Council tax rise and budget cuts

Enforced cuts: Labours Coun Graham Turner
Enforced cuts: Labours Coun Graham Turner

Council tax will rise by nearly five per cent in Kirklees from April.

Members of Kirklees Council approved the 4.99 per cent increase for two years in a row – effectively rubber-stamping a 10 per cent rise overall.

Three per cent of this year’s rise will be used to help fund adult social care.

But tens of millions of pounds will also be cut from other main services, including £3.9m from the district’s libraries.

The council needs to make savings as central government slashes £41m from its budget upto 2021.

Cabinet member for resources Coun Graham Turner accused the government of treating Kirklees with “contempt” over its cuts.

Ministers last year allowed councils to raise tax by three per cent to plug gaps in adult social care.

But Labour’s Coun Peter McBride said: “This barely puts a sticking plaster over the problem and forces the poorest authorities to raise a regressive tax which in our case nowhere near solves the problem.”

The Kirklees Conservatives offered no amendments to Labour’s budget plan.

But leader David Hall (Liversedge and Gomersal) said it is “a product of seven years of incompetence and inaction”.

Cleckheaton Lib Dem Coun Kath Pinnock said there was “no credibility” in his argument because the Tories had not put forward any alternatives.

At the meeting in Huddersfield last Wednesday, 37 councillors voted in favour of the budget, with 21 against. Ten abstained.