One thousand say no to Birstall cuts

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More than 1,000 people have given their name to a petition against planned Kirklees Council cuts in Birstall.

Conservative councillors Andrew Palfreeman, Liz Smaje and Robert Light drafted the petition to keep open Birstall Library, the open market, Birstall Children’s Centre and Oakwell Hall.

Traders in the village have since taken up the task and displayed it in their shops and businesses – where they racked up 1,102 signatures.

Coun Palfreeman said: “The members of the Chamber of Trade have played a crucial role in uniting the local community who have illustrated that there is no support in Birstall for Labour’s indiscriminate cuts.

“It shows the level of concern in Birstall for what the council are doing.

“If they have got any sense, they will realise the strength of feeling and that sometimes shutting things is not necessarily the answer.”

Coun Palfreeman added that the proposed cuts could have a knock-on effect. If shops closed or did not continue to open, business rates would be lost, he said.

He noted the number of signatures is almost 70 per cent of the 1,600 residents who took part in the council’s first wave of budget consultations.

The petition was handed back to the councillors in Birstall’s Market Place on Wednesday. Coun Light will present it to Cabinet prior to the full council meeting on December 10.

By April 2018, Kirklees Council need to reduce the budget by £152m from where it was in 2011. The budget therefore needs to be cut by a further £69m, they have said.