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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Kirklees councillors told they can’t spend anymore cash on local issues

Kirklees councillors have been told that they can’t spend any more of their ward budgets this year as the council looks to save more cash.

Each ward receives an annual budget of £20,000 which can be spent by councillors on local issues and priorities. However, elected members received an email today ( 14 February) explaining that they can’t make any requests to spend the funds for the rest of the financial year.

The email seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service reads: “As you know, the council continues to face a major financial challenge and, whilst there has been significant progress to reduce spend, I am emailing you today to let you know that further restrictions on spend are needed that will impact on members ward budgets.

“With immediate effect, and after consultation with the Chief Executive and Leader, no new funding request will be accepted from the Members Local Project Fund in the current financial year. This is in line with previous efforts to restrict expenditure across the council.

“I can confirm that all previously approved commitments will remain in place and be honoured – you can discuss these commitments with the Democracy Service if you wish.

“I appreciate this is difficult, however the pressures we are facing makes this unavoidable and there will be no exceptions to this decision.”

As for the coming financial year, the recently-published draft budget for 2024/25, it is proposed that annual ward budgets are slashed in half from the current £20,000 to £10,000. This would cut the council’s costs across all 23 wards from £460k to £230k.

At present, it is unclear what will happen to ward budget cash that has gone unspent.

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