In March 2020 the Conservative government promised to do ‘whatever it takes’ to help councils like Calderdale to weather the terrible effects of the Covid19 virus. We took them at their word and went all out to protect care homes, support the vulnerable and keep our children safe. We also developed an excellent local test and tracing service which has helped to contain the spread of the virus.
But the Tories have failed to honour their promises to us and other councils. Far from doing ‘whatever it takes’ they have really let us down. They gave billions of pounds to private companies for flawed contracts that didn’t work but they turned their backs on us, local councils and local people.
Here in Calderdale those broken government promises mean that the Council is facing a budget shortfall of up to £20million over the next two years. Budgets have been slashed by a total of £114 million over the 10 years of austerity and as the smallest council in West Yorkshire we have few reserves to call upon. Income has declined as leisure and other facilities have closed or reduced hours to keep people safe.
The vast majority of Calderdale’s budget, a whopping 70%, goes on looking after vulnerable children, people with disabilities and the elderly. That leaves only 30% of the cash to cover libraries, parks, roads and services that meet the everyday needs of local people.
We say to government “come on, sort this out, keep your word, honour your pledge to councils like Calderdale and fund us properly to a level that the people of Calderdale deserve”.