The lack of snow this winter saved Kirklees Council more than £830,000.

And the council leader wants the savings to be spent on highway and pavement repairs.

Cabinet members had an update on the council’s revenue budget which has revealed the £830,000 saving in the winter maintenance budget.

Kirklees had planned ahead and bought in thousands of tonnes of grit for the region’s roads, stockpiled in highways depots in Huddersfield, Honley and other areas.

But the milder weather through the winter meant that they carried out far fewer gritting patrols than in previous years.

 

Clr David Sheard said this week: “Winter maintenance monies can be rolled over and I am recommending this year we move this budget because of the problem we have got with our highways and that we spend it there.”

The proposal was moved by his Cabinet colleagues and will be debated at Full Council later this month.

Cabinet members have also considered a number of financial reports that show the scale of budget cuts Kirklees faces.

By 2016 Kirklees will have lost in excess of 40% of its budget compared to 2010 and as the authority is “relatively dependent” on government funding, with 65% of its £848m expenditure for 2014/15 met by the government, changes are coming.

Key points highlighted in the reports include:

Introducing the Living Wage for Kirklees lowest-paid workers will cost the council £1.4m. The authority is talking to others about how best to introduce the Living Wage, which is a basic of £7.85 per hour proposed.

Current budget forecasts assume a council tax increase of 2% which would net Kirklees an extra £2.8m of council tax income each year.

The Government has offered a grant for authorities that freeze council tax, equivalent to £1.6m or a 1% rise - with Kirklees losing a potential £1.2m on the 2% increase if the council accepts the grant and freezes household council tax bills.

It will be councillors who will decide it later this year.

Kirklees housing overspent by £1.2m on repairs and maintenance, with £909,000 on responsive repairs and £1.2m on empty home repairs, however it is offset by savings leaving a £1m surplus.

The council’s revenue account - day to day spending - was within budget with an extra £12.3m savings from a £335.8m budget.

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