LIBRARIES, art galleries and sports centres in Huddersfield may shut because of spending cuts.

That was the grim warning last night from Kirklees Council chiefs.

Councils face 10% cuts and any pay rise for public sector workers will be limited to 1%, the Government’s Spending Review has revealed.

And the loss – up to £33m – to Kirklees Council means this autumn they will bring forward plans to close some frontline services with libraries, galleries and sports centres at risk.

Chancellor George Osborne’s Spending Review for 2015-16 also includes a council tax freeze for two more years with the Government offering a grant to fund it. Kirklees and Calderdale councils did not sign up to the scheme, instead hiking council tax bills in April.

But he said that with other grants added, the local government cut could be only 2%.

A Kirklees spokeswoman explained they were waiting for finer details, but said: “Taking the headline figure of 10% reduction in local government funding from central government, our early estimates are that this could mean a reduction of £18m – however if it applies to all the funding received from central government it could be as much as £33m in 2015/16.”

Clr Mehboob Khan, Labour and council leader: “It’s 10% cut because any other funding comes with extra responsibilities.

“In Kirklees, until now, we’ve worked efficiently not to close a single library, children’s centre, sports centre or gallery.

“However with this announcement it shows that the Government are not interested in protecting frontline services which give many people a good quality of life.

“At risk now are all of the services we’ve managed to keep open over the last three years, while at the same time absorbing £84m of budget cuts.

“Unfortunately this autumn people can expect the council to come forward with a range of frontline cuts in order to balance the council’s budget.”

Asked about Labour leader Ed Miliband’s comments at the weekend that he would not reverse the cuts, Clr Khan said the Labour front-bench had pledged to work with the Local Government Association on freedom and reform for councils, the NHS and schools.

Clr Robert Light, leader of the Conservatives, said they all had a job to do to make sure the council gets it right.

“Kirklees has, in the past, had more money than many other local councils,” Clr Light said.

“We’ve got to make sure that whatever reductions we make are fair and do not disadvantage any communities in a disproportionate way.

“I think we’ve also got to look at accepting the council tax freeze offer, they [Labour] said it wouldn’t run and quite clearly they were wrong. I remember saying that something would come along and here it has.

“We can’t keep asking the public for more money, they expect local government to make sure that we survive without tax increases.”

Clr Kath Pinnock, Liberal Democrat leader, said: “This is going to make it very much harder for the council to continue to provide the same level of service that it does now.

“The council is funded by council tax, business rates and government funding and the latter has been steadily declining.

“By freezing council tax it is a cut in cash and a reduction in what you can spend.

“When does the straw break the camel’s back?”

Clr Pinnock said she would oppose any move to close libraries, and when the Examiner told her Clr Khan had suggested that would happen she said: “Libraries are at risk if Clr Khan allows them to be at risk.

“What Kirklees has lacked is a sense of direction and purpose from the Cabinet and leadership.”

Clr Andrew Cooper, leader of the Green Party and Valley Independents, said: “It’s more bad news for councils.

“The problem with the scale of the cuts for the council is that year after year another unplanned 10% is added.

“Local government cannot re-plan and re-structure itself time and time again, and it’s hugely demoralising.

“The people affected are the ones who rely most on council services, already the council has shed 1,000 staff. I think at some point the vast majority of people in Kirklees will feel it far greater.”

He said proposals for investment in HS2, shale gas and nuclear projects were worrying: “They’re investing in projects that will take years. What about putting £50m into solar panels and making homes energy efficient, something that will save households hundreds of pounds every year right now?

“They’ve just made big announcements which look good in headlines for a couple of days but the reality is the majority of people continue to get a poor service and they have less money in their pocket.

“The biggest travesty is that Labour are going along with it – what sort of opposition is that?”

Calderdale Council leader, Clr Tim Swift, said: “My reading of it is there is a 10% cut and there are two other things – a single growth fund which Local Enterprise Partnerships can bid for and there is no guarantee any of that will come to any individual council.

“The second is the NHS money and what that means for joint services in health and social care.

“I support that and think it is the right thing to do, but I want to understand how it works in practice.

“Overall I am disappointed – councils in the north will be hit much harder.

“I don’t want to predict the impact until we have the details of the health and social care budget – that’s becoming the biggest part of our discretionary spending and that means there’s less to spend elsewhere.”

SAVINGS of £9m have been made at Kirklees Council.

