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Keighley's rural areas fear new budget cuts
Parish councillors have delivered a resounding ‘hands-off’ warning amid concerns budgets will face further cutbacks.
The message was delivered by Oxenhope representatives against the backdrop of Bradford Council’s budget review for 2014-16.
The council is asking the public to say where they think £38 million of cuts should be made to its budget next year, and £50 million the year after, as part of the large-scale consultation.
Reacting during last Wednesday’s parish council meeting to Bradford Council’s ‘Have your say on council spending’ document, Coun Derrick Hopkinson said: “I’ve gone through it but there’s not a lot of detail in it – it’s really a strategic policy document, so it’s hard to provide a detailed response.
“But we would like to make a statement that we wouldn’t want to see more cuts in rural areas – we’ve suffered from these in the past.”
Acting parish council chairman, Coun Tony Maw, warned if further ‘backroom’ services are axed, it may mean front-line staff have to pick up this work.
But Worth Valley ward district councillor Glen Miller, who leads the Conservative group on the council, says he believes there is still scope for the local authority to save money during the next three years.
He added: “The council has to provide certain services, but do we need to provide a service at a gold medal standard? Can we provide it at silver standard, yet still be offering that statutory service?
“We don’t need to provide public toilets and we don’t need to provide libraries everywhere.
“I’ve been asking some very awkward questions of the senior management, which they don’t like, but times are what they are and we have to do some very difficult things.”
But he pointed out any financial measures proposed by his Conservative group were unlikely to be passed, because the Tory councillors would be out-voted by the 44 Labour members.
Coun Miller stressed residents continue to value seeing their bins emptied, potholes repaired and parks and other amenities well maintained.
He added it was difficult to work out how each council department is being affected by the cutbacks, because they keep being restructured.