PROPOSED Bradford Council budget cuts have been slammed by the Keighley man tipped to become the city's next Lord Mayor.

Conservative councillor Zafar Ali this week said he was “very concerned” with some of the proposals put forward by the council’s Labour rulers.

He accused the Labour Party of picking the wrong priorities and cutting frontline services rather than removing waste.

Councillor Ali, who represents Keighley Central ward on Bradford Council, has been officially put forward by Tory colleagues to become the Lord Mayor of Bradford from next May.

He spoke after Bradford's Labour group unveiled plans to cut a further £30 million from the council's budget leading to a potential 150-plus redundancies.

Cllr Ali said Labour were considering reducing the number of Child Protection teams from 14 to 10.

He said: “It seems like a very big reduction to a very important service to me. This will save £240,000 per year, which is a lot of money, but there is much waste elsewhere.

“They continue to spend more than this every year paying for the wages of full time Council union staff.

“When we look at the reductions to prevention and early help services, which deal with young people’s health, youth offending and school attendance issues, up to 240 staff may be dismissed.

“This is unbelievable and unnecessary at a time when the council still has so much waste and duplication in its budget.”

Cllr Ali said he was worried that reductions to such services, including Children’s Centres, would be targeted at areas away from Bradford city centre.

He added: “The Labour council seems to think that deprived and disadvantaged children or children with other problems only live on the edges of the city centre.

“If vulnerable children live anywhere else, including Keighley and Ilkley, I fear that they are most at risk of seeing their services removed or reduced.

“I will fight to prevent this, but the council’s recent history tells me that residents of the outer parts of Bradford District are those most likely to be targeted and ultimately hit by the needless cuts.”

Cllr Ali questioned the council’s current spending priorities, such as lighting up council offices and recently spending £150,000 on a giant city centre statue known as the Baby of the North.

He said: “They did this while removing Christmas car parking concessions. How many Christmas shoppers will this drive out of town?”

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe this week responded to Cllr Ali’s comments, saying that in spite of “swingeing” Tory government cuts, her Labour group would always live by its commitment to provide vital universal services for all residents, and targeted services for vulnerable children and adults across the district.

She said: “The Council now spends almost half of its budget solely on caring for and safeguarding vulnerable adults and children right across this district, wherever they live.

“Cllr Ali should look a bit closer to home for the cause of the cuts. It’s his own Tory government who are the authors of the cuts he bemoans, effectively halving our spending power over a 10 year period. 

“The government is cutting its revenue support grant to the council entirely by 2020 – from £183m in 2013/14 down to zero in 2020.

“Bradford district has one of the lowest council tax bases in the country so when the government withdraws all their grant it hits us particularly hard. Council Tax is having to stretch a lot further than it ever has before. 

“I would expect local politicians of all parties to be making that case to government and telling them enough is enough.  In other places local politicians from across the political spectrum are playing their part and making the case to Government.  He should join them.

“Cllr Ali should not try to pit neighbour against neighbour, community against community.  He’s conveniently forgetting that the £250m worth of cuts we’ve had to implement since 2010 is entirely as a result of the Tory Government he supports.”