View more tweets

Liberal Democrat Budget Proposals – A Safer, Cleaner and Fairer Calderdale.

As a group we are proposing to amend the Labour cabinet on Calderdale Council’s budget proposals.

The intention of our amendment is to:

  1. Make Calderdale a safer place to live by supporting the Police to enforce the laws on speeding and dangerous driving around our Borough. Speeding and dangerous driving is a major concern of residents living in Calderdale. In recent months the Police have run ‘Operation Hawmill’. This successful operation has seen a traffic cop back on the streets of Calderdale. We would like to find some finances to support the continuation of an operation such as Hawmill to help tackle speeding and dangerous driving on our streets.
  2. Make Calderdale a cleaner greener place to live by establishing a task force to tackle Environmental crimes including: Littering, dog fouling, fly-tipping, and anti-social behaviour. Parts of Calderdale are sadly looking like a rubbish dump at the moment. Meanwhile anti-social behaviour is in many places making people’s lives a misery. The Council isn’t using powers at its disposal such as Community Protection Notices. We would like to setup a new Environmental Crime Task force to help tackle and address these issues.
  3. Make Calderdale a fairer place by stopping a proposed cut to the support disabled children get in early years education. D Catch funding enables disabled children in Early Years education to get the support they need. We believe that proposals to cut this would have a devastating impact on young disabled children here in Calderdale. We believe disabled children need all the support they can get at the Early Years level in order that they can go to achieve their fullest potential in life.

Council finances are of course very tough at the moment, there is no easy or quick way to find the resources required to implement any of these proposals. We would find the resources required to do all of these things by:

  1. Seeking to transfer some Council buildings to community use. We believe in localism and by transferring Todmorden Town Hall to the management of the Town Council and Brighouse Town Hall to a community group we see them put to better use.
  2. Re-introducing a previously agreed saving on fees. In previous budget consultations members of the public have said they would prefer to see fees and charges for Council services rise rather than more cuts to services. Labour sought to remove that previously agreed saving, we are seeking to re-introduce it.
  3. Reducing the cost of staff sickness through a Nurse Led Sickness policy. FirstCare is part of a sickness management framework that public section organisations, charities, and housing associations can sign up to. Under the scheme, Council employees are required to phone FirstCare to register any sick leave that they need to take.  They are then assessed by a nurse on the phone and advised as to what they need to do next. It is estimated by Council officers that if introduced on Calderdale Council for key areas this would save us £50K per annum.

This is a fully balanced amendment to the cabinet budget, it would not require any additional taxation upon what is already proposed, and neither would it require any additional use of balances.

The financial details of this amendment can be viewed below

 

If you have any comments on our suggestions for budget please feel free to post them. We have put this amendment in the public domain before Budget Council in order that residents are able to join in the democratic process and the debate.

Councillors kept in the dark

Calderdale Council has has a poor communications culture. It is often the case that Councillors find out about what officers and the cabinet members of the Council are up to via the local media and press releases. The same is true with matters that affect the wards that Councillors represent. Whereas you might expect a Councillor is consulted with and informed what is going on, the truth is that cabinet members and officers of the Council do all they can to by-pass the elected representatives in an area.

untitled-design-3

This is bad for democracy, already too many decisions on the Council are made by un-elected officers. People vote for Councillors thinking they will be able to make decisions, and would expect that Councillors are briefed on issues, and have an opportunity to get involved in decision making.

A perfect example of this is the recent opening of Elland Bridge. Where one of our local Councillors Marilyn Greenwood only found out about it by chance. Marilyn likes to keep residents up to date with the latest news and information, but how can she do this is the leadership of the Council’s priority is to tell the press before telling members of the Council?

A Liberal Democrat run Council would aim to put decision making back in the hands of Councillors, and members of the public.

 

 

Calderdale Liberal Democrats support #visitmymosque

  Last Sunday a group of Calderdale Liberal Democrats including three Calderdale Councillors went along to visit the Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith Mosque on Hopwood Lane. The open day was part of a national #visitmymosque day where Mosques across the country opened their doors to people of all faiths and no faiths. Councillor James Baker, leader of Calderdale […]

Congratulations to her Majesty the Queen for 65 years on the throne

The Queen’s Sapphire Jubliee has been marked with a 41 gun salute. The Queen is the first ever ruling monarch to reach a Sapphire Jubilee. # Councillor James Baker, leader of Calderdale Liberal Democrats said “The Queen has dedicated 65 years of her life to public service as the Monarch of the United Kingdom, her […] Read more at http://ift.tt/2lf7Tk0

Faster Internet for Warley Town – Campaign launched

faster-internet-now

 

We were recently contacted by a resident Mr David Hinchliffe who lives in Warley Town. Broadband speeds in the village can be dreadful, as low as 1.5-3 mb/s. This really isn’t good enough in this day and age, and both the government, Council and infrastructure providers BTOpenworld should be doing more to deliver a better service. People rely on having a decent internet connection for work, gaming and for streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon or BBCiplayer.

