Was it a budget of missed opportunities

Last week Labour and the Lib Dems voted in a budget that will mean households across Calderdale will be paying more for fewer services.

It was a lost opportunity and one that I and my fellow Conservatives could not support.

Motorists will now find that parking charges across our town centres are either being increased or introduced, including here in the Brighouse area. These charges are bound to affect the shopping habits of motorists.

Schoolchildren will lose free home to school transport, just because they go to the “wrong” school.

Charges for Care in the Home have been increased enormously, putting great pressure on the budgets of vulnerable elderly people.

Support for Day Care Centres, such as Wellholme, have been slashed, with the potential of vital local support for working mums being lost.

The Council will continue to subsidise Union activity by up to £250,000.

High levels of borrowing have been sanctioned to enable the Council to move Halifax Central Library, even though thousands have said no to the move.

In return the taxpayer is being asked to pay 1.99 per cent more (£25 on a Band D home).

The budget, this coming year, is almost £184million. An increase of just £8,000 more would have meant that Labour and the Lib Dems would have required your permission to implement their plans in a referendum.

Labour and the Lib Dems have rejected a Government offer of an additional grant in favour of asking you, the taxpayer, to pay more. At a time when our finances are stretched to the limit do we really want to pay more tax than needed?

Was all this necessary? We say no!

Conservatives recommended cutting the number of councillors by approximately a third saving £160,000. It was rejected.

Conservatives recommended sharing senior management and services with other councils. Possible savings of £10million have already been highlighted. The potential across West Yorkshire could be much more. In London three councils are on target to make annual savings of £40million through shared services. Why are we not able to work towards this here, when all five West Yorkshire leaders are in the Labour Party?

We also recommended reducing the cost of Union representation to taxpayers.

So a budget of missed opportunities and more of the same: increased taxes and fewer services. But it could have been different!