Tax rise and cuts backed in budget

Cllr Mehboob Khan  stock pic  2005
Cllr Mehboob Khan stock pic 2005

Cuts to services worth £22m and a council tax rise were agreed by Kirklees Council this week.

Councillors backed the 2.5 per cent increase as they decided how to spend the budget for the next 12 months.

But it came with the warning that more cuts are on the way – this summer the council will begin a public consultation as part of major re-shaping plans for how it will operate in the future.

Kirklees Council leader Mehboob Khan said: “Local government has taken by far the largest percentage reduction of any part of the public sector. As school funding has been relatively protected the potential cuts facing the rest of the Council are significant and painful.”

The ruling Labour Party budget proposals included a reduction in funding for Kirklees Active Leisure by £406,000 and £10,000 from the Kirklees Youth Games budget. There will be no library closures, but there will be a review of mobile library vehicles to save £68,000 in 2013/14.

There will be no ‘A World Together’ event in Dewsbury in 2013. But there will be investment in the development of the Cooper Bridge junction near Mirfield and £125,00 contributed towards the free Dewsbury town bus.

Labour’s deputy leader, Coun David Sheard, described his party’s plans as a ‘holding budget’, adding that ‘drastic’ cuts were yet to come.

The Liberal Democrats put forward amendments, including protecting the Public Right of Way service, which will be incorporated into the Highways budget. They said public rights of way supported communities, public health and tourism.

And Coun John Lawson (Lib Dem, Cleckheaton) warned that lack of investment in Spenborough Pool could damage the health of the people of North Kirklees. The amendments were defeated.

The Conservatives, Green Party and the Valley Independents did not submit any amendments to Labour’s proposals.

l Council tax charges (not including parish council rates) will be: Band A £957.22, Band B £1,116.75, Band C £1,276.29, Band D £1,435.82, Band E £1,754.89, Band F £2,073.97, Band G £2,393.04, Band H £2,871.65.