Cabinet reveals budget

PUBLIC toilets, free bulky item collection, free replacement bins and community grants could all be spared under Kirklees Council’s Labour Cabinet.

The Cabinet put forward proposed amendments to officers’ 2012-2013 budget cuts at a meeting on Tuesday. The final decision will be made by full council on February 22.

Officers proposed axing a free bulky waste collection service, introducing a £25 charge for the first three items and £25 for electrical items.

But Coun David Sheard said the Cabinet wanted to keep the service going.

And he said replacement bins could be provided for ones that had been stolen, on production of a crime number.

He also added that public toilets could be paid for by area committees if communities wanted to save them.

Officers propose cutting maintenance work for public rights of way to a minimum – but Coun Sheard said they should be maintained by Streetscene, which is responsible for cleaning streets, grass cutting, rubbish collection, removing graffiti, repairing potholes and gritting.

The Labour Cabinet hopes to set up a future jobs fund to help up to 200 young people find a job, and invest in benefit support and a credit union.

Coun Mollie Walton said the group wanted to maintain the domestic violence and sex worker programmes which officers planned to remodel, to save £149,000 by 2014. The Labour group also hoped to save community grants funding of £192,000 for community organisations.

The party said under the children and young people service they would seek a review of early intervention to cut down the number of management jobs and continue work to stop young people entering the criminal justice system.

Coun Peter McBride said the party wanted to invest in town and town centres, supporting special events and markets.

And he said private landlords would be encouraged to bring empty properties back into use which could free up 1,000 homes over three years.

Council leader Coun Mehboob Khan said the party was considering proposals it would not previously have dreamed of because of government cuts and the recession.

He added: “Kirklees still faces a challenging few years. This financial pressure is unprecedented. We have to look fundamentally at what we provide, what we commission and how we can balance our budgets.”

The Tories also revealed their budget proposals on Tuesday.

They include a council tax freeze, retaining glass collections, and keeping the bulky waste collection free. Deputy leader Coun David Hall said: “In addition we have strongly voiced our opposition to the closure of any libraries and children’s centres.”