Community Committee chair requests Pudsey Civic Hall answers 

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A West Leeds councillor has asked senior council officers to attend the next community committee meeting in February to discuss the issue of selling Pudsey Civic Hall. 

Councillor Amanda Carter (Cons, Calverley & Farsley) is the chair of the council’s Outer West Community Committee, which is made up of nine councillors from Calverley & Farsley, Farnley & Wortley and Pudsey wards.

As reported by WLD yesterday, council chiefs are planning to close Pudsey Civic Hall as part of a raft of cuts as it looks to make a further £58.4million of savings in the year ahead, alongside £7.4m of already agreed cuts.

Councillor Amanda Carter, Chair of the Outer West Community Committee, said: “It would have been helpful if I was informed of this decision in advance, in my role as Chair of the Outer West Community Committee. 

“I want an explanation, in a public forum, of the options for keeping the building. I expect my request for this to be accepted, and senior Council Officers to attend the next meeting of the Community Committee on 14th February. 

“This is a public building, used regularly by local residents, it’s all well and good selling off the family silver but at least let the local councillors know as we represent local residents.” 

The next meeting of the Outer West Community Committee is to be held at 1pm on Wednesday, 14 February 2023, the venue is still to be decided. 

Proposals by Leeds City Council to cut hundreds of jobs would leave the city and its communities significantly worse off, UNISON said today (Wednesday).

The council is planning to lose the equivalent of 750 full time positions as part of proposals to balance its budget for 2024/25. The plans also suggest closing or altering the use of care homes, increasing fees and charges for adult social care, and reviewing council-managed children’s centres.

Council staffing levels could reduce by up to 750 full-time equivalent posts by the end of the 2024/25 financial year (the council currently has approximately 3,440 fewer staff than it did in 2010), with ongoing trade union consultation to avoid compulsory redundancies.

The proposals will be considered at an executive board meeting of senior councillors next Wednesday (13 December). 

Meanwhile, UNISON says the people of Leeds will suffer if the cuts go ahead. 

UNISON Yorkshire and Humberside regional organiser Brendan Cafferty said: “This news is bitterly disappointing for staff who now face a Christmas of stress and uncertainty – but it’s also incredibly worrying for the people of Leeds.

“These cuts mean some people will lose their jobs, and others who rely on council services will see the support on offer change dramatically.

“Leeds City Council is under massive financial pressure after 13 years of cuts from the government, but it shouldn’t be loyal staff and the people of Leeds who pay the price for that.”

Building closures and sales, new car parking charges, service and staffing reductions and price increases are among wide-ranging changes being proposed as Leeds City Council sets out its annual budget plans for next year.

The council yesterday published its initial budget proposals for 2024/25 which will be discussed by senior councillors at the executive board meeting at Civic Hall on Wednesday, 13 December. The proposals identify ways to save a further £58.4million in the year ahead alongside £7.4m of already agreed savings to deliver the required balanced budget. 

Leeds City Council leader Councillor James Lewis (Lab) is clear that council services will have to change with the aim of avoiding the financial difficulties being currently experienced by councils around the country.

Cllr Lewis said: “We know some of the proposals we have set out today will be unpopular as they will have a challenging impact on people’s lives. As is increasingly being seen around the country, councils have only very difficult choices left to use to balance their budgets, meet the needs of residents and not risk being driven to the point of financial distress. Local government cannot continue in this way, it simply isn’t workable.

“In the immediate short-term, we call on the government to use the upcoming finance settlement to provide the urgent help all councils clearly need, especially in the face of the rising costs and demand in children’s services to help support and protect our most vulnerable children and young people.”

The full executive board report can be found here.

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