Council Tax may rise by 5%

Council tax in Kirklees looks set to rise by 5% – or just under £4 per month for a Band A household – from April, following a report to our Cabinet members.

The report – to be considered next week – will ask for a rise of 2% in general spend, with the additional 3% for social care proposed by government.

However councillors have been warned that this will still not balance the books and reserves will be needed.

We still face savings of a further £50 million by 2021. In previous years, reserves have been used to smooth changes, but usable reserves have now fallen from £93 million to £42 million, with a further £26 million earmarked for use already.

This year, for the first time, the proposed budget will cover four years.

Cllr David Sheard, leader of Kirklees Council shares his views:

We face a massive financial challenge

“We have made significant savings – over £120m – through efficiencies and transformation, with further savings budgeted – but even after these are applied the scale of the financial challenge is massive. Kirklees is still the 8th worst funded council nationally, and the second worst funded Metropolitan council in the country per head of population.”

There will be a further reduction in services

“We have reduced services across all sectors – some more visible than others, for example changing the way we collect waste to save money. But we continue to face our most serious ever financial challenge so many more services will be reduced, removed or taken on by other people or organisations.

Government funding has been cut

“Past decisions taken in good faith are also now costing us. We were told that if we froze our council tax, a 0% rise for our residents, we would receive the cash we would have gained from a 2% increase. That money has not been added into the base budget, it was to come through grant and now that grant has been cut. It is costing us £14 million every year. Withdrawing revenue support grant will cost us £33 million over the next four years.

 Our plan for the future

“We will continue to invest in our priorities of making sure those most vulnerable are supported and we have obvious pressures in some areas like children’s services where the right thing to do is to continue to invest.

“But we must focus on our top priorities and do fewer things ourselves, with partners, volunteers or community groups taking on other services they want to keep.”

More information about the budget meeting

Once Cabinet has made a recommendation on Tuesday 31 January, full council will meet to discuss the budget and make a final decision on Wednesday 15 February.

Cabinet meeting agenda papers are available on the council’s website

15 comments

  • Mrs Linda Andrews

    Put the council tax up. We cannot have what we do not pay for. People will complain -but facts should be put in front of them. Things like social care and children’s services are vital and we expect them to be there. However where there are savings, however minute to be made safely they should be made.

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    • Savings ??? I have just had a new Bathroom suite fitted , so took the old bath and Toilet to the tip
      at Birstall. Where i was told i could leave the bath, but not the sink as they no longer take rubble
      etc at the tip, as they have no skips to tip into, and was given a leaflet to where i could leave the pot toilet. What a load of rubbish, no wonder fly tipping is on the up. What bunch of brains thought this one up.

      J.K.

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  • I agree with a rise in council tax, we need to pay to keep services

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  • Putting council tax up will not solve the social care crisis nor will it solve funding shortfall it means less money in the pockets of ordinary residents and afflicting more pain and suffering on the disabled the fact is money alone will never solve the problem there is wastage right across the board and the manipulation of systems to prevent access to services and help adds more real terms cost of wasted hours and chasing people the council is not protecting the disabled, mentally ill, or taking in to account local healthcare needs simply providing us with information which is designed as a one way funding request is unacceptable beaurocracy is reality not democracy

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  • I struggle to see why the Council has such difficulty in spending our money wisely.

    Lower council tax by 15% by matching staff salaries to civil servant grades which will completely fund any shortfalls. Director earnings also need to be capped in line with similar government pay grades e.g. pay band G7 for directors which responsibility level is comparative, and likewise pay band G6 for CEO. A manager grade, for example, Council Scale 13 currently paid £39,267 at the maximum of scale is equivalent in duties to a Civil Servant Executive Officer grade currently paid £25,903 at the maximum of scale. A saving of £13,364 per annum on one grade 13 alone.

    Furthermore, Council services should be more citizen-focused whereby for example the very wide range of vehicles that our Council Tax buys should be available for hire at advantageous rates by citizens when not in use e.g. weekends. We pay a very high rate for very little in return, mostly enforcement rather than collaboration or citizen focus the latter which is not our choice.

    This approach of the Council providing a number of force-choice financial scenarios and scare mongering about service reductions without option to require incisive alternatives as suggested is something anyone can do.

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  • If only wages went up the same, 5% is lot when you have only one low wage coming in even when gett g a reduction for one person

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  • Before increasing council tax, cut out the wastage and worthless schemes funded by our council tax. Think smart, get smart.

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  • I support an increase of 5% in council tax with 3% going to social care which is vitally important – my bill will increase by approx. £9 per month and will be happy to pay extra.

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  • Why not keep all the money that you collect then pay for what is necessary the give the government what is surplus.

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  • MR SIDNEY CHARLES KIRBY

    We would rather pay more and maintain a good service

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    • Barryt Wainwright

      Before any increase, the council must ensure that it has cut out wastage from every department, schools, hospitals planning etc and that efficiency is the key. Its no good increasing a tax if half of it will be wasted. With low inflation I feel that 5% is on the high side

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  • In some cases of people needing social care I have heard that if there is a property the council will come for that property or part of it to cover social care costs. Is that a fair system that as house owners you would expect us to pay twice. We have MP’s our MP is challenging cuts in school funding maybe we need to use them to fight for our councils too.

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  • It’s too much compare to others councils in the UK.
    It’s big increased .services has been decreased but council tax goes up every year.No good at all.

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  • Annoyingly, apart from essential staff in building services, social services, refuse and the like, other office officials annoyingly spend much of their time just emailing each other and writing ‘strategic’ reports that within a year are redundant.

    It’s time the Council organised a team of local expert businessmen and entrepreneurs to come in and overhaul the organisation and apply their business acumen to the amount of wasted time and senseless effort that goes on; goodness knows how much you’ve already spent of our money getting staff to prepare budget forecasts, staff who more often than not have no matching skill sets.

    If the Council had proper professional advice and management from local business, the costs would fall dramatically and the sooner the better!

    A couple of simple tests to take would be:

    1. To have a ‘no computer’ day across Council offices (apart from the call centres and payroll staff of course) to reveal whose sitting there twiddling their thumbs and not getting on with speaking to the citizens and businesses they’re supposed to be supporting

    2. Restrict all meetings to half an hour with preprepared papers to those attending so decisions can be made quickly. I am sure many citizens do not realise the amount of wasted time the Council spends on meetings that last 3-hours and more!

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  • Over paid management staff all on unaffordable index linked pensions, some paid more than cabinet ministers does not help when pensioners on non index pensioners are asked to pay increasers of 5%. Especially if we should unfortunately have to go into a care home when we will have to sell are homes to pay for the costs.
    Care should be National funded unfortunately the country is up to it’s eye balls in debt due to successive governments irresponsible spending. We pay 60 billion a year in interest on the money we owe. Overseas aid is a case in point. we borrow12 billion just to give away. Were does it go?, well one example over a billion was given recently to the Chinese for care of the elderly!? The burocrate in charge gets a Knighthood for is profligacy.
    t’s the old old story give civil service money and they will certainly find places to spend it. not all for the good of the community

    Like

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