This month, Bradford Council announced their budget proposals for Keighley and Ilkley.
I've taken a close look at these proposals, and you should too.
Shutting down two local tips, introducing new street parking charges for residents and businesses, selling off our town’s buildings and raising your Council taxes by 4.99%.
That’s Bradford Council’s plan for Keighley and Ilkley.
Council Leader Susan Hinchcliffe has justified these measures by correctly pointing out that her Council faces a £73 million overspend this year.
But what the Council leader is not telling you is that this is a direct result of years of poor leadership and mismanagement from the Council’s leadership itself.
The overwhelming cause of the Council’s £73 million overspend is children’s social care.
This is a service area which was so devastatingly mismanaged by leaders at Bradford Council that they were stripped of the service in January 2022 following the murder of Star Hobson.
Children were left “at risk of harm”.
And in their damning report, Ofsted placed responsibility for the dire services our children were receiving squarely at the feet of "corporate and senior leaders” themselves.
In fact, just a year before the Children’s services scandal, Bradford Council said in their statement of accounts that they were in “robust financial health”.
Following the scandal, they used up over £110 million of financial reserves in a single year.
But what about funding from the Government?
What you also won’t hear from Council Leaders is that Government has in fact increased Bradford’s funding to £556.5 million this year.
Here in Keighley and Ilkley, the government has also confirmed the biggest investment in our area in a generation through our new Airedale hospital,
an extra £20 million on top of the government’s £33.6 million town’s fund investment,
and £19.8m for projects across our area – just to name a few examples.
Bradford Council, on the other hand, have taken a different approach to investment in Keighley and Ilkley.
To take one example, just 4% of the Council's identified highways spending went to Keighley and Ilkley over the past six years, yet the Council are proposing to charge residents for parking outside their own homes.
Keighley, Ilkley and Shipley contribute 48% towards of the entire District’s Council taxes, yet two out of three three tips proposed for closure are in our area.
And Bradford East, West and South are responsible for nearly 75% of the District’s unpaid Council taxes – that’s around 10 million pounds per year – yet Leaders in Bradford have proposed raising our Council taxes by a minimum of 4.99%.
Remember, this is all whilst the Council has pushed on with costly and controversial projects in the city centre, including £28 million for one city park.
So next time you hear the same old excuses from our Council as to why they are making these cuts – remember this financial mismanagement and Labour’s catastrophic children’s services scandal.
I am urging residents who, like me, who strongly oppose these plans and feel our area is being unfairly punished, to make their voices known on Bradford Council’s consultation website by searching “Bradford financial plan” or visiting the link here: https://online1.snapsurveys.com/interview/fb7d8209-32b9-496c-92ad-cff51…