Skint? No, Labour has £1.6m cash left over!

Skint? No, Labour has £1.6m cash left over!

TORY leader David Hall says Kirklees Council has “nothing to be proud of” after a budget report revealed it had more than £1.6 million excess cash.

The council has underspent in the past year, as well as making planned savings of £54million.

Council leader Shabir Pandor (Lab, Batley West) insists the extra cash will still be used to help improve the district.

But Coun David Hall (Con, Liversedge and Gomersal) wasn’t as positive.

He said: “This rollover report needs to be seen against the backdrop of the council’s full finances.

“Firstly the Labour administration has added over £8million to reserves this year, and yet even more service cutbacks are planned. That is madness.

“Secondly they have spent only about half of the capital budget: money earmarked for new school places, highways repairs and buildings maintenance.

“Our communities are crying out for this investment, particularly with the advent of Labour’s disastrous Local Plan which will result in crowded schools and crumbling roads.

“What Kirklees needs is a credible budget based on ambition and what can actually be achieved. It is nothing to be proud of when you don’t spend your budget and yet services are getting worse.”

Coun Pandor said the unexpected windfall was down to service changes, transformation activity, use of external budgets – including the Better Care Fund – and agreed use of balances.

The £1.6million will go towards “additional place-based public area improvements” – sprucing up the district’s streets and possibly some environmental work.

“In effect, we have more than achieved our savings target for that year, but it is important that these are not just seen as cuts,” said Coun Pandor.

“The transformation activity we are developing and investing in means that we will actually deliver better and more appropriate services in future.

“This activity means we will be in a better shape as a council to deliver the services and partnerships our communities deserve.”

The issue will be considered at a full council meeting later this month.

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