Reverse the cuts to Safer, Cleaner, Greener teams

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Calderdale Council has cut its funding to Safer, Cleaner, Greener teams by over £400,000 a year. We face a double whammy of Conservative Government cuts and excessive borrowing by the Labour administration.

Nationally the deficit is reducing. The Conservative Government could choose to stop its cuts to Local Government. Yet further reductions in our grant mean budget cuts of £0.9M this year and £6.7M the year after. 

To make matters worse the local Labour administration won’t stop borrowing money. £7.6M for Northgate House is the latest expenditure. Council debt is set to rise from £78.6M in 2017 to a massive £124.1M by 2020. Now they plan to borrow £10M to spend on Market Towns. They have allocated this budget without even having an idea what the money will be spent on!

If we cancelled this planned borrowing the savings on repayments would equal £500,000 a year. Enough to reverse all the cuts to the Safer, Cleaner, Greener teams that maintain our public spaces. 

A Liberal Democrat Council would be prudent with finances. Lower waste and borrowing would mean we had more money now to spend on your priorities such as street cleaning and highways. 

Please sign our petition to reverse the cuts to our Safer, Cleaner Greener Teams


Liberal Democrat Budget Success

Following a six-hour long budget Council meeting that was stuck in deadlock, the Liberal Democrat group was successful in forcing concessions from the ruling Labour group, including a trial of extra mental health provision for children and young people.

All three political parties on Calderdale had produced their own Council budgets this year and all three agreed that Council Tax would have to rise by 2.99% to offset the Government’s reduction in funding for Council services.

 The Liberal Democrat budget contained proposals to:

  • Improve street cleaning;
  • Strengthen the action taken against fly-tipping and dangerous driving;
  • Increase the number of grit bins by 20%;
  • Remove the unpopular ‘Tip Tax’;
  • Provide funding for a two-year pilot project to address mental health issues in local schools;
  • Provide funding for the Council to implement carbon reduction schemes to address the ‘climate emergency’ that has arisen from climate change.”

It also proposed £1m fewer planned cuts than either the Labour or Conservative budgets.

This would have been achieved over the planned three-year budget with an additional 1% increase in Council Tax in 2020-21 and new methods of bringing funding into the Council such as crowd-funding and asking residents if they would make additional Council Tax contributions for projects.

Following votes on all three budgets, the Council was stuck in a deadlock with no budget passing. The Liberal Democrats suggested a cross-party solution that included something from everyone’s proposals. However, the Labour group were unwilling to go ahead with a Conservative party suggestion that some of our looked after children could be placed in boarding schools.

Cllr James Baker leader of the Liberal Democrat group said “The Labour group had initially amended their budget to include some of our proposals. We had already secured additional grit bins, funding for a project to tackle climate change and funding for war memorials. However, we wanted to hold out for a pilot of additional mental health services for young people.  I’m delighted that, in the end, we prevailed and funding has been provided for this scheme to go ahead”. 


Liberal Democrat Budget proposals

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We have published our alternative Council budget proposals for the coming year, and the two years after that.

Leader of the Liberal Democrat group, Cllr James Baker (Warley) said: “Calderdale Council, like every other council, is having a very tough time balancing the growing need for services against the reducing amount of money provided by the government. It is a job that has to be done, though, and the Liberal Democrat group has tried to minimise the effect of any cuts and put extra money into the services local people tell us are of most concern to them.”

“Our budget contains proposals over the next three years to:

  • Improve street cleaning;
  • Strengthen the action taken against fly-tipping and dangerous driving;
  • Increase the number of grit bins by 20%;
  • Remove the unpopular ‘Tip Tax’;
  • Provide funding for a two-year pilot project to address mental health issues in local schools;
  • Provide funding for the Council to implement carbon reduction schemes to address the ‘climate emergency’ that has arisen from climate change.”

“All of this has to be paid for, so we think that the Council should plan to increase Council Tax by 3% in each of the next three years. The Council also needs to be more innovative in how it brings in extra money, so we are suggesting that schemes introduced by other councils are looked at. These include using crowdfunding as a source of funding local community projects and asking the better-off to make a voluntary contribution by way of additional Council Tax payments.”

“In addition, we would increase the additional Council Tax that can be levied on empty houses to the maximum permitted and reduce the Council’s borrowing for uncommitted capital schemes.”

