Autumn Statement ignores social care crisis, says Council Leader

Labour Leader Cllr Tim Swift
Labour Leader Cllr Tim Swift

By failing to address the issues in social care and the NHS, Philip Hammond has betrayed the most vulnerable in our society.

Calderdale Council leader Tim Swift has criticised the Chancellor for failing to provide any extra funding for social care or the NHS in the spending review – and warned that the Council will now face hugely challenging decisions over future budgets. Continue Reading

Further Government back down over forced academy plans

OurSchoolsOurSayLabour councillor Megan Swift today welcomed news that the Government has withdrawn their planned Education Bill. When this was introduced in March, it included proposals to force all schools to become academies. Although this was dropped from the Bill after national and local protests, the Bill continued to undermine the role of local councils in supporting schools and helping them to improve. Continue Reading

Welcome news as Rochdale Canal fully reopens

Labour leader Tim Swift has welcomed news that the Rochdale Canal through Calderdale is now fully reopened after repairs to the huge damage caused by the devastating Boxing Day floods.

The Canal and Rivers Trust have spent more than three million pounds on repairing damage throughout the length of Calderdale, including repairing 15m of damaged banking, fixing land slips, and removing hundreds of tons of mud and debris from the canal.

Cllr Swift said: “All our partners have been working incredibly hard to fix the damage to Calderdale caused by the massive flooding last year. In the case of the Canal and River Trust, that work has also been supported by dozens of volunteers giving their time. It’s fantastic news that the 200 year old canal is now fully opened – and we look forward to more good news with the reconstruction of Elland Bridge planned for the end of the year.”

Government policy to blame for Todmorden Sixth Form closure

ward-cllrs-tod-high-smallThe decision by Todmorden school governors that they cannot continue to provide a sixth form is a direct result of government policy, Labour councillors in Calderdale said today.

Cllr Megan Swift, Labour’s spokesperson for Children and Young People said changes in funding by central Government left governors with little choice – despite every effort being made in recent months to preserve the sixth-form’s viability in consultation with the council.

She said:   “Todmorden is a good school which is valued and supported by local parents – and the Council has been giving all the support we are able to over the past few months.

“This has happened because the Conservative – Liberal Democrat coalition Government changed the way that national funding is provided for sixth forms. They were warned from 2013 onwards that this would threaten the survival of smaller sixth forms – and this prophecy has now sadly come true in the case of Todmorden.

“Last year, Calderdale Council worked with the heads of secondary schools to commission an independent report into sixth form provision across the Borough. This report warned that many small sixth forms were not viable, and that the future would have to involve closures and mergers if we were able to ensure that Calderdale young people have access to high quality sixth form provision.

“There has also been a West Yorkshire-wide review of post-16 education, because of concerns that Further Education college budgets are also under theat. So we are surprised that local MP Craig Whittaker is calling for a review when in fact they have already taken place at both Calderdale and West Yorkshire level.

Todmorden Labour Councillor Susan Press said:

“The level of funding provided to any school now is largely determined by national Government. As Calderdale councillors, we continue to work to support schools, but we cannot control the financial climate within which they operate. That is something that we need our MPs to challenge.

“Labour’s commitment to supporting schools in Todmorden is clear. We have prioritised rebuilding Ferney Lee Primary School and building a new classroom block at Todmorden High School.

“Before he was elected in 2010, Craig Whittaker regularly promised that he would secure a complete rebuild of both Calder High and Todmorden High Schools. “Despite his high profile antics when he stood on the roof of Todmorden, he has completely failed to deliver on this promises and it would be good to hear what action he is going to take on this.”

Labour slams Tory bid to stop further residential 20 mph schemes

Calderdale Labour have slammed an attempt by Conservative leader Scott Benton to halt the roll out of residential 20 mph schemes in Calderdale. Labour’s Public Health spokesperson, Faisal Shoukat, said: “Cllr Benton’s call for a block on further 20 mph schemes is misinformed and would be a massive backward step for Calderdale. “Introducing 20 mph… Continue Reading

Say “No” to more selection

Calderdale Labour are calling on the Council to take a stand against the Government’s plans to extend selection. Thursday’s full Council will be asked to back a motion opposing the plans, which will undermine the track record of progress and achievement of many of Calderdale’s existing comprehensive schools. Continue Reading

Flooding: Don’t backtrack on the national resilience review

Back in January, then Cabinet Minister Oliver Letwin was put in charge of the national resilience review.This was established to assess how the country can be better protected from future flooding and increasingly extreme weather events Since the change of Government, the future of this review seems to be doubt – yet adequate preparation for… Continue Reading

