5 things to know about budget council
This Wednesday (15 Feb 2017) is our annual budget council meeting, where politicians from all parties get together to decide where the money will be spent over the next 12 months.
But how are the decisions made? What goes on at the meeting? And why is my council tax going up?
The decisions made at this meeting have an impact on everyone in Kirklees, but we know that the process in making them and the results might seem a bit confusing. So we’ve pulled together 5 things to know about the meeting and some of the things that will happen as a result.
1. It’s all public
It’s a full council meeting which means all 69 councillors, including the ones that represent your local area, are invited. It starts at 6pm in Huddersfield Town Hall and the public can come along too. We also live stream the meetings and tweet live too.
2. It’ll take a while for everyone to agree
Cabinet members have already created the proposed budget and this is what everyone will be talking about at the meeting. The budget covers things like how much we will be spending on social care, as well as services like waste or looking after our parks – and all political parties will have the chance to say what they think and recommend changes.Because different parties have different views about where money should be spent there is often quite a bit of debate and some negotiating on what to keep in the plan and what to take out. If you’re watching on the webcast and see everyone leave the room that’s when each party will go for a group discussion before they take a final vote.
3. Your council tax is decided at this meeting
We all know that council tax is set to rise in Kirklees this year, and the recommendation is that it goes up by 5%. This will cost the average household* less than £4 extra a month and will help to pay for increased costs of social care and cope with reduced grant from government.Unfortunately increasing the cost of council tax doesn’t mean that residents will get more for their money; we have to do it as our grant from government reduces.
4. Government funding is decreasing
We’re losing £41m of funding over the next 4 years
The Government has told us that how we are funded has to change. This year council tax makes up £149 million (48%) of our funding – the rest comes from business rates (24%) and government grants (23%).By 2020/21 our government funding will have dropped dramatically and overall we’ll have £41m less to spend.
5. A 5% council tax rise will generate approximately £7.5 million
In Kirklees, a 1% rise in council tax is roughly worth £1.3 million – a 5% increase will add roughly £7.5 million to the budget. So whilst the increase goes some way to helping the financial situation, it’s unfortunately not the answer on its own.
Keep up to date with the budget meeting:
Follow the live stream of the budget or our highlights on twitter, or watch the webcast back afterwards. We’ll also publish an article in the days that follow to this website which summarises the main decisions.
*Based on Band A, which is what majority of houses in Kirklees are in.