Kirklees budget 2015: Liberal Democrat Party

Kirklees Liberal Democrat leader Nicola Turner.Kirklees Liberal Democrat leader Nicola Turner.
Kirklees Liberal Democrat leader Nicola Turner.
The Liberal Democrat group have suggested slashing leadership costs and cutting union spending in their budget amendments.

The Lib Dems would also reduce mileage costs for Kirklees Council employees and cease publishing of Kirklees Together magazine.

But they are also suggesting investing in Dewsbury town centre and building a replacement sports hall at the Whitcliffe Mount site in Cleckheaton.

The party supports Labour’s 1.95 per cent council tax rise.

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Party leader Coun Nicola Turner said: “We accept the need to increase council tax by the proposed amount simply because not doing so means we would have to cut services by an additional £6m. We don’t want to have to close libraries or museums and Conservative claims they could do it without doing so are ridiculous.”

She added: “Whilst recognising the very difficult choices the council has to make this year, Kirklees Liberal Democrats believe it is vitally important that the council, whilst maintaining care and services for the vulnerable, protects its key universal services, such as libraries and museums, school crossing patrols, street cleaning and other environmental services.

“Furthermore, if communities and volunteers are going to be asked to do more, the council must make sure it allocates resources to allow that to happen. This should include funding to recruit, support and develop volunteers and small grants to support the events they deliver, such as Cleckheaton Folk Festival and Crown of Lights, which benefit local economies to the sum of a quarter-of-a-million pounds per year.”

Key proposals

• Investing £7m in improvements for Huddersfield and Dewsbury town centre.

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• Investing £10m to replace Spenborough Pool and build a replacement sports hall at the Whitcliffe Mount site.

• Slashing leadership costs at the council by £72K a year by returning to the old-style committee system.

• Increasing Kirklees’ libraries budget by a further £45k to £3.967m so that no libraries are forced to close.

• Saving free town buses in Huddersfield and Dewsbury but introducing a 50p charge for those who do not qualify for free public transport.

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• Stopping Kirklees Together magazine to save £66,000 and instead maintaining grants for volunteer-run community events such as Cleckheaton Folk Festival, Crown of Lights, Marsden Jazz Festival, Imbolc and others.

• Saving school crossing patrols by retaining £340k in the budget.

• Allocating £296k of funding to support musical leisure and educational opportunities in Kirklees such as free town hall concerts and music lessons.

• Reducing by £300,000 cuts to frontline environmental services that deal with nuisance behaviour such as fly tipping and dangerous dogs.