Our Innovative proposals that protect services

Following the final local government financial settlement and feedback from our draft proposals, we are pleased to now release our final budget proposals to Cadlerdale Council.

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Liberal Democrat Budget Proposals for Calderdale Council 2018/19 – 2020/21

As Liberal Democrats we are keen to explore innovative ways of running and delivering local services. It is, for this reason, we are proposing a host of innovative new income sources. Picture a brighter future, a future in which the Council utilises technology, revitalises grass-roots democracy, and adopts new ways of working to protect the front line services that you rely on.  

 

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Calderdale Liberal Democrat Budget Proposals - Innovating to protect services

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Like many Northern Councils Calderdale Council has faced unprecedented cuts. This is against the backdrop of the Government being forced to borrow £122Bn extra to try and cover the cost of Brexit. Rather than ending the cuts to local government, we are as a nation now borrowing more to pay for Brexit.

On top of this, the number of elderly and vulnerable people the Council has a responsibility to look after is increasing. For every £1 the Council spends, 32.69p goes on supporting this group of people. In addition, while we welcome the 2% pay rise Public Sector Staff will be getting, this additional cost has not been adequately financed by the Government, so the burden falls onto the local Council to fund this pay rise.  It is against this challenging economic backdrop that we have prepared our budget proposals.

The Consumer Price Index rate of inflation is currently at 3%. We therefore propose putting up Council tax in line with this to ensure the Council maintains its spending power. In addition we are proposing to make use of the 3% Social Care Precept in 2018/19. This money will be spent directly on providing care to the most vulnerable. Despite these measures we still need to cut £1.8M from the budget in 2018/19 rising to £6M in 2019/20.

As Liberal Democrats we are keen to explore innovative ways of running and delivering local services. It is for this reason we are proposing new income sources. A local lottery scheme to support local good causes, a crowdfunding scheme to raise money towards community projects, investing more in commercial property developments and providing more commercial services.

We also want to reform how the Council is run. By reverting to the Committee system of governance we could cut the number of Councillors in receipt of additional responsibility allowances. By empowering all Councillors to make decisions in committees we would revitalise our local democracy and save money.

Our priorities in this budget have been finding innovative ways to raise revenue, and using this revenue to both protect the most vulnerable while providing more of the front line services that people value such as gritting, well maintained highways and parks.

We will increase Council spending to:

  • Protect the most vulnerable with extra funding to help the homeless;
  • Provide and additional funding as pledged for our winter gritting service;
  • Provide additional funding for highway maintenance;
  • Create a budget for building new park play equipment;
  • Provide additional funding to support projects for young people;
  • Introduce a CCTV camera in West Vale to monitor traffic and tackle anti-social behaviour;
  • Undertake two additional traffic calming schemes;
  • Continue the emergency living support grant;
  • Appoint a Fire Safety Officer to implement lessons learnt from the Grenfell Tower fire.

To achieve this we will:

  • Introduce two days unpaid annual leave for Council Staff;
  • Outsource and/or Collaborate on the delivery of Back Office Services;
  • Reduce Opening Hours in Hub and Spoke Libraries by 30%;
  • Move to a Committee System of local governance and cut Councillor pay;
  • Introduce a local lottery scheme;
  • Start to raise funds for community projects via crowdfunding;
  • Start investing some of the Council’s funds into commercial property;
  • Increase charges for bereavement services;
  • Offer more commercial services to raise revenue.

You can download and view our full budget here.

We have provided information sheets with our budget on any growth areas or savings that were not contained within the cabinet's proposals. If you want information on any of the funding proposals that are also in the cabinet's proposals then you can view those here.

These are our draft proposals and we have published them for public consultation. We would love to hear what you think so please feel free to leave your comments or to get in touch with us about them. 


81 teachers in Calderdale on long-term stress leave

There were 81 teachers in Calderdale on long-term stress leave in 2016/17.

It means one in twenty-seven local teachers has been off work for longer than a month with stress in the past year.

