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Secret cut to police budgets

Despite assurances to protect the budget the Chancellor is secretly slashing police budgets by over £200 million. Independently elected Police Commissioners will now be forced to raise the additional funds to keep their communities safe by upping council tax.

Buried deep within a ministerial statement the Government today has finally had to admit that it has cut the funding for the police.

Figures released after parliamentary questions also show for example that by 2020 the Nuclear Constabulary, the force guarding vital nuclear power stations, will see a cut in staff of 16%.

Ex Police Chief Brian Paddick said:

“George Osborne promised that there would be ‘no cuts in the police budget at all’ after intense lobbying from us to protect the police budget. Today it has been confirmed that in reality the police will have to deal with a cut of more than £200 million.

“The Government have essentially forced independent PCCs to raise the police precept in order to maintain current spending levels. This just goes to show that you cannot trust the Tories to keep their word or protect those that protect us”.

Never again…

A Jewish mother cradling her child, both stripped naked and about to be murdered. All because of their race, culture and religion. Never forget the evil of the Holocaust.

A Jewish mother cradling her child, both stripped naked and about to be murdered. All because of their race, culture and religion. Never forget the evil of the Holocaust.

I studied Holocaust studies at University as part of my Humanities degree. People tell me ‘oh people aren’t interested in civil liberties’ as a political issue. Well i’m interested in it, the reason being that it’s by safeguarding our liberties that we prevent repeating the horrors of persecution humans experienced, both in the holocaust, and in modern day atrocities that are occurring right now.

Emotive responses, commemorative events, and remembrance are important. What is much more important though that all of you who feel empathy towards the victims of the holocaust go out there and fight to protect your liberties. Fight to protect them from a surveillance state, fight to protect them from the enemies of human rights,fight to protect them from the preachers of hate that seek to divide humanity in pursuit of their own narrow interests.

Go and join Liberty, the Open Rights Group, Justice or NO2ID. Donate money, be an advocate for freedom in the letters pages of your local paper. Join a party that will protect the individual, no matter what their creed or religion from the state. Do something today to help prevent this ever happening again.

Liberal Democrat video focuses on role in community

Community is at the heart of what Liberal Democrats in local government are about. In the ward Ashley Evans and I work with local community groups and help to set them up. The Friends of West View Park, and the Friends of Roils Head Moor are two examples of initiatives that we have had that are now established community groups in their own rights.

Our philosophy is now about telling people what to do, or doing everything for people. It’s about giving power to people so that they can do things themselves. This video captures brilliantly why i’m proud to call myself a Liberal Democrat.

Scrutiny panel recommends a budget for new grit bins

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This Thursday the Economy and Environment Scrutiny panel that I chair recommended that the Council makes provision within its winter services budget for new grit bins. There are many streets in Calderdale that are not gritted and the provision of grit bins allows residents on those streets to attempt to clear ice and snow themselves.

Grit bins are a cost effective way to help prevent trips and falls, and they enable people to get out of their houses in snaps of cold weathers. Knocking on doors around the ward I hear loads of people say how they would like their street to have a grit bin.  Sadly there is no budget for providing new bins at the moment, so as a ward Councillor I’m totally powerless to get any new bins provided.

This recommendation that I proposed was backed by Labour members on the panel. The Conservative members abstained from voting on it. However a majority of the panel were in favor of it and I hope the cabinet of the Council now amends their budget proposals to make some provision for new grit bins.

The Government are shirking responsibility for flooding – Tim Farron

CPlflkrW8AAkv6VCommenting on reports that the Government may force the bill of flood defences on local taxpayers, Tim Farron, Leader of the Liberal Democrats and MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, said:

“Not only are the government not paying the bill that currently exists, they are now supporting a tax rise. For a party that talks a lot about responsibility they are shirking it at every opportunity.

“Glenridding was flooded three times in a fortnight in December and now it is flooding again.
“Rather than helping communities all the government are doing is saying, pay a few more pounds and fix the problem yourself. I’m sure ministers will be there to cut the ribbon with a high vis jacket on. The North deserves better than this.”

