COUNCILLORS clashed last night as road spending took a hit.
Kirklees Council’s monthly meeting approved an updated seven-year investment plan covering roads, housing and children’s centres among others.
Capital spending will drop from £194m this year to £88m in 2015/16 as the council struggles with a financial squeeze from central government.
Highways spending will drop from £27.6m to £15.4m during that period.
But opposition Conservative councillors said the cuts should not have come from the roads budget.
Tory leader Clr Jim Dodds said: "Highways have been singled out for a quick hit. It’s too big a reduction and it’s done too quickly."
Clr Dodds added that the Conservatives had increased spending on roads when they ran the council from 2006 until this January.
The Denby Dale man said: "We put an extra £2m a year into improving roads when we ran the administration."
But Clr Dodds said that cuts would have to be made to cope with the squeeze on council budgets widely expected after next year’s general election.
He said: "We agree with a lot that’s in the plan, but some things we don’t agree with.
"No matter how we cut this particular cake, there’s not enough of it to go round."
Council leader Clr Mehboob Khan criticised the Conservatives for concentrating on highway spending.
The Greenhead Labour man said: "Tarmac on roads seems to be their only mantra, as if tarmac on roads solves the problems of communities."
Clr Khan said that the Capital Investment Plan concentrated on key areas.
He said: "We intend to maintain spending on priority areas – children and young people, social care, regeneration, highways and culture and leisure."
Planned investment includes £911,000 for the Dementia Resource Centre this year and £850,000 for Homestead Daycare Development next year. An extra £350,000 will be spent helping adults get outdoor exercise.
Green leader Clr Andrew Cooper criticised the Conservatives for not putting forward a plan of their own.
The Newsome man said: "There’s no Tory amendment, just a bit of disgruntlement."
He added: "Why are these cuts in highways spending happening? Because for the bankers’ mistakes and the lack of regulation of the financial sector by this Labour government and the previous Conservative one."
Thirty-six Labour, Lib Dem and Green councillors voted for the Capital Investment Plan while 21 Conservative councillors abstained.