RESIDENTS have been warned to expect cuts in frontline council services.
Kirklees Council’s new leader claims the ousted Conservatives have left a "very serious" problem for the incoming Labour-Lib Dem coalition.
Clr Mehboob Khan said: "We have been working on the budget since we took power on January 21. There are some very serious financial issues that the council have to deal with.
"Significant savings have to be made and potentially some cuts in services as a result of decisions taken by the previous administration."
Clr Khan said the Conservative Cabinet had benefited from generous support from central Government.
The Labour man said: "There was a record settlement from the Government last year which boosted the council’s budget by £24m from 2008-2011. Despite this council officers have described the budget situation as the worst they can remember."
The council will decide the budget and council tax increase for 2009/10 at a special meeting on February 25.
Clr Khan said yesterday that the Labour-Lib Dem Cabinet would reveal its spending plans next week.
He added: "We’re saddened that the Conservatives are refusing to work with us to try to reach consensus on this."
But former council leader Clr Robert Light denied his party had mismanaged the finances.
The Conservative said: "In the three years that we ran the council we produced efficiency savings but it’s quite clear that Labour and the Lib Dems are not prepared to make decisions.
They will leave a legacy of inefficiency for future council taxpayers."
Clr Light added that the Conservatives had not been planning service cuts.
He said: "We didn’t cut services, we improved efficiency, meaning there is a £3m underspend for the budget in 2008/09. We were planning further efficiencies to fund our budget plans."
Clr Light’s Conservative colleague Clr David Hall denied Labour and Lib Dem claims that the Tories had left a £44m black hole in council finances.
He said: "The £44m they are talking about is made up of efficiency savings over the next three years. Such savings, for a council which has a gross turnover of more than £1bn ought to be relatively easy for an administration that is prepared to make decisions."