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Your turn to set budgets

CUTTING BACK: Entertainers performing in Dewsburys Crow Nest Park last summer during A World Together  an event which has been axed as part of budget cuts.

CUTTING BACK: Entertainers performing in Dewsburys Crow Nest Park last summer during A World Together  an event which has been axed as part of budget cuts.

TOUGH decisions lay ahead for Kirklees councillors as they prepare to set the budget for the coming financial year.

The authority must save £30m in 2013/14, but expects to use £8m from its reserves to reduce the impact on services.

The remaining £22m is likely to come from different council teams working more closely together, service reductions and increased charges.

But Kirklees is asking people for their views on its plans before councillors meet on February 20 to make a final decision.

Chief executive Adrian Lythgo said: “Local government continues to face its most challenging financial circumstances in living memory, with difficult choices facing councillors and managers when it comes to providing services with reducing budgets.

“This year we need to save £30m – and our proposals outline £22m in savings. We plan to use £8 million from the council reserves to help minimise the immediate impact on services.

“We invite members of the public to have their say on our proposals to meet this challenge, and aim to balance the differing views of people and groups across the district.”

Some of the changes being put forward were suggested during budget talks last year.

They include spending £59,000 less on events by reducing their size and marketing, or scrapping some events altogether.

There will be no A World Together in Dewsbury, and funding for Yorkshire Day at Oakwell Hall will end.

New proposals include asking hundreds of adults using day care services to pay more towards transport and meals.

Transport contributions could rise from £1.50 to £1.75, while the cost of meals could go up from £1 to £1.20.

The council’s community alarm service, used by around 2,000 people, could also bring in extra charges for monitoring items like bed and chair sensors or fall detectors. The suggested charge is 20p per week for three items and an additional 20p for four or more items.

Meanwhile, an increase in the price of school meals is expected to raise an extra £195,000 for the council.

The 5p increase in September – the first in three years – would take the cost of meals to £1.90 in primary schools and £2.05 in secondary schools, but the current free school meals programme would continue.

Comments can be made on the draft budget until January 20. Visit www.kirklees.gov.uk/budget2013 to view the proposals in full.

 

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