Speeding Traffic Concerns

PB and SIDResidents’ concerns over speeding motorists in parts of the Greetland and Stainland ward have led to the Speed Indicator Device (SID) being used to get a more accurate picture of the problem.

Cllr Paul Bellenger (Liberal Democrat, Greetland and Stainland) says: “I take these concerns very seriously, so I visited the areas myself to get a clearer indication of which roads were more of a hotspot. I passed this information on to Council officers and requested the deployment of SID, which was set up in Greetland and Sowood on a number of dates during July.”

“The results were very interesting. Having watched SID in action monitoring vehicles we noticed that our perceptions were often very different to the SID results. Vehicles that we thought were travelling way above the speed limit were actually often close to it. What looks like speeding to someone on foot often isn’t.”

“However, the speeds of some motorists in some areas were too great and this information has been passed onto West Yorkshire Police. I hope they will be taking action to bring speeds down to a safe level.”

“Speeding traffic is a concern in many communities and we will continue to work with the Council and the police throughout the ward and do what we can to make it safer” said Paul.

Liberal Democrat Environmental Budget Changes Agreed

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Local Liberal Democrat Councillors have succeeded in getting proposals on affordable warmth and reducing the use of energy in council buildings included in Calderdale Council’s budget plans.

“We think that it’s time that Calderdale Council took some serious action on issues that it’s been talking about for a long time” says Cllr James Baker (Liberal Democrat, Warley), Chair of the Council’s Economy and Environment Scrutiny Panel.

Councillor Baker said: “I’m delighted that the affordable warmth scheme I proposed was agreed. Around 93 people a year in Calderdale die prematurely as a result of living in cold homes. These people are all someone’s grandparents, friends and relatives. Now some of the money saved by the Council through the better use of technology will be used to fund a £1.4millon programme of work to insulate some of the coldest houses in the borough. Lives will be saved from this measure, and many more people will have their quality of life improved by being lifted out of fuel poverty. It will also reduce the burden of costs placed upon the NHS as prevention is cheaper for the taxpayer than cure. I would have expected Labour to understand and support this, but they didn’t.”

This scheme simply wouldn’t have happened without the support of Calderdale residents who vote Liberal Democrat in local elections. It is a crying shame that Labour failed to back this measure, simply because we proposed it and they did not want to be seen backing a Liberal Democrat amendment. I can’t understand that kind of party political petty mindedness.

Cllr Janet Battye (Liberal Democrat, Calder), a member of the Calder Energy Futures group added: “We also want the Council to reduce its use of energy and reduce carbon emissions. This needs some investment, but lower energy bills means that the Council should get this money back within 5 years and continue to save money after that. Labour didn’t support that either.”

Why don’t Labour understand the value of consultation?

Local Liberal Democrats are frustrated that Labour councillors don’t seem to value the Council talking to local people through public consultation.

Cllr Janet Battye (Liberal Democrat, Calder Ward) told us: “It was very frustrating to have to listen to Labour councillors saying that consulting the public wasn’t necessary, and that only the election results mattered. Five years ago, when the Council was faced with making substantial changes and savings, we conducted a large public consultation exercise. It wasn’t simply a matter of asking people for “yes” or “no” answers; but working through a number of exercises with them and encouraging them to tell us what they thought. Thousands of people responded in various ways – my own ward forum in Hebden Bridge was packed out. They shared their ideas with us and we listened and thought about it.”

“That work resulted in the Council adopting a set of principles and priorities – protecting local services, working closely with other organisations to deliver services, raising charges. That guided our budget proposals for the following few years.

“Five year on, we believe that it is time to do this again, to have a real conversation with local people and listen to what they say to help shape services over the next few years.”

“Liberal Democracy is about sharing power with people” said Cllr James Baker (Liberal Democrat, Warley ward). “Labour think it is only about winning elections and then doing what they want. The last Labour government tried to encourage councils to engage more with their residents, but that clearly had no effect on the current Labour councillors.”

