Kirklees Council’s spending power will be cut by 2.5% from April.

And it’s the second biggest percentage cut among West Yorkshire councils.

Overall, Kirklees spending power will be cut by £8.8m to £341m, while spend per property is cut by £48.31 to £1,873.18 when the government settlement is combined with all other sources of income.

Calderdale is down 2.1% or £40.23 to £1,880.26 per dwelling, Wakefield 2% (£39.11), Leeds 2.3% (£44.09) and Bradford 4.1% (£93.85). The national average is a 1.8% cut.

The government has offered Kirklees an additional £1.6m – but only if it freezes council tax bills.

A decision will rest with councillors early next year, but a 2% hike has been proposed and assumed in draft budget plans.

Calderdale, should it decide to freeze council tax, will get just £847,186.

David Smith, Director of Resources, said that the headline figure of 2.5% reduction in Kirklees spending included increased support for integrating health and local social care which the council would need to work with Clinical Commissioning Groups and the NHS to access.

He added: “The average figure for reduction of spending power in England is 1.8%. The Kirklees equivalent is 2.5%, but this includes £26.56 million of the Better Care Fund - most of which is taken off CCGs to be pooled between health and social care.

Kirklees Council Director of Resources David Smith.
 

“There is a fall in direct support from government including a share of business rate income of £25.88 million compared to 2014/15 – a 15% fall.

“The government has left the referendum threshold for council tax increase at 2%, and if councillors choose to freeze council tax again this year at their budget setting meeting in February, we will be given the equivalent of a 1% increase in additional grant.”

The official settlement for councils means officers will now prepare budgets in time for councillors to approve in February ..

Council cash comes from a variety of sources, around 65% is government grants, with the remainder coming from council tax, business rates, externally generated income and other sources.

The settlement includes £1m for the local welfare provision scheme.

In the last few years Kirklees has financially supported food banks and other local welfare projects after the government passed it to councils with extra funding. However, local government minister Kris Hopkins said the welfare money identified in the 2015/16 settlement is not extra nor ringfenced, so it’s up to the authority to decide.

Kirklees Cabinet has indicated supporting people who experience tough times is a priority.

Kirklees will also receive £7,659,629 in New Homes Bonus, but once again the sum is top-sliced off the settlement and repackaged as an incentive for new houses built and is paid for each house for six years. Calderdale is in line for £3,771,541 of New Homes Bonus.

During the Commons announcement, Kirklees was praised by Mr Hopkins for its “innovation”.

The council was recently awarded £400,000 for a support project for young care leavers, while the authority’s ‘One Council’ approach to streamlining back offices was an example of good practice shared among other councils.

Mr Hopkins said: “There is extra money on the table for all councils which pledge to freeze council tax bills next year and we would urge them to take it to help their residents with the cost of living.”

Calderdale leader Stephen Baines, said: “Although we are still working through the detail of the settlement, both national and local figures appear to be roughly in line with our budget plans for next year.

“The council’s budget currently assumes no increase in Council Tax next year”.