Kirklees ‘should be run by committee’

Huddersfield Town Hall
Huddersfield Town Hall
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LIBERAL DEMOCRAT councillors in Kirklees have suggested the authority should go back to the future to save thousands of pounds.

They have proposed bringing back the old-fashioned committee system for running the council claiming it will reduce the amount paid in allowances by £72,000 a year.

Councils were run under a committee system until just over a decade ago when a change in the law led most authorities to switch to a cabinet system where a committee of senior councillors belonging to the ruling group make the key decisions which are ratified by the full council.

Coun Nicola Turner, Lib Dem group leader on Kirklees Council, said budget cuts will mean on current trends the authority will have shrunk by 40 per cent by 2018 and moving to a committee system would trim the allowance budget by a similar figure.

She said: “Councillors cannot be seen to sit in the council chamber making decisions about budget reductions affecting services and local people without trimming the fat ourselves.

“We hope that the other groups will support our vision for a better representative, cheaper and more effective democracy.”

Under a law passed in 2000, councils had to adopt the cabinet system unless they served communities of fewer than 85,000 people.

But a law passed by the Coalition now gives all councils the option to revert to a traditional committee system such as the one still used in parts of North Yorkshire.

The Lib Dems argue that a committee system would involve more councillors in the policy-making process and encourage more co-operation in an authority where one party rarely has overall control.

Kirklees Council has to save £38 million in its budget for the year ahead as it deals with falling Government grants in common with authorities across Yorkshire.

It is proposing to raise council tax bills by 1.95 per cent.