Council tax up by 10% in the next two years

Council tax up by 10% in the next two years

KIRKLEES councillors have agreed plans to hike council tax by 10 per cent over the next two years. 

At the annual budget meeting on Wednesday the council also approved plans to slash millions of pounds from frontline services.

Kirklees has been sinking into a worsening financial predicament, with Government funding cut from £107m two years ago to just £17m by 2021.

Presenting the budget, Cabinet member for resources Coun Graham Turner said: “It’s clear that local government is having the biggest funding crisis in its history.”

Council leader David Sheard said: “We have cut £129m and we’ve got to cut another £65m by 2021.”

Conservative councillors claimed the cuts were being made as a result of the ruling Labour group’s inability to manage its finances.

Tory leader Coun David Hall accused the Cabinet of resorting to panic and slashing services at the 11th hour.

He said “Given that there has been a requirement to reduce spending and make efficiencies since 2010, it is calamitous that the Labour group has allowed the council’s finances to reach a stage where over half the council’s remaining reserves have been spent in one year.

“And now, panicking at the 11th hour, they propose slashing cuts to services such as libraries in order to make the budget balance. This need not have come about if the Labour Party had approached the task over the last few years with drive and vision. They have fiddled while Rome burned.”

He said that £10m of savings the Conservatives had suggested in the past five years had been ignored.

Coun Hall added: “The Conservatives have suggested many other savings over the years and if these savings had been made when they were proposed, the financial burden now would have been millions of pounds lighter.

“Neither would Labour’s inflation-busting 10 per cent council tax rise over two years be necessary.”

The Liberal Democrat group said they did not put forward any amendments to the proposed budget as the implications of it are not clear.

Lib Dems leader Coun Nicola Turner, said: “It is difficult to amend this type of budget. We understand huge savings need to be made but we don’t know the detail of how the cuts will be implemented and exactly what that might mean for local people.”

The budget was passed by 37 votes to 21, with 10 abstentions.

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