The task? Save £65m in 3 years

CALDERDALE Council’s Cabinet has unveiled its proposed Budget for 2011/12 to 2013/14.

Full details of the budget plans are contained in Cabinet’s proposals for consultation as agreed at their meeting on Monday. These proposals are now subject to a public consultation process before they are discussed at a full meeting of Budget Council on February 28.

Following the Cabinet meeting, Calderdale Council’s Leader, Coun Janet Battye, said: “We know that, as a Council, we are facing hard and challenging times. We have to plan to make savings of £65m in total over the next three years.

“As a new Cabinet in a new climate facing this challenge we wanted to make certain that this was an open process so we set up two big pieces of work over the last six month. We conducted a public consultation exercise to get local people’s views about what’s important to them and we were pleased to get 11,000 responses from 3,000 people.

“We also ran cross-party budget review groups examining in considerable detail how the council spends its money.

“Once we knew the details of what the council is facing over the next three years in terms of money allocated to us by the Government, as a Cabinet, we worked through all of these proposals and this work has resulted in the proposals which we are now publishing for consultation.”

She listed the priorities . . .

n Reducing waste within the council, improving efficiency;

n Flattening the management structure;

n Streamlining services and encouraging cross-council working; and

n Investigating where services can be shared between councils and other public bodies.

Calderdale Council’s deputy leader, Coun Tim Swift, said: “Our highest priority is to maintain direct services to local people, and especially to vulnerable local people, and we are proposing to put about £1.5m extra into this – for older and disabled people, for vulnerable children and young people, and into neighbourhood services.

“We are also proposing that there should be no increase in council tax next year, nor any pay increase for staff.

“We want to make sure that we find out the views of local people on these proposals so we are holding meetings with staff, the public and various interest groups such as businesses, town and parish councils and local community groups, as well as examining the proposals in detail in the council’s Scrutiny Panels.”

The Cabinet Budget proposals report is now available on the website www.calderdale.gov.uk. Consultation on the budget proposals will run for four weeks – ending on Monday February 14 2011.

To comment on the budget proposals, people can:

n Complete the feedback form and email it to: budget@calderdale.gov.uk or post to Councillor Janet Battye, Leader, Calderdale Council, Town Hall, Halifax HX1 1UJ.

n Attend a public meeting next Monday, 2pm at St Paul’s Church, Sowerby Bridge or next Tuesday, 6pm at North Bridge Leisure Centre, Halifax.