The Liberal Democrats have said the figures "laid bare the impossible pressures teachers are under" and warned that stress caused by an obsession with exam results is fuelling the teacher recruitment crisis.

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Hundreds of homes across Calderdale left empty for years 

Nearly 100 homes in Calderdale have been sitting empty for ten years or more, research by the Liberal Democrats has revealed. 

The figures, uncovered through Freedom of Information requests, show that there are over 1,300 homes across Calderdale that have been empty for six months or more. Of these, 278 had been empty for two years or more, 101 for five years or more, and nearly 100 have stood empty for at least ten years.

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Conservative MP for Calder Valley fails to stand up for our Greenbelt

Despite his claims to be standing up to protect our Greenbelt a  freedom of information act request carried out by Calderdale Liberal Democrats has revealed that Craig Whittaker the Conservative MP for Calder Valley has not had any formal correspondence with the Department for Communities and Local Government over the Council's local plan.

Calderdale Council is currently being forced by the Government to find housing sites for nearly 16,000 new homes in its local plan. Any plan that involves building this many houses in the Borough will lead to the loss of greenbelt in places like Greetland, Stainland, Brighouse, Elland and Halifax. 

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Council Supports Liberal Democrat Call to halt Universal Credit

Calderdale Council has backed the Liberal Democrat group’s call for the roll-out of Universal Credit to be halted until the many problems with the scheme are sorted out.

Cllr Pat Allen (Elland) placed a motion on the agenda of the Council Meeting (22nd November) setting out the problems that have dogged the scheme and calling for the government to suspend its roll out until these are sorted out.

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Council Should Use Its Legal Powers To Tackle Anti-Social Behaviour

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Liberal Democrat councillors are urging Calderdale Council to do more to tackle anti-social behaviour.

Recently-released figures show that reports of anti-social behaviour increased by over 13% between 2014 and 2016, and that over 5,500 reports have been made so far this year.

Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Cllr James Baker (Warley) says: “just a few individuals engaging in anti-social behaviour can have a devastating effect on other people and the communities in which they live. The rise in reported incidents over the last three years is very worrying and suggests that there is still a lot of work for the Council, the police and others to do to make sure that people are safe and feel safe.”

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Petitioners Call for Bus to be Reinstated

Residents of Sowood and Outlane are backing a call for the bus service linking their communities to West Vale to be reinstated. A petition calling for improvements to the bus service has been signed by around 1,000 people and will be presented to Calderdale Council at its meeting on Wednesday (19 July).

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Todmorden Sixth Form to Close

Labour run Calderdale Council has taken the decision to close Todmorden's sixth form. As a maintained community school the decision to close a sixth form rests with the local authority. 

Recent changes to the government funding of post-16 education mean many schools now receive less money for A Level students. This has lead to the sixth form no longer being viable.

 

 

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Tackling inequality at an early age

845 3-4 year-olds in Calderdale would benefit from Liberal Democrat plans to triple funding for the early years pupil premium, with gives extra cash to nurseries, preschools and school receptions when they take on children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The cash would triple the funding to £1,000 per pupil per year - up from £302 in 2015-16. 

This will increase the allocation for Calderdale from around £245,696 to £737,088, and will pay for every disadvantaged child who benefits to receive 570 hours of state-funded early education.

It forms part of a series of policies the Liberal Democrats are announcing ahead of launching their manifesto, with a focus on giving children and young people a brighter future.

These include:

  • Helping people buy their first home for the same cost as renting, with a new model of ‘Rent to Own’ homes
  • Restoring housing benefit for young people
  • Creating a discounted bus pass for 16-21 year olds, giving a 66% discount
  • Introducing votes at 16 for elections and referendums across the UK
As well as:
  • Investing almost £7bn in our schools and colleges
  • Doubling the number of businesses that take apprenticeships
  • Tripling the early years pupil premium
  • Extending free school meals to all primary school students



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