Calderdale Council consults local sector on cuts

The West Yorkshire authority needs to make savings of £220,000 for the next financial year, and will be asking how from next Wednesday


A West Yorkshire council is asking local voluntary and community groups for their views on how to cut their funding by £220,000.

Calderdale Council will launch an online consultation on its website next Wednesday to help determine how cuts should be made for the financial year starting April 2015.

The consultation will close on 9 July and feedback will be put to the council’s cabinet in August,

The need to make the savings was identified in the council’s annual budgets in February 2013 and February this year.

Labour councillor Steve Sweeney, cabinet member for communities, said: "We know how important voluntary and community organisations are to our residents. More and more people are turning to them for help. From meals on wheels and refuges for victims of domestic violence to support for people looking for work, everyone's lives are touched by voluntary sector services in some way.

"We want to continue to support the great work they do and to get a better understanding of what our local groups need. Then we can make sure that funding is directed fairly and effectively."

Soo Nevison, chief officer of Voluntary Action Calderdale, said the consultation was a good idea in principle, but she would reserve judgement until she saw the questions.

In February, Calderdale Council agreed to end discretionary business rate relief for national charities operating shops in the area from April 2015. It hoped the move, which was criticised by the Charity Tax Group, would make savings of £50,000. The relief is estimated to be worth £1.3bn nationally this year, about £65m of which was granted on charity shops.

However, last month the council was also praised as an example of best practice nationally in involving community organisations in the commissioning of public services at the launch of a report on the issue by Locality, the membership body for community organisations.

- The penultimate paragraph of the story was updated on 14 April 2014 to clarify the amount of business rate relief that is granted on charity shops.

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