Kirklees Council has laid out its investment plans for the next financial year with a budget that focuses on tackling inequalities and investing in places, children and climate change in the borough’s recovery from COVID-19.

The council’s Budget for 2021/22 – approved by Cabinet on January 26 – will support the whole borough to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic as the council aims to tackle inequalities within communities, highlighted during the crisis.

The council’s financial plans will invest over £319 million in vital local services in the next financial year as well as devoting £650million to capital infrastructure improvements across the borough over the next five years.

The council’s budget for recovery means a basic increase in Council Tax of 1.99%. In order to support growing demand on adult social care, Government has also allowed councils to increase Council Tax by 3% for the 2021/22 financial year.

As a result, the council will be investing £5.6 million in services to some of the borough’s most vulnerable residents. The total 4.99% increase in Council Tax means a £1 per week increase in bills for residents living in a Band A property and £1.50 per week for Band D homes.

Council leader Clr Shabir Pandor said: “It would be difficult to find a council hit harder by austerity over the last decade than Kirklees. We’ve lost more than 60% of our national funding since 2010 but we won’t let that get in the way of our ambition for our people, partners and places.

Lord Wilson statue in St George’s Square

“This budget will support the people who have been hit hardest by the pandemic. It’s about jobs, businesses and services to people who need them more than ever. It’s is a budget that leaves no one behind.

“The priorities we highlighted last year – investing in places, children and climate change – are now more important than ever and our commitment to them has only increased. There has never been a more important time to support everyone in Kirklees to fulfil their potential and to live a happy and healthy life.

“The pandemic has bluntly exposed inequalities that have existed in our society for a long time and we have an opportunity to begin to put that right.

“This is a budget that’s bigger than numbers – it’s about values. This is our plan to build a Kirklees where everyone has a fair chance in life and that’s something worth investing in.”

The council’s budget for 2021/22 will now go to full council on February 10.