The savings were made in the revenue budget used to fund council services over the 2012/13 financial year.

There were savings of £4.6m in the capital budget and a surplus of £3.7m in the housing service – which is now self-financing.

Council leader Clr Mehboob Khan said: “We’ve made some significant savings so far by driving down costs and increasing efficiencies across the board and we continue to make good progress.

“However, it still can’t be ignored that over the five-year period to 2016 we need to make total savings of £96m.

“With reduced funding from central government continuing to squeeze budgets even more, we still have some very tough decisions to make in future budget rounds.”

In revenue the 2.6% savings came out of a budget of £347m.

Capital budgets saw an underspend of £52m against the predicted budget of £140m.

The underspend is due primarily to management action to refocus spending on the council’s priorities, coupled with a slow down in spending.

Housing services are now self-financing through rental from tenants and service charges rather than government subsidy.

David Smith, Director of Resources, said: “Councillors will look at the underspend and agree how to balance the twin aims of delivering council services and investment programmes with reduced funding against the savings that need to be made.”

Overall Kirklees Council’s gross revenue budget for 2013/14 is £871m – council tax accounts for 15.5% of that (£135m) and government grants 65.5% (£570m).

Kirklees Cabinet will consider the reports at Tuesday’s meeting at 4pm at Huddersfield Town Hall. It will be debated at the July 10 Full Council meeting.


Kirklees Council is still owed half of the £1m it invested in the Icelandic bank Landsbanki, which crashed in 2008. It might not get the final payment until 2018. The council is considering the benefit and risk of selling the outstanding liability onto a third party.

£1.5m “uncommitted” rollover in capital includes £420k Waterfront under-spend, £270k Fieldhead loan and £151k Castle Hill. £250,000 of the sum will be re-invested into Bereavement Services to “alleviate funding pressures with the installation of new cremators and mercury abatement equipment at Huddersfield and Dewsbury Crematoria”.

Seasonal weather overspend of £900k. Schools Facilities Management overspent by £383k; £146k of that is attributable to lost trading days where schools were closed due to snow.

Parking had a £376k underspend due to higher than projected parking fee income.

Huddersfield Sport Centre -£1,088. The capital variance reflects delays on the new Sport Centre project.

Click below to see how the new sports centre is taking shape.

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Corporate Policy Initiatives: Kirklees College Loan -£2,622k the cash flow requirements of the college dictate how the loan is drawn down and less was required in 2012/13 than anticipated.

In 2012/13 the council invested balances of around £30.2m, largely for maintaining day-to-day cash flow. Remaining balances were used to off-set borrowing. Investments were mainly with banks, building societies and money market funds, but £2m was invested with Leeds City Council for one month.

Underspending on capital programmes resulted in reduced borrowing by £8.2m and increasing investments by £11m.


£11.5bn cuts announced by Chancellor George Osborne yesterday across Government departments.

Public sector pay rise set at 1% – tens of thousands of public sector workers also lose their automatic annual pay rises.

10% resource cut in the Local Government and Communities departments.

£3bn capital investment in affordable housing.

Council tax freeze grants extended for two years, if councils sign up it will save an average £100 on household bills.

Foreign Office budget cut by 8%, Home Office budget cut by 6%, Justice department cut by 10%.

Capital investment on £9.5bn in transport, but 9% overall cut.

Energy and Climate and DEFRA cut by 10%, Culture, Media and Sport cut by 7%, although funding for elite sports will be protected. Business department cut by 6%

The intelligence services – MI5, MI6 and GCHQ – get a 3.4% increase in their annual budget.

180 new Free Schools.

NHS budget £110bn, up from £96bn in 2010. Capital spending of £4.7bn announced.

Three welfare reforms: Temperature test for winter fuel allowance means UK residents living in hot countries will not get allowance.

Job-seekers to report to JobCentre weekly, those who cannot speak English will have to learn it to satisfactory level or lose benefits.

Upper cap on overall welfare bill. If Government breaks it, the public will be told.

£4bn savings as a result of welfare cuts.

THE final public meeting about major council changes takes place tonight.

Kirklees Council’s It’s Time to Talk consultation has seen council officers and the community talk about the council’s future.

Council leader Clr Mehboob Khan said: “This is not about doing things on the cheap. We need to use the expertise of community groups who already make a difference and the ideas of other residents who could do the same – local people helping to improve their own area.”

The meeting is at Huddersfield Town Hall from 7pm-9pm.