The planned new leisure centre and swimming pool in Halifax has been put on hold by Calderdale Council amid the ongoing economic fallout of the Conservative government’s disastrous mini budget.

Labour group councillors in Calderdale have condemned the financial chaos and resulting spiralling inflation, which has led to escalating construction costs. Projected costs for the project have risen by £4m just in the last few weeks, and the likely operational running costs deficit has also increased due to the cost-of-living crisis and rising energy costs. The project as originally planned is now unsustainable, leading to the decision to put the scheme on hold. A full review of costs and options is now planned.

“This is an incredibly difficult decision, but we have a responsibility to face the challenging budgetary situation which has been made worse by the rapidly spiralling economic crisis,” said Acting Leader of the Council, Councillor Jane Scullion.

“Everybody knows how inflation is affecting our lives at the moment, whether it is filling up the car or paying the mortgage. We cannot just write a blank cheque; we must make difficult decisions to balance the budget. This is council taxpayers’ money and we cannot in good faith borrow large amounts only for future generations to still be paying it off in 30 years’ time.”

Putting the leisure centre plans on hold is just one example of the financial struggles that local authorities across the country are currently facing as a result of government financial chaos.

“The real impact of the Conservative government destabilising local authority finances up and down the country is many councils are urgently reviewing their current capital expenditure. Salford have cancelled their new leisure centre and other councils are reviewing similar projects”, she said.

“We are already in a position where we are looking at the possibility of over £10m worth of cuts next year, just to stand still and legally balance the books. And we don’t even yet know the full extent of the likely core funding offer from central government. Added to interest rates rising, inflationary pressures and uncertainty around continued adequate energy support for gas and electric we know that this is unsustainable.”

“We are furious that we have been forced to delay the current project and we are angry on behalf of the people of Calderdale; they deserve better from central government.”

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