/18 are based on themes rather than detailed savings proposals at this stage.

Savings will be based on efficiency improvements and finding different ways of doing things, wherever possible. However, given the scale of the projected savings required, it is likely that some changes to services will become necessary.

It is intended that cabinet will undertake a consultation process during this summer to understand what is important to the public and service users, prior to building up more detailed budget proposals for 2017/18 by autumn of this year.

In the meantime, you can have your say about the cabinet’s budget proposals. You can download a copy from the council’s website - www.calderdale.gov.uk - or if you would like a full paper copy, or a copy in an alternative format, you can contact Calderdale Council Customer First on 01422 268001.

Copies are also available at your local library and the Customer First reception desk, which is situated in Horton Street, Halifax. There is a form at the back of the document which can be emailed to budget@calderdale.gov.uk or it can be posted to Budget Consultation, FREEPOST HF828, Town Hall, Halifax, HX1 1UW.

There will also be a number of public meetings which can be attended. For the Lower Valley (Brighouse, Elland, Rastrick, Greetland and Stainland, Hipperholme and Lightcliffe) this will be held on Wednesday, January 28, at 6.30pm in the Mulberry Suite, Brighouse High School Sixth Form, Parsonage Lane, Brighouse.