That is why we are launching a petition and campaign to try and lobby for faster internet speeds in the village. It’s possible to do, it just requires some of the local infrastructure to be upgraded. The more people who sign this petition, the more we can demonstrate that there is a decent demand for this service.

You can sign the petition online here

Download a PDF of the petition here. Please feel free to copy this PDF, and get your friends and family to sign it. There is a return address on the petition.

Parliament votes to trigger Article 50.

So there we have it, tonight Parliament voted to trigger Article 50. Now whereas the referendum result was advisory, our parliament is sovereign. As such I accept there is now a democratic mandate for Brexit. Despite that I still think it’s a big mistake, and will be really, really bad for our country and good for Trump and Putin.

The Liberal Democrats will in an amendment be hoping to give the people a say on whether or not they want to accept the final deal the Tories negotiate, which would include an option of staying in the EU. Now i’m not keen on referendum, they reduce complex issues to simplistic yes/no binary answers. However seeing as this process has started with one it ought then to have one on the actual facts of the deal, rather than the wild speculation and claims of the referendum in June 2016.

The Liberal idea of having a vote on the deal at the end of the negotiation is not such a strange one. It happens all the time in Trade Union negotiations. People vote not to accept a pay deal, they ask their Union representatives to go and negotiate a better deal, they then get to vote on whether or not to accept the deal they come back with. The same could easily apply to Brexit. It would have the benefit of the government seeking to try and get a deal that was acceptable to as many people as possible.

Now as you might expect there have been a few shrill voices on twitter today suggesting that the Liberal Democrats, and folk like myself should no longer oppose leaving the EU. As if politics is simply one football match and at the end of it we all accept the result and go home for a nice cup of tea having settled everything for ever. Perhaps these people ought to be reminded of history, because there is certainly no record of Euro-sceptics ever having hung up their boots. It is indeed the case that after the referendum on joining the EEC in 1975 Labour carried on campaigning against the EEC. It was in their 1979 manifesto. People surprised at Corbyn’s anti-EU stance should recall the last time the Labour party had such as stance it was equally left wing. Prominent Euro-sceptic Enoch Powell also carried on campaigning against EEC, leaving the Conservative party in the process to advocate a vote for Euro-psceptic Labour.

Then in the 80s Labour and the Conservatives started to shift position. Under Kinnock’s leadership Labour dropped their opposition to the EEC, then Thatcher in her 88 Brugges speech inspired a generation of Tory sceptics by railing against any move towards closer political union. The hokey cokey of British politics continued.

The lesson I think here is this – The political question of Europe was never settled by the 1975 referendum, despite it being very decisive and not at all close. It is unlikely therefore to have been settled by the one we had in June last year….’But wait’ I hear the Euros-ceptics cry, “we voted on the EEC and Europe changed after that”. Well indeed, and I suspect both Europe and Geo-politics will also change from where it was in a snap shot on June 23rd 2016. Who knows where global politics will be in a year, two years, five years or even twenty years. What I do know however is that I shall remain committed to working together peacefully with other nations, and trying to build an enlightened international government founded on the principles of rule of law, universal human rights, democracy and peaceful cohabitation of our plant. I might even imagining there’s no countries, after all it isn’t hard to do. They managed it in Star Trek.

Halifax’s Labour MP set to back Tory and UKIP’s Hard Brexit.

  Theresa May has said she wants to take the UK out of the single market. This is the hard Brexit that the likes of Nigel Farage and UKIP have campaigned for. Despite this Halifax’s Labour MP Holly Lynch has said she will back the Conservative Government’s plans to trigger Article 50 and vote to […] Read more at http://ift.tt/2js4lOX

New Parish Council a Step Nearer

A new parish council – the first in Calderdale since local government reorganisation in 1974 – has moved a step nearer to being created. Members of Calderdale Council’s Governance and Business Committee this week (23rd January) agreed to the creation of the Stainland and District Parish Council, though a final vote will be taken at […] Read more at http://ift.tt/2ksKY4H

Brexit austerity means extra cuts for Calderdale Council

Councillor James Baker, leader of Calderdale Liberal Democrats reports Throughout the coalition years Liberal Democrats took a lot of flak for undertaking the difficult task of working to bring back proper management of the nation’s finances after years of reckless Labour spending. Sadly it seems all of this effort was thrown out of the window […] Read more at http://ift.tt/2j0IVUl

Work starts on Hebden Bridge market

“After all this time, it’s really pleasing to see work starting in Lees Yard in Hebden Bridge so that the market can move there and run through from Thursday to Sunday every week” says former LibDem Calderdale Councillor Janet Battye. “I’ve been leading this work on behalf of Hebden Bridge Partnership for over 10 years […] Read more at http://ift.tt/2k8SNMr