Residents of Kirklees Council could be asked if they approve of a rise in taxes as their local authority looks to save £70million in the next three years.

Around £83 million of the £152 million shortfall has been saved, but a further £69 million must be recovered by 2016.

The authority could become the first in the country to ask residents for permission to ignore the government's cap on council tax rises. The move would allow a five per cent increase which council leader David Sheard says could save various services and generate around £21 million.

Over 1,000 jobs have already been lost at the council, with another 1,000 likely to go by 2018.

Other services including libraries, museums, leisure and children's facilities, PCSOs, street cleaning are all facing cut backs while open markets at Birstall and Batley are facing closure.

A consultation period on the issues surrounding the cuts, the council's budget and a possible referendum will begin after a meeting on 26 August, but a final decision on whether a referendum might happen will not be made until February 2015.

Only 16 per cent of our income comes from Council Tax - if we were to freeze it again this year, as we did last year, we will need to find further savings of £8.4 million. If we had a referendum to raise it by 5 per cent, that would gain us £21 million, but even that would not be enough. We are putting this information out in full, earlier than ever before, so people have the chance to come forward with alternatives, but at a time when they can be costed to make sure they are viable.

Cllr David Sheard, Kirklees Council

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