How could the council cuts and investments affect you?
What’s going, what’s staying and what’s coming, is all revealed in Kirklees Council’s draft 2018-20 budget.
The council is planning for the day when government provides no direct funding for the majority of services.
The Conservatives have indicated they want councils to be self-supporting by 2020/21 – but the full detail is yet to be confirmed.
With that in mind, Kirklees’ spending plans for the next two years are revealed below.
But they could change if political negotiating sees the ruling Labour group agree to new ideas in exchange for support at the crucial budget setting vote on February 14.
Labour has only 33 of the 69 seats and needs at least one additional vote to get its proposals through.
The Liberal Democrats, Greens and Independents could all gain cash for their priorities if they back Labour’s 6% council tax hike.
Here we detail some of the ‘capital investments’ – in other words, big spends on projects over the next few years – and planned cuts.
£18m in new school places – most of it over the next two years.
Figures of £3.6m, £3.4m, £3.2m £3m and £2.8m have been pencilled in for maintaining schools over the next five years.
Regeneration town centres is a top priority with plans to spend £15m on Dewsbury and £30m on Huddersfield – most of which takes place during the three years from 2019.
Investment in the new North Kirklees Leisure Centre at Spenborough will be more than £13m, beginning next year.
A £2m spend on the Dewsbury Learning Quarter around the new Kirklees College buildings is on the books for 2019/20.
A £4.25m investment in the HD One project will take place in 2018/19.
A total of £24.5m in loans will be offered via the property investment fund over the next two years. The money is likely to go to the old Co-op building project, the extension of Kingsgate and HD One.
There’s roughly £10.5m per year for roads over the next three years, of which £3m is for the council’s street lighting replacement scheme. Approximately £2.2m a year is for “local community roads” – residential side roads that have not been upgraded for years.
A £1.2m spend in 2018/19 is for cycling and walking, which could be cycle paths, pavements or greenways.
Over £1m is promised for flood and drainage management next year, reducing to £680,000 per year from 2019/20.
The council has committed to spending £4m per year for five years on ‘Housing Growth’.
An additional £5m is for a new council house scheme at Ashbrow, set to begin this year, with £7.3m for a similar scheme at Soothill, Batley in later years.
£2m a year has been put aside for “remodelling/high rise” – which could potentially include adding sprinklers to the council’s tower blocks.
And the cuts and price rises?
Here’s what’s planned for the next two years.
Child protection and family support:
About £2.4m will be saved by placing fewer foster children in expensive out-of-area placements.
Almost £1.9m will come from slashing the number of agency social workers. The service currently has 56 which costs £78,000 a week.
A further £260,000 will be shaved off the budget as the number of staff is cut in the assessment service and care management.
Adult social care:
Very little savings are planned here as the demand grows through an increasing amount of elderly and disabled people.
Modest savings of £214,000 will be achieved through enhanced productivity and cut backs on staff transport cost claims.
Economy, regeneration and culture:
Planning application fees may rise, saving the council about £320,000.
The subsidies to Kirklees Active Leisure (KAL) will be reduced, bringing back about £400,000.
Holmfirth and Heckmondwike markets will be closed, saving about £80,000 in running costs.
Parks and open spaces:
The total £1m in subsidies for maintaining sports pitches and school grounds will be reduced, saving about £150,000.
£279,000 in savings are earmarked from reducing grass cutting and park maintenance.
Parking and traffic enforcement:
Tariffs look sure to go up, saving £225,000, while it is predicted around £750,000 will be made from new bus lane cameras.
About £5m planned savings through new ways of working.
Council buildings and vehicles:
About 50 council vehicles will be sold, helping to make about £200,000 in fuel and insurance savings.
Meanwhile, the budget for maintaining buildings will reduce by almost £1m, thanks to asset transfers and sales.
A £1.9m cut to the library service is still planned with 60 FTE jobs set to go.
New IT systems will save £2.5m.
More than £1m will be found through changes to sexual health contracts, HIV tests, and child obesity programmes.
Reducing the level of staff sickness is predicted to save more than £2m
People who miss appointments with the council could face a charge if they don’t have a reasonable excuse.
School dinner prices are likely to go up as food inflation rockets.
Creating a venue for all council meetings, cutting external room hire, will save £150,000.
Several million will be saved through changes to various adult support programmes.