'Painful' cuts on way across Dewsbury, Batley and Spen as Kirklees Council forced to save an eye-watering £47.8m

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Residents across Dewsbury, Batley and Spenborough have been warned “painful” cuts will be needed as Kirklees Council tries to save a whopping £47.8m so it can avoid bankruptcy.

Newly-appointed leader of the council, Councillor Cathy Scott, highlighted the measures already in place to try and save money at a full council meetings this week.

But she said that the council will need to go even further.

The areas that will be impacted are yet to be announced.

Leader of Kirklees Council, Cathy ScottLeader of Kirklees Council, Cathy Scott
Leader of Kirklees Council, Cathy Scott

Coun Scott told the meeting that Kirklees residents and council staff should not be paying the price for the “Government’s economic incompetence” and “more than a decade of failure to tackle the country’s most pressing issues”.

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She continued: “Those failures mean some of the savings we need to make will be painful, and that’s being honest, but the consequences for vital services would be far worse if we don’t balance this budget.”

The discussion was opened up to all councillors, with much of this revolving around who was responsible for the council’s financial woes.

Lib Dem group leader, CounJohn Lawson, said that while charges, cuts and closures would “never be popular,” he felt more details of the council’s plans should be made public.

He said: “Cabinet have said they have high confidence that the plans they have to make further savings will produce a balanced budget at the year end and we have no real choice but to take them at their word.

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"But I think it’s probably overdue that the details of some of these plans came into public view. I’d hope that they’ve had ample time to be properly cooked by now.”

Deputy leader of the Conservative group, Coun John Taylor, echoed some of Coun Lawson’s sentiments and said that councillors were “in the dark” when it came to the measures the administration was proposing.

The council’s cash-saving plans include making 250 members of its workforce redundant between October and May, which led to Unison lobbying outside the meeting at Huddersfield Town Hall.

Other money-saving measures already in place include freezing non-essential spending and recruitment, speeding up the sale of assets the council was already looking to dispose of and upping discretionary fees and charges.