Council publishes bulletin of scrutiny work

As chair of the Economy and Environment scrutiny panel on the Council I was keen that our scrutiny support team publishes news on the work that the Council’s scrutiny panels do. Scrutiny panels are not decision making bodies, but they do help hold the cabinet of the Council to account. All scrutiny meetings are open to the public to attend, and you can also request to speak to a panel on a topic. Hopefully most chair’s will agree such a request, I always do myself!

You can download the January bulletin of the work the panels are doing below

Scrutiny-Bulletin-Jan-2016

 

How can shops and businesses be helped to recover from the Floods?

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That was the question that the Government Minister for Small Businesses asked when she visited Calderdale this week.

“The figures quoted of the damage done by the floods to local shops and businesses are just mind-blowing” says Cllr Janet Battye, Leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Calderdale Council and ward Councillor for Calder ward. “2,500 out of the 8,000 businesses across Calderdale have been affected, with financial losses already reaching £15m.

“The problems that we now face are of the time and cost for shops and businesses to get up and running again in the short-term, and longer-term problems of lack of insurance cover and lack of knowledge about how to make buildings flood-proof.

“The Minister said that businesses need advice and support from other businesses and the Council, but I told her that we have a real capacity issue in Calderdale. The Council’s Business Team consists of only four people. While businesspeople are willing to help each other, there comes a point when they need to concentrate on their own businesses. We can only expect volunteers to do so much.

“While the government talks of the apparently large sums of money that it’s giving to Councils, this does need to be used flexibly and may only be able to provide limited help. The bigger problem concerns there not being enough money available for flood protection work: we still have a £15m funding gap for the programme of work put together after the last floods!” said Cllr Battye.

Labour MP slams ‘Halifax NHS chiefs’ for PFI deal his own party signed off

According to reports on the Huddersfield Examiner the Huddersfield Labour MP Barry Sheerman has blammed the problems facing our local health services on the awful PFI contract that ‘Health chiefs in Halifax got into’.

Mr Sheerman and his colleague, Colne Valley’s Jason McCartney, have both insisted the move is to shore up the controversial Private Finance Initiative which funded the Calderdale Royal Hospital.

Mr Sheerman said: “Health chiefs in Halifax got into serious debt and negotiated a very poor PFI contract to secure the new hospital.

“In Huddersfield we had a very well-run health and hospital service but we were persuaded to merge with Calderdale.

“Now we are being told by the Clinical Commissioning groups that because of that PFI we will have to make the move and send all our people to Halifax for care.

“It makes me furious and I am sure it will make everyone in the town furious.”

Someone ought to point out to Mr Sheerman it was Alan Milburn who was the Labour health secretary at the time who signed off on the deal. This followed extensive lobbying from the then Labour MP for Halifax Alice Mahon, who was in favour of the plan. It should also be pointed out that Liberal Democrats have been campaigning against this PFI deal for years, as this old press cutting demonstrates. It was the late Stephen Pearson a former Calderdale Councillor and Dr Bob Heys who helped run this campaign. At the time not a single Labour or Conservative Councillor signed the petition opposing the PFI deal.

So we now have a Labour MP in Huddersfield blaming the PFI deal his own party signed off for the threat of Huddersfield A&E department. Meanwhile the Labour party in Calderdale are trying to pin the financial blame for the mess on the last government. Here is text taken from their petition

I condemn the threats to local health services caused by the Tory-Lib Dem government.

I call on NHS decision makers to keep urgent care services like Calderdale’s Walk-In Centres and A&E department open.

Labour need to get their story straight on this mess they are responsible!

Do you have a question you would like me to ask at Council?

At every meeting of Calderdale Council Councillors such as myself get to ask questions to the portfolio holders of the cabinet. Currently the cabinet of Calderdale Council is all made up of Labour Councillors as they are running the Council. If you have a question that you would like me to ask on your behalf please email me to let me know. I will then post up all the questions asked the responses I have been given back up on this website for you.

Slow but steady progress on Brow Foot Gate Lane (and surrounding roads)

We are making slow but steady progress on getting the Council to resolve traffic problems around Brow Foot Gate Lane and its surrounding roads. Your ward Councillors have met with a Council traffic officer and we are in the progress of drawing up an official consultation on the scheme. This consultation is being run by local residents in partnership with your Councillors. We have just been delayed awaiting the democratic services departments approval of the consultation. Ashley and I will then be joining local residents in helping conduct the consultation.