Secretary of State urged to visit Calderdale over flood concerns

Calderdale Labour leader Tim Swift is urging the new Secretary of State for Defra, Andrea Leadsom MP, to visit Calderdale as soon as possible. Tim said: “With all the changes in Government personnel, we now have a situation where none of the Ministers who visited Calderdale after the December floods are still in the same… Continue Reading

Protecting and nurturing our children

Labour councillor Megan Swift, Labour’s lead member for Children and Young People’s services, told full Council last night (20th July) of her delight at the progress that’s being made in improving children’s services in Calderdale. Her comments came after a DfE review in May praised the progress being made by the Council. This follows the… Continue Reading

Conservatives try to whitewash Government’s housing failure

Labour housing lead Cllr Dan Sutherland has slammed Calderdale Conservatives for attempting to whitewash their own Government’s failure to deliver on the housing needed to meet local people’s needs. Cllr Sutherland said, “Once again, the Conservative motion to council shows that they would rather play party politics than stand up for local people. They should… Continue Reading

Cabinet statement on hate crimes and cohesion

This is a statement made by Labour council leader Tim Swift on behalf of the Labour Cabinet last night:- In the aftermath of the referendum, there have been reports of an increase in hate crime across the country. As a cabinet, we believe that Calderdale council should condemn racism, xenophobia and hate crimes unequivocally. We… Continue Reading

Looking ahead after the referendum

Last week, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. As a Labour group, we deeply regret that, but we will respect that decision and get on with our job. As the largest group on Calderdale Council, we are focussed on standing up for our community, and fighting to get the best possible deal we… Continue Reading

Let locals have say about flood work, says councillor

The Environment Agency must listen more to the locals when planning its flood defence work in Mytholmroyd, says Councillor Jane Scullion, the Labour councillor whose ward includes the village. Jane Scullion has welcomed the EA’s announcement last week of its action plan for Mytholmroyd. But she adds that the detailed programme for implementation work, due… Continue Reading

Labour tops the polls in Calderdale

Labour were the clear winners in last Thursday’s local elections in Calderdale and remain the largest party on the local council. Labour won 8 of the 17 seats up for election, against 6 for the Conservatives and 3 for the Liberal Democrats. And across the Borough, Labour polled almost 4,500 votes more than the Conservatives. Continue Reading

Halifax Post Office WILL be moving to W H Smith

…. and they have already given notice to end the lease on the existing Post Office building. We’ve been told officially today that the Post Office are proposing to move Halifax Crown Post Office to WH Smith on Market Street. This is what we feared and predicted when we first heard that our Post Office… Continue Reading

Statement on anti-semitism and extremism

This is a joint statement from Calderdale Labour leader Tim Swift and Halifax Labour MP Holly Lynch, with the support of Labour’s councillors and local election candidates. Last week, Calderdale Council approved a proposal tabled by the Labour group which states:- “This council believes that anti-Semitism, like Islamaphobia and racism, is incompatible with British values… Continue Reading

Negative Tory campaign slammed

With just four days to go until the local elections, Labour leader Tim Swift has slammed the “completely negative” Conservative campaign. “Across the Borough, I’ve been searching Conservative leaflets in vain to find any positive ideas for the future of our area”, he said. “But so far I’ve been looking in vain. “They are more… Continue Reading

Council backs Labour motion opposing forced academies

Calderdale Council has agreed a motion opposing forced academies – but astonishingly the Conservative group moved an unsuccessful amendment that backed the Government’s plans. Conservative councils throughout the country have been coming out in opposition to the plan to force all schools to become an academy – so it’s a sign of how out of… Continue Reading

Our Schools, Our Say! campaign launched

Calderdale Labour councillors are joining forces with Halifax MP Holly Lynch to launch a campaign against the Government’s plans to force every school to become an Academy. Sign our petition here Under the plans – announced by Conservative chancellor George Osborne in the budget – every school will have to become an academy by 2022,… Continue Reading

A critical election for Calderdale

The decision in May’s local election is critical for the future of our Borough, Labour leader Cllr Tim Swift said today. Formally marking the launch of Labour’s campaign, he said: “The local election on May 5th is about just one thing – who runs our local council for the next two years. “Our communities face… Continue Reading

How the floods hit our local businesses

A new report brokered by Upper Calder Valley Renaissance and Calderdale Council spells out the sheer scale of the impact and costs to businesses caused by the December floods. You can read more about the background to the report, and download a copy, from the UCVR website. But these are the main headline findings from the… Continue Reading

Jane Scullion for Luddendenfoot

Jane Scullion is Labour’s candidate for Luddendenfoot, replacing Cllr Simon Young who is standing down. Jane says:- “I grew up in Scotland but settled in the upper Calder valley with my family twenty-seven years ago. I began my working life in co-operatives and charities and then moved into local government, where I worked at a… Continue Reading

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