Kirklees Council opposition groups have differing ideas about how to spend our cash over the next four years.
The full council will tonight meet to discuss how to spend Kirklees’ vastly reduced budget until 2020.
As reported the ruling Labour group has recommended more than £44m in cuts from the core council budgets. Leader Clr David Sheard has said up to 1,000 jobs could go and council tax is likely to rise by about £1 a week.
Prior to tonight’s meeting rival political groups have revealed how they would do things differently.
The amendments will be debated and some could be accepted by the Labour group, who do not have an overall majority on the council and will rely on support from others to vote through their proposals.
The Conservatives said they could save more than £25m from the Labour budget, mostly through scrapping the £15m Huddersfield and Dewsbury town centre action plans.
A further £10m would be saved through a range of cuts to council back-office functions, the biggest £3.5m from the IT service.
The Tories said they would spend £5m of their savings fixing Kirklees’ pothole-ridden roads and would devolve another £10m to councillors on District Committees for a whole range of local projects such as park maintenance, markets, community centres, and improving town centres.
The Conservative group also hoped to boost the libraries budget by £400,000, provide £350,000 for improving rural broadband and said they would use £2m of reserves in the revenue budget.
Clr David Hall, Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group on the council said: “We believe there are still enormous efficiencies to be made by the Council.
However, the task has become ever harder, as the ruling Labour group should have started some of this work several years ago when it was apparent that money was going to become scarcer.
“We are committed to devolving the control of spending on local issues – such as parks, markets, street cleaning, gritting, libraries and museums – to local committees.
“This will mean real devolution of decision making nearer to the communities which are affected. It will also drive efficiencies in delivering those services, and help our local economies, by employing smaller, local firms and tradesmen.
“As our roads become congested and riddled with pot holes, we also see the dire need for increasing our investment in roads and transport infrastructure: one thing that affects all residents on a daily basis.”
The Liberal Democrats said they could slash £10.8m from the council’s capital plan, again mostly through diverting cash from Huddersfield and Dewsbury town centres.
The Liberals also said charging 50p fare for the Free Town Bus in Huddersfield would save it from the chop and proposed funding to save a number of services the Labour group have said must be slashed, including; school crossing patrols, street cleaning, Kirklees music school and library staffing.
Clr Nicola Turner, Kirklees Liberal Democrat Leader, said: “Kirklees Liberal Democrats Members recognise that the Council will yet again be forced to make enormously difficult decisions about its budget and its services.
"However, we strongly advocate that some of the council’s key services are protected, such as its libraries, museums, street cleaning and school crossing patrols.
"In essence, our Budget Amendment proposal reflects our values as a party. We recognise the need to make cuts, but we are committed to protecting vulnerable people and we need to ensure that there is fairness and that the cuts do not significantly impact on certain groups in society more than others.”
Meanwhile, the Green Party and Valley Independent Group (GPVI) submitted about £2m of tinkering with Labour’s plans.
The GPVI said more than £1m could be saved by reducing back-office, political and trade union staffing costs and the associated energy and maintenance costs.
A further million would be found through slashing the number of elections and councillors. The group also recommends using reserves as working capital but only about £720,000 compared to the Tory's £2m.
The group said it would spend £1.7m of its savings on devolving cash to communities with the rest spent on levereging external funding supporting Green issues such as flooding, climate change and the reduction of fuel poverty.