IT’S going to be an emotional evening at Huddersfield Town Hall tonight.
Another year, another round of huge spending cuts on the agenda for Kirklees Council.
Twelve months ago it was adult social care which was on the chopping block.
This time round it’s libraries, children’s centres and monthly glass collections which are being eyed up for the axe.
Kirklees officers have proposed £15.7m of cuts in 2012/13 with each political party suggesting a few pluses and minuses around the edges.
As with last year’s budget meeting, the town hall will tonight host the slightly bizarre combination of socialist placard-wavers and Mrs Sunderland contestants.
We can only hope that the one group which doesn’t return tonight will be the private security guards who did such sterling work rubbing salt in the wounds last year.
With or without our bouncer friends, it seems certain there will be angry voices outside the council chamber this evening while the decisions are made about next year’s spending.
One of the most emotive of this year’s proposed cuts is to children’s centres.
Labour wants to reduce services on offer at 15 Sure Starts in richer areas – including my local in Slawit – in order to save £1.4m and protect the 17 centres in poorer parts of the district.
For obvious reasons, new father Barry Gibson is not a massive fan of this proposal.
But, in my horribly even-handed way, I can admit that the proposal could have been a lot worse. Kirklees, unlike some other councils, does not plan to close any of its children’s centres. Half a loaf isn’t great, but it beats no bread any day of the week.
My MP takes a different attitude to the looming Sure Start cuts. Jason McCartney appears to think that all 32 centres should carry on as they are while Kirklees finds the £1.4m of savings from somewhere else.