Terror attack in London – statement from Cllr Tim Swift

Everyone has been shocked by the events in Westminster today. As a sign of our respect for those killed and injured, we will be flying the Union flag at half-mast over Halifax Town Hall from tomorrow morning.

On behalf of the people of Calderdale, I want to offer our deepest condolences to the families of the people who have been killed, including the Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty.

Alongside the horror, we’ve also witnessed the bravery and unwavering commitment of the Police, Paramedics, the Fire & Rescue service, and all those who rushed to help. Their actions were truly inspirational, as was the action of Government Minister Tobias Ellwood who heroically tried to save the life of the fallen Police Officer.

As well as our Members of Parliament and their staff, a group of children from Calderdale were in the Houses of Parliament when the incident happened. We’re very pleased to know that they are all safe, and I’d like to thank the staff with them and at the school who I know worked really hard to make sure that their parents were kept informed and reassured.

Danger Warning – Conservative budget plans

DANGERLabour have issued a ‘Danger’ warning about Conservative budget plans for Calderdale, arguing that they would have a devastating impact on many low-paid working families.

Labour leader Cllr Tim Swift said:-

“By publishing their plans just a few days before the budget council meeting, the Conservatives are hoping people won’t have time to read the small print and understand the scale of some of the cuts they are planning.

“So we think it is really important that residents understand some of the things that would happen if the Conservative budget proposals were agreed. Continue Reading

Tory plans could close day care at Calderdale’s children’s centres

Cllr Megan Swift is warning that Conservative budget proposals could force the closure of the day care at Calderdale’s Children’s Centres. And she is accusing local Conservative councillors of going back on previous campaigns to save the service.

Cllr Swift said: “Hidden away in the small print of their budget, the Conservatives have a plan to remove a so-called ‘subsidy’ to day care costs in children’s centres.

“They don’t spell out what this means anywhere in their PR spin, but this could spell the end of day care places at children’s centre like the one at Wellholme Park in Brighouse.

“Four years ago, we consulted local parents about precisely this proposal. They told us how damaging it would be, and the Labour council leadership listened and dropped the plan.

“At the time, Brighouse Conservative councillor Scott Benton said –

‘The decision to remove funding from the Children’s Centre will potentially mean that it will have to close. This would be absolutely devastating for the many local parents who rely on the Centre and the excellent care that it provides. … I completely support the parents in trying to keep the Centre open.’

“Now as leader of the Conservative group, he is proposing the very cuts that he opposed just a short time ago – and he is not spelling out his plans to local parents. There are only a few days for parents to comment on the Conservative’s last-minute budget amendment, but I urge people to get in touch and have their say about this damaging proposal.”

In addition to the Children’s Centre at Wellholme Park, Brighouse, the Conservative cuts could also threaten day care at centres from Todmorden to Halifax.

Comparing local and national employment shows we are not ‘all in it together’

Local vs national employmentAlong with the claim that austerity was unavoidable, one of the myths of the previous coalition government was that we were ‘all in this together’ – implying that the pain of their policies was ‘equally shared’ across different parts of the population.

And the same rhetoric has continued under the Conservative government since 2015.

The facts tell a different story. For example, since 2010, the number of people employed by Calderdale Council has fallen by almost 1300. By contrast, central Government now employs MORE people than it did in 2010.

The chart below shows the trends in employment by national and local government. The blue line shows that central Government employment is now on an upwards trajectory and is higher than when the coalition came to power in 2010 – whilst local government staffing has steadily fallen.

So local council staff – that’s the people who look after our parks, work in our libraries, run our children’s centres and nurseries, care for older people and the vulnerable – they are the ones targeted by the Conservatives for cuts. Not central Government.

All in it together? We don’t think so!

Local vs national employment
Local vs national employment

Public will have just one week to consider Conservative budget plans

After Labour’s criticism of them yesterday, the leader of Calderdale Conservative group has now said that they will be publishing their budget amendment tomorrow – just one week before the Council votes to agree a budget. Labour council leader Tim Swift said, “Calderdale is facing massive challenges as a result of the Conservative Government’s cuts.… Continue Reading

Autumn Statement ignores social care crisis, says Council Leader

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… Continue Reading

Further Government back down over forced academy plans

Labour 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… 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… Continue Reading

Government policy to blame for Todmorden Sixth Form closure

The 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… Continue Reading

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

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