Kirklees Council cuts: Leader warns more than 1,000 job will go


Kirklees Council has unveiled a three-year plan that could mean services are gutted while council tax increases and more than 1,000 jobs are lost.

If the proposal gets the green light it would mean no more open markets in Batley and Birstall, no more free bus service in Dewsbury and no money for arts organisation events.

The budget for parks and open spaces would be slashed by a third and only two musuems would stay open.

And just two libraries, in Huddersfield and Dewsbury, would still be open in three years’ time, unless volunteers or community groups step in.

The council has to cut £70m over the next three years, which would bring its total savings to £152m by the end of the financial year 2017-2018.

Kirklees Council leader David Sheard said the council was putting its long-term options on the table to give residents and organisations a chance to think about how they could contribute to running services.

He said: “I would love to walk away from it. I would much prefer to be on my bike, motorcycling across Europe than sitting here trying to make this council work, but to do nothing is not an option.

“None of us wanted to be here but the choice by central goverment was to make these cuts to local authorities.

“Because some bankers down in London decided to gamble on some dubious loans and collapse the banking system the govermnment have decided local authorities will have to pay for it.”

He said the government’s decision to cut council funding might have been an ideological choice to reduce the size of local government.

“The time to be involved as a politician if you honestly want to protect people is when cuts are being made, not when there’s lots of money around. When there’s lots of money around the job is easy. If you want to protect people who can’t protect themselves you have got to be a player. It’s cowardice to walk away. People who walk away when there’s no money shouldn’t be players.”