Christmas trees cancelled as Kirklees council tries to balance books

The council will no longer be able to provide free Christmas trees in some communities.

Christmas is being scaled back in Kirklees as the council confirms it will not be providing any trees outside of four of the borough's most major town centres.

Financial pressures mean councillors have been told that the local authority will no longer be able to off free community trees of subsidy the costs.

The cash-strapped council has frozen all non-essential spending as it tries to save £47m to balance the books.

Councillors have been informed that the cost of a tree is £1.1k, should they wish to order one through the council. This cost includes tree placement, lighting, removal and disposal. It is understood that this would be funded through each ward's £20k budget or via community groups.

Councillor Gwen Lowe, Cabinet Member for Environment said: "The Council will once again be providing Christmas trees in Huddersfield, Dewsbury, Batley and Cleckheaton to provide festive cheer for residents and businesses."

"In previous years the council has been able to subsidise all community trees with the remaining cost paid through ward budgets, community groups or 'friends of' groups. The council has never offered free trees across the board to communities, it has on occasion been able to provide a handful of free trees dependent on individual agreements with community groups throughout the district.

Due to the current financial situation though the council is no longer in a position to subsidise community trees so costs would have to be met fully by the ward or group.

"We will however continue to support groups who wish to put up trees in their communities with sourcing, delivery, installation, lighting and disposal."

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