Labour’s budget proposals for Calderdale Council include cutting £240K in 2015/16 and £340k in 2016-17 from local services in the communities budget. This includes a ‘review’ of neighborhood offices and community libraries. The proposals put forward by the Labour cabinet state there will be 15 FTE of redundancies in the service. Although the cuts are not specified it is clear from the large budget savings put against them they would decimate these services.
This plan breaks Labour’s promise to stand up for front line services in Calderdale. In fact their decision to freeze Council tax instead of opting for a modest rise in Council tax in line with inflation has meant the Council has had to find around another £700k in savings. A freeze in Council tax means a reduction in spending power in real-terms. This means the Council has to find additional savings, and make further cuts. Labour can’t have it both ways, firstly claiming to their left-leaning supports they are fighting the cuts, only to then adopt a low tax approach funded by further cuts to local services.
Despite Labour hiking up parking charges, and cutting community services a Freedom of Information Action act requests has revealed Labour cabinet members have provided themselves with taxpayer funded iPads. With cabinet members already getting an allowance of over £21,000 expensive gadgets like this could be funded out of their own pockets.
Local services such as our libraries matter to people in Calderdale, that’s why our proposed amendments to Labour’s budget seek to reverse this cut. We want to see more effort put into co-locating services, concentrating on essential buildings owned and run by the Council, with a real drive to establish “community hubs” which will protect and promote local services (such as libraries), and enable closer working with local community groups.