“The result of taking these actions is that, when the Council comes to consult local residents on where further cuts should fall over the next few years, the savings the Council needs to find would be more than a million pounds smaller than that put forward by the Labour administration.“

You can download and read the full budget here

The equality impact assessments of our budget here


Labour & Conservatives reject Lib Dem calls for tougher CO2 reduction target

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Cllr James Baker moved an amendment to Labour’s motion on declaring a “Climate Emergency” seeking to strengthen it. James wanted the working party that Labour wished to set up to draw up “a costed action plan for Calderdale to be carbon neutral by 2030”. Additionally, James wanted this action plan to “set out how advice, encouragement and support can be provided to the people and businesses of Calderdale to take additional action in support of this aim”.

Labour were not happy, particularly with the bit about setting a target to work towards. Not for the first time, Labour rejected James’ call for target against which their performance could be measured. In lots of other areas the Cabinet has set targets. It’s almost as if Cabinet is picking and choosing targets that can more easily be met.
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We Demand Better from Council's Anti-Poverty Strategy

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Liberal Democrat councillors believe the Council’s Anti-Poverty Action Plan, which was recently discussed by the Cabinet, is not good enough. We have ‘called-in’ the Cabinet’s decision for further discussion at a Scrutiny Board meeting in the hope of strengthening the plan.

Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Councillor James Baker said: “As I said at the Cabinet meeting, we welcome the fact that the Council is to have an action plan, but do not believe that the plan as it stands is ambitious enough. It reads like a list of loosely-linked, small-scale actions without any clear aims. We think the Council can do better, and we are demanding better from it”

 

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Pay Household Waste Workers a Living Wage

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A pay dispute between UNISON and Suez the company that delivers this contracted service is resulting in possible strike action here in Calderdale.

Currently some of the lowest are paid £7.93 per hour – 10p above the minimum wage – but were they employed directly by the Council they would be earning at least the ‘real’ Living Wage rate of £8.75 per hour.

As a living wage accredited employer Calderdale Council must put in place a plan to ensure all its sub-contractors are paid a living wage.

We have therefore written to the Labour administration running Caldedale to ask what plans they had in place with Suez to ensure workers collecting our household waste and recycling are paid the living wage.

If they are serious about paying the living wage then the Labour administration can’t just outsource the work to companies that pay below it.

 


Overwhelming support for a Final Say on Brexit.

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We've been out and about in Todmorden, collecting stars for our Brexitometer, and the results couldn't be clearer.

  • BREXIT is not going well.
  • Hardly anyone thinks the promises voted for can be delivered.
  • We're still not sure what Brexit means.
  • Hardly anyone is happy with Theresa May's deal.
  • We SHOULDN'T leave the EU without a deal.
  • There SHOULD be a People's vote on a final deal.

Let's have a People's Vote and stop this disasterous Brexit before things get bad. Contact Craig Whittaker or Holly Lynch now and demand they stand behind the People's Vote.

Demand Better.

 


Lib Dems publish plans to cut taxes for businesses by 32% in Calderdale

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The Liberal Democrats have published a comprehensive blueprint for replacing the broken business rates system, cutting taxes for businesses by 32% in Calderdale

Councillor James Baker, leader of the Calderdale Council Liberal Democrat group has described the plans as “exactly the sort of policy we need to boost local investment and ensure businesses in Calderdale thrive”.

“Small businesses, especially those on our high streets our struggling with business rates. Reforming the broken business rate system will help out our market towns such as Brighouse, Elland, Hebden Bridge and Todmorden."

“It is the responsibility of the current Conservative Government to ensure that our businesses are able to thrive, but ministers are so preoccupied with Brexit that they are not doing nowhere near enough on this issue." 

“Liberal Democrats demand better. That is why we are campaigning to create the environment needed for local businesses to grow and create jobs in Calderdale".


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A Fair Deal for Yorkshire

We are calling for a fair deal for Yorkshire and Humber. It is not fair that our region is being short-changed by the Government. 

We demand better for Yorkshire and Humber and are fully behind moves that would see powers devolved from London to Yorkshire.

We want to see these powers exercised by a new proportionally elected devolved regional authority. 

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Labour Hike Cost of Bulky Waste Collection

 

Just when Calderdale is plagued by fly-tipping our Labour run Council decide to raise the cost of bulky waste collections.

It currently costs £15 to have bulky waste collected. Under new proposals drawn up by Calderdale Council the cost will rise to £25 and the number of objects collected will be limited to eight.

Councillor James Baker the leader of the Calderdale Liberal Democrat group said: “Calderdale is plagued with fly-tipping. This spoils the environment and costs the Council thousands to clear up every year.”

 

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