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Byline: JOANNE DOUGLAS Local Govt Reporter

EMERGENCY funding to help flood-hit residents and businesses drained some of Calderdale Council's cash.

But the authority has said it was necessary to help those affected by last year's heavy flooding.

And they are learning from the heaviest rainfall in recent history and putting money aside for any further problems.

Calderdale's Cabinet will consider the final accounts for last year at Monday night's meeting.

Clr Tim Swift, council leader, said: "In this time of austerity it is critical that we maintain a firm financial footing.

"The council has been resilient, making necessary savings whilst delivering essential services for local people.

"By managing our resources carefully we are ensuring that we can continue to invest in our infrastructure to encourage the economic growth which is so vital for the future of Calderdale.

"We were also able to find additional resources during the year to respond to the huge challenge posed by the worst flooding to hit Calderdale in the last thirty years."

Cabinet members will be recommended to take action to make sure the authority is prepared for any further severe weather during 2013/14.

They will also be asked to transfer PS500,000 from balances to a fund against the unexpected costs which arise from severe weather, and to approve spending another PS500,000 to help fund flood prevention work.

The council's balances remain above the minimum level of PS5 million recommended by its external auditors.

Spends for this year include PS1m to cushion the blow of welfare reforms.

Every authority now has to run its own council tax support scheme, but the government has cut funding by 10%.

It leaves authorities with a shortfall and Calderdale chose to delay passing that on to residents for a year. But it means in future years Calderdale households in receipt of council tax support will face a higher bill.

The authority is also contributing PS160,000 to the Tour de France.

There was a budget shortfall in the Corporate Asset and Facilities Management of PS770,000.

The Chief Executive's Office underspent by PS38,106. There was an overspend of PS151,757 within Democratic and Partnership Services - PS90,000 of it related to elections.

The Children and Young People's Services underspent by PS20,000 but there is a PS461,000 shortfall in the Economy and Environment department, largely relied upon during the flooding.

Underspends of PS674,000 in adult services and other savings mean the overspends will not hit reserves.

The Cabinet report says there were "significant budget pressures" which will continue in relation to highways and parking.

The Cabinet meeting will take place at 6pm at the Town Hall, Halifax.


BALANCE: Clr Tim Swift
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Jun 1, 2013
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