Key Liberal Democrat policies won cross-party support at Calderdale’s budget meeting last night. Both Conservative and Labour groups accepted a range of our proposals which were driven by our determination to build both a stronger economy, but also a fairer society in which everyone can get on in life.
Our proposals to build a stronger economy included:
- Increasing the Council’s Business & Economy Service to provide expert help and advice that will enable local business to increase their exports.
- Providing each Ward Forum with a sum of £5,000 so that issues of local importance can be addressed.
Our proposals to build a fairer society included:
- Increasing the size of the Safer, Cleaner, Greener teams, enabling them to place more emphasis on tackling dog fouling.
- Establishing a fund that local schools can access to tackle issues with their buildings that are too big for their own budgets, but which never make it to the top of the Council’s priority list.
In addition we supported a range of measures to help with the cost of living include a reversal of recent changes in parking charges that have seen residents charged up to 8pm to park in Halifax Town Centre.
Over the past couple of days it became clear there were concerns over proposals to both reduce sick pay, and give staff who take no sick pay and extra day’s holiday. We listened to staff concerns about the proposed reduction in sick pay, and did not support proposals to make this reduction in this years budget. We will be keen now for the Labour administration to demonstrated they can reduce high levels of sick pay on Calderdale Council without having to make these cuts in sick pay.
Further savings were found in a reduction in the Council’s transport budget, reducing the taxpayer subsidy to trade unions and increasing the charges of wheelie bins to reflect their actual cost to replace. We also managed to reverse Labour’s planned half million cut in the communities budget that would have seen a review of community libraries and 15 fte redundancies within the directorate.
Commenting on the proposals Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Janet Battye said ““Our overarching aims have been to make better use of the Council’s resources to support a fairer society and build a stronger economy.”