Following a six-hour long budget Council meeting that was stuck in deadlock, the Liberal Democrat group was successful in forcing concessions from the ruling Labour group, including a trial of extra mental health provision for children and young people.
All three political parties on Calderdale had produced their own Council budgets this year and all three agreed that Council Tax would have to rise by 2.99% to offset the Government’s reduction in funding for Council services.
The Liberal Democrat budget contained proposals to:
- Improve street cleaning;
- Strengthen the action taken against fly-tipping and dangerous driving;
- Increase the number of grit bins by 20%;
- Remove the unpopular ‘Tip Tax’;
- Provide funding for a two-year pilot project to address mental health issues in local schools;
- Provide funding for the Council to implement carbon reduction schemes to address the ‘climate emergency’ that has arisen from climate change.”
It also proposed £1m fewer planned cuts than either the Labour or Conservative budgets.
This would have been achieved over the planned three-year budget with an additional 1% increase in Council Tax in 2020-21 and new methods of bringing funding into the Council such as crowd-funding and asking residents if they would make additional Council Tax contributions for projects.
Following votes on all three budgets, the Council was stuck in a deadlock with no budget passing. The Liberal Democrats suggested a cross-party solution that included something from everyone’s proposals. However, the Labour group were unwilling to go ahead with a Conservative party suggestion that some of our looked after children could be placed in boarding schools.
Cllr James Baker leader of the Liberal Democrat group said “The Labour group had initially amended their budget to include some of our proposals. We had already secured additional grit bins, funding for a project to tackle climate change and funding for war memorials. However, we wanted to hold out for a pilot of additional mental health services for young people. I’m delighted that, in the end, we prevailed and funding has been provided for this scheme to go ahead”.