Council Budget Agreed – Labour Plans Rejected

Liberal Democrat councillors have supported a budget for Calderdale Council that will deliver:

  • A Council tax freeze
  • A 20% saving in the Council’s energy bills to be achieved through an investment in LED lighting in Council buildings and solar panels
  • A £1.4m investment in an affordable warmth insulation scheme that it’s estimated will save the NHS £4.65m in associated health costs.
  • All future savings the Council has to make in 2017/18 to be shaped by a major public consultation this summer.

In Contrast Labour’s plans would have meant:

  • Council tax rises in two out of the next three years
  • Money taken out of the road maintenance budget
  • An £800,000 cut in Children Services in 2017/18
  • No public Consultation

Liberal Democrat group leader Councillor Janet Battye (Calder) said “We would have preferred to see all the parties represented on the council work towards an agreed budget, but that clearly didn’t happen. That being the case, we had to choose between proposals put forward by the Cabinet and those put forward by the Labour group. Both have their good points and their bad, but in the end we thought the Labour proposals had more bad than good points. We couldn’t support Labour as they have made it clear they will put up taxes and won’t consult with residents across Calderdale about the future of the Council.”

Deputy leader of the Liberal Democrat group Councillor James Baker (Warley) said “There was a clear choice on the table. The amended budget we supported will consult with local people whereas Labour would have cut funds from road maintenance, cut from children services, and put up taxes to spend on the schemes they have decided they want to pursue.”

Number of children in prison cut by half, new figures reveal

The number of children in prison has been cut by a half since the Liberal Democrats came into Government, statistics uncovered by Julian Huppert MP reveal.

Between April 2010 and November 2014 the number of under 18s in custody fell from 2,149 to 1,055 – a drop of 51 per cent.

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert uncovered the figures in an Oral Question to Justice Minister Andrew Selous in the House of Commons this week.

The dramatic drop comes after Liberal Democrats in Government pushed for the Youth Justice Board to have more powers to help rehabilitate offenders in the community, rather than locking them up.

Now Dr Huppert is calling for a Women’s Justice Board to be set up in the next Parliament to take similar action to cut down the number of women in custody. This follows calls by Simon Hughes – the Lib Dem Justice Minister – to do the same.

Liberal Democrat Julian Huppert MP said in the chamber:

“That is a substantial decrease and it is very welcome, particularly at a time when crime is falling.

“Much of it has been due to the excellent work of the Youth Justice Board, which should be congratulated.”

He added later:

“We have been working hard in government to cut re-offending rates and keeping young people out of prison goes a long way to preventing them from picking up bad habits.

“Working to rehabilitate them in their communities, where they can be productive and learn new skills, helps to get their lives back on track. Not only is this important for the individual concerned, but it makes good economic sense for the taxpayer as well.

“The Youth Justice Board has done some excellent work with young people and I am confident similar work could be put into practice to help women stay out of prison. Women are often the backbone of a family and giving them custodial sentences can have a huge effect on the children.

“It is absolutely clear from the results we have seen with youth offending in a relatively short time that the measures we have put in place are working. We know that prison doesn’t work. People get into a revolving door situation where they go to prison, come out and reoffend and go back in again. We have to cut our prison population and I am very encouraged by the results we are seeing.”

Update on how bad weather is impacting on Council services

Service Service is… Brief message for customers
 

Bins (inc recycling and waste)

 

 

Suspended

 

All waste and recycling collection services are suspended until further notice. Conditions will continue to be monitored, and weather permitting services will restart tomorrow from where they finished today. Please be patient, leave materials out and crews will get to you as soon as they can. Household waste sites are closed from midday today.

 

 

Roads (inc gritting, salt bins and road closures)

 

 

All gritting crews are out to keep major routes open. We are not aware of any road closures at the moment. Please take extra care if you need to drive on untreated surfaces.

 

School closures

 

 

Please see www.calderdale.gov.uk

 

Home care

 

If your home care or day care service is disrupted due to adverse weather your home care / day care provider will call you or your representative to inform you of any changes to your care provision.

 

If you are concerned about your care provision please contact Gateway to Care on 01422 393000 between 8.45am and 5.30pm from Monday to Thursday, and 8.45am to 5pm on Friday.

 

 

Bereavement Services

 

 

As normal

 

 

Operating as normal. Please take extra care on the drive.

 

 

Transport

 

 

As normal

 

 

Operating as normal. Some delays may occur due to road conditions and some areas may be inaccessible.

