Kirklees Council’s major investment plans for regeneration, tackling climate change and achieving outstanding children’s services over the next year are set to be voted on.
On 12 February 2020 Full Council will vote on Kirklees Council’s Budget proposals for 2020-2021.
The report sets out how the council will deliver services over the next financial year within its Budget but also details three key priority areas the council will invest in.
Kirklees Council’s Corporate Plan aims to create a district which combines a strong, sustainable economy with a great quality of life – leading to thriving communities, growing businesses, high prosperity and low inequality where people enjoy better health throughout their lives.
To support this vision, over the next year Kirklees Council plans to further invest in places, tackling climate change and achieving outstanding children’s services.
A further £68million will be invested to help deliver regeneration plans for Huddersfield and Dewsbury town centres. £10million will also be invested in the regeneration and greening of smaller towns and villages. There is also a £15million funding boost for the road network across Kirklees.
A further £500,000 will focus on local priorities such as dealing with ‘grot spots’, tidying streets and other local initiatives. Increasing to £1million in 2021-22 and £1.5million a year by 2022-23.
£1million will support local voluntary organisations and planned savings of £370,000 to library services have been reversed to make sure services remain at a high standard.
In January 2019 Kirklees Council declared a Climate Emergency and in November 2019 launched an action plan which aims to make the borough completely carbon neutral by 2038.
As part of this commitment, £2million will be invested to create better conditions for people to recycle and reduce waste.
£2.4million will be spent on electric council vehicles and infrastructure – such as charging points. Incentives will be developed to encourage residents and businesses to switch to electric vehicles.
A further £14.6million investment has been identified for a Huddersfield heat network.
£1.1million is allocated to review school transport across Kirklees to bring it in line with the Climate Emergency action plan. £600,000 to ensure town centre car parking meets demand in the context of the climate emergency.
£2million will be allocated across the district for collaborative work with ward councillors, schools and local communities on initiatives to encourage walking, cycling or alternatives to cars.
£750,000 will go towards planting more trees in a programme working with children and young people.
Children’s Services in Kirklees are on a journey of improvement and the council will continue to invest in this area, with the aim of becoming Good, and then Outstanding.
To support this work, the 2020-21 Budget would invest £170,000 per year to develop foster carer support and £823,000 into Multi Systemic Therapy for children in the council’s care system – funded partly by a £400,000 per year minimum external funding.
£484,000 a year, for the next three years, will be spent on key advanced practitioner posts, crucial in achieving an outstanding Ofsted rating and improving the service.
Key intervention and prevention work into youth services will be supported by £600,000 per year to help tackle anti-social behaviour, gang and knife crime.
An investment of £400,000 a year will go to improving domestic abuse services, including perpetrator programmes – with 70 per cent of all child protection cases have a factor of domestic abuse.
Investment in Early Learning Support and Education Support for Vulnerable Children is also to be a priority. Previously planned savings of £250,000 in this area will be reversed.
There is also planned investment of £206,000 a year for virtual schools – a statutorily provided service that promotes better educational attainment for looked after children.
In addition to this, £8million would be invested in adult social care to ensure Kirklees’ elderly population receives the care and support they deserve.
Cllr Shabir Pandor, Leader of Kirklees Council, said: “Kirklees has lost 60 per cent of its national finding since 2010 – approximately £150million.
“We are the seventh lowest funded council in the country, per head of the population. We don’t get a fair deal but we will never let this get in the way of our ambition.
“It is more important than ever that the money we do have in our Budget is invested in the right areas. That’s what this budget is all about and I’m proud to present it.
“We want to continue with large-scale investments that deliver improvements across Kirklees, transforming our town centres and communities. We will also tackle the key issues that affect our residents such as roads, grot spots, gangs and crime and youth services.
“Climate change has rightly taken centre-stage as a topic in political debate globally and in Kirklees we want to set an example to others and lead the way. This budget is further proof of how seriously we take this issue with more than £25million invested in this area alone.
“Investment will also be made in protecting our most vulnerable, to recognise the importance of creating conditions where children and young people don’t just survive but thrive.
“Our elderly population, who have worked hard their whole lives, deserve the very best care and support. That’s why we want to invest an additional £8million in adult social care.
“We are confident we can and will deliver and are excited for the next steps. We are not complacent, we know there is much to do but we are up for the challenge and there has never been a more exciting time for Kirklees.”
To read the Budget report in full visit here.