Calderdale Council's Cabinet has approved budget proposals which include freezing Council Tax for a second year. This will allow the Council to qualify for the Government's Council Tax Freeze Grant.
The draft proposals, which were revealed at a Cabinet meeting on 12 January 2015 at Halifax Town Hall, outline the Cabinet's priorities for the year ahead.
The proposals include providing an additional investment of £500,000 to improve local heritage and cultural assets, to boost tourism and economic growth.
This will be strengthened by a £200,000 contribution to the Economic Investment Fund to promote local job opportunities in tourism and business development.
Leader of Calderdale Council, Cllr Stephen Baines said, "I am delighted that we have been able to freeze Council Tax for a further year, as we know that anything we can do to help keep bills down will be welcomed.
"It's also vital that we do all that we can to help our local businesses. Our proposals will provide additional investment to help create jobs and stimulate growth to support our local economy.
"We will also invest in and protect our historic landmarks which are so important to our residents and which attract visitors from far and wide, providing vital support to our tourism industry."
The budget proposals cover the next three financial years, from 2015/16 to 2017/18. The Council has already consulted on the savings plans for the financial years 2015/16 and 2016/17, as part of the budget process in 2013 and 2014. We will carry out more public consultation before finalising the plans for 2017/18.
The budget proposals for 2015/16 are available at www.calderdale.gov.uk/budget
There are many ways in which people can have their say:
Attending a public meeting:
7pm on 21 January 2015 at Hebden Bridge Town Hall within the Ward Forum meeting.
Post: Budget Consultation, Licence number RTJK-SCKU-XGCL, Town Hall, Halifax HX1 1UJ (no stamp required)
All responses will be considered before the final recommendations are made by the Cabinet on Monday 9 February 2015.
Final decisions will be taken at the Annual Budget Council meeting on Monday 23 February 2015 at Halifax Town Hall.
Later this year the Council will begin drawing up budget proposals for 2017/18, when it needs to find savings of £9.4m.
Members of the public and service users will be invited to consider proposals on themed savings, such as:
- making changes to the way the Council manages demand for services;
- how technology can be used to improve efficiency;
- ways the Council can generate more income;
- creating a more streamlined Council;
- working with partner organisations, such as the NHS and
- changing the way services are delivered.
More detailed budget proposals based on the consultation findings will be finalised next year.
- from the LibDem's James Baker
We have no prior agreement with the Conservatives to support their budget, and the proposals they draw up will be their own. We have our own beliefs and values, and despite only having six Councillors on Calderdale Council we will be doing our best to try and ensure as many of the policy ideas suggested democratically by our local members are adopted by the Council.
Our priorities in this budget are to improve health and social care provision, help to grow the local economy, and creating a fair, open and efficient Council. We would expect both of the larger parties on the Council to work together, and with us constructively to create a budget which is in the best interests of local residents. This has to be a better approach than simply seeing this exercise as an opportunity to point score in the run up to the general election.
Wednesday, 7 January 2015
Calderdale Labour group has challenged the Council's six Liberal Democrat members to say whether they are already committed to supporting the Conservative party's budget proposals, which are due to be published next week.
Labour leader Cllr Swift said, "When the Liberal Democrats voted to hand control of the Council to the Conservatives, Lib Dem deputy leader James Baker denied that there was a coalition but said they had a 'confidence and supply' agreement.
"In Parliamentary terms, a 'confidence and supply' agreement means a commitment to support the administration on motions of confidence and on financial matters. This suggests that they are committed to reaching agreement with the Conservatives on the Council budget. We know that as part of their earlier deal, the Liberal Democrat leadership are attending regular briefings with the Conservative Cabinet and that these have included discussions of the Cabinet budget proposals.
"Shortly, there will be some public consultation on the budget. Before it begins, the public should be aware whether the Liberal Democrats are acting independently or if they are already committed to doing yet another deal with the Conservatives. I am today calling on Lib Dem leader Cllr Janet Battye to set the record straight so that everyone knows where they stand."
Following is the text of the email sent to Cllr Battye yesterday, 6 January:
Dear Cllr Battye
I am writing to ask you to state on the record your group's position regarding the Council budget for 2015-2018, and specifically whether you are already committed to supporting the Conservative / Cabinet budget proposals.
My reasons for asking this are as follows:-
- When you voted to give control of the Council to the Conservatives in July, your deputy leader stated that this was a 'confidence and supply' arrangement. This would normally mean that there was a commitment to supporting the administration on financial matters;
- It is clear that as part of your attendance at private leader's briefings, you will have been party to discussions on the Cabinet budget proposals;
- Hopefully there will be some degree of public consultation on the Cabinet budget proposals, and it is important that members of the public attending these know whether the Liberal Democrats are acting independently or, in effect, as part of the administration.
In the interests of openness and transparency, I therefore hope that you will place your views and position on the record as quickly as possible.
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