 

Registrars

 

 

As normal

 

 

Open as usual. Please take extra care on the drive and in the car park.

 

Libraries

 

As normal

 

 

Libraries that are due to be open today are expected to be open normal hours. Most library items can also be renewed by phone (01422 288040 / 288028) or online athttp://www.calderdale.gov.uk/leisure/libraries/index.html

Calderdale Lib Dems call for protection of “discretionary services”

We are dismayed at the Conservative Cabinet’s proposals that “discretionary services” should take the biggest cut if large savings have to be made in three years’ time (2017/18). Cutting “discretionary services” could mean anything from shutting libraries, stopping giving grants to voluntary organisations, to reducing gritting to a bare minimum.

The Cabinet Budget proposes that £2.6m needs to be found from a review of these services, out of a total savings figure of £9.4m.

“We want to see the Council become as lean and efficient as possible and, indeed, joining services up could even produce better services. It’s also important that the Council continues to work even more closely with local people and community groups as well as with other public sector bodies such as Police and Health” says Cllr Janet Battye, Leader of the Liberal Democrat group.

“When we consulted local people in 2010, they asked us to protect local services and that’s what we still want to do. So we welcome the Cabinet’s proposals to involve the public in these important decisions, but we have real concerns that the largest amount of proposed savings are targeted at “discretionary services”

Councillor James Baker said “At the moment, there are no details on what these proposals actually mean. We are worried because many local services that are valued by local people, such as libraries, youth services and swimming pools may be cut because these can all be classed as “discretionary services”.

“We’ll be making some proposals about where we think more money could be found to ensure that these services stay open.”

Terrorism must not the excuse to curb civil liberties

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Dr Mick Taylor writes:

The world has seen a rise is senseless and appalling attacks on people exercising the right of free speech. Most immediate is the slaughter of the editor and staff at Charlie Hebdo in France by people who claim to have been offended by the magazine, which regularly lampoons both politics and religion.

Whilst the coming together of millions of people of all political opinions and religious persuasions from across the world to condemn this terrorism is a very positive and welcome sign, the predictable response from authoritarian political voices has been for more repression and more attacks on civil liberties.

Now we all know of the anti civil liberty policies of the last Labour Government with its control orders 45 days detention and ID cards to mention but some of its unappealing legislation whilst in government. We are also clear of where Tories stand on this issue as Home Secretary Teresa May calls daily for more unchecked powers for the police and security services, predicated on the false assumption that somehow this will make us safer.

So we welcome the unequivocal statements by Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg that the current proposals wending their way through Parliament are unacceptable in their present form. He is calling for their amendment to take account of the grave concerns expressed by the parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights. Whilst that may not be enough for everybody it’s certainly a great deal better than the current bill.

Here’s some of what Nick Clegg said about civil liberties following the Charlie Hebdo outrage.

“The irony appears to be lost on some politicians who say in one breath that they will defend freedom of expression and then in the next advocate a huge encroachment on the freedom of all British citizens.
Let’s remember, the so-called snooper’s charter was about was about storing the social media activity and the websites visited by every single man, woman and child in this country – by everyone ….
It’s not about dark [spaces on the web]; it’s about do I think with scooping up vast amounts of information on millions of people – children, grandmothers, grandparents, elderly people who do nothing more offensive than visiting garden centre websites. Do I think that is a sensible use of our resources and our time? No. Does it address the issue which you quite rightly identified and the agency quite rightly identified which is, as technology mutates, as this globalised industry becomes more and more global, how do we make sure that we continue to have the reach into those dark spaces so that terrorists cannot hide from it? I don’t think so”

Nick Clegg also defended the right of Charlie Hebdo to publish the image of Mohammed on their cover because “we have to keep our values safe.” He said that

“We shouldn’t self-censor for fear of causing offence. You can’t have freedom unless you have the right to offend people. People should not seek to impose their ideas on those they share society with.”

Nick also said that the right to privacy was qualified.

“If someone wants to do us harm, we should be able to break their privacy and go after their communications.”

Nick Clegg is the only British political leader speaking up for free speech and civil liberty. Both Cameron and Milliband want to curb civil liberties in the name of fighting terrorism.