Extra funding for free early years education

The Government has announced additional funding to provide free early years education to two-year olds across England, bringing the number of families eligible in Calderdale up to a total of 1,400 for 2014 up from from 524 in 2013.

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Across the UK that’s 130,000 two-year olds from the poorest homes will be eligible for 15 hours of free childcare a week with a nursery or childminder.

The Government is investing more than £500 million into childcare this year and £100 million through local authorities to create new places to ensure those children eligible right now can benefit from these places.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:

“From today, if you’re a parent on a low income with a two year old in the family your child will qualify for 15 hours a week of free early years’ education.

“These funded places are focused on helping the families that need them most.”

Next year the Government will be investing £760m to help an additional 130,000 two-year-olds in families on less than £16,190 a year who receive working tax credits.

Commenting Cllr Pauline Nash said:

“This is a welcome announcement for families in Calderdale as early education helps promote a child’s physical, emotional and social development. This extra funding is one example of how we are trying to build a fairer society in which everyone has a chance to get on in life.

 

Campaign to exempt Mountain Rescue services from VAT

Liberal Democrat member of the European Parliament Chris Davies MEP is campaigning to persuade the Government to make our mountain rescue services exempt from paying VAT.

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Tim Farron MP and Chris Davies MEP

Mountain rescue services provide an invaluable service to many people who find themselves in need on our nearby hills and mountains. In last year’s floods they played a crucial role in the emergency response. At present they have to pay VAT on supplies. Chris Davies is calling on the Government to support the service by taking the small step of exempting the service from VAT.

You can sign the petition here.

Liberal Democrats seek to protect rural refuse collections

Liberal Democrats on Calderdale Council’s Economy and Environment Scrutiny Panel have successfully argued that people living in rural properties should still be able to get their rubbish and recycling collected.

The Council is currently in the process of reviewing its waste collection contract, and one of the options on the table for consideration was whether to force people living in rural properties to take their refuse to a road accessible by a larger vehicle.

Commenting Cllr James Baker (Warley) Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Economy and Environment said: “We hope the new contract can build on the recycling success that Calderdale achieves. We were, however, concerned that many people would struggle to take wheelie bins or refuse sacks great distances down country tracks to roads that a bigger vehicle could access. The proposals would also result on piles of rubbish being left scattered about country lanes whilst they waited for collections, this would be a blight on the landscape.”

The scrutiny panel agreed to recommend that these saving plans are dropped from plans for the new waste collection contract.

Liberal Democrats push to make flood recovery process more transparent

Calderdale Council is to look at making information easily available to local people so they can see what progress has been made on flood protection issues.

Over one year on from the floods and many people are concerned that Calderdale Council has not done enough to ensure we are resistant to future flooding problems. By publishing the recovery plan online in an easy accessible and simple format members of the public would be able to track some of the good work that has already happened and what is planned for the future.

Cllr Janet Battye (Calder), Leader of Calderdale Council Liberal Democrat Group said: “We suggested a simple traffic light system is published on the Council’s website, this would enable people to see where the Council has hit its targets for planned works and where problems have resulted in delays. By making the recovery process more transparent people will be kept better informed, and be better able to hold their Council to account.

The   Economy and Environment scrutiny panel agreed to recommend that the Council investigates implementing such as system.

Lib Dem motion to suspend Mytholmroyd car park fees defeated

Calderdale Liberal Democrats have called for a suspension of plans to introduce car parking fees in Mytholmroyd.  Deputy Group leader of the Liberal Democrats Councillor James Baker put forward a motion on the Economy and Environment Scrutiny panel asking that plans to introduce parking fees are shelved in light of the ongoing difficulties faced by businesses struggling to recover from the floods.

The move follows previous efforts by Luddendenfoot ward Councillor John Beacroft-Mitchell to get the charges suspended due to the exceptional economic circumstances faced by flood hit Mytholmroyd. Unfortunately though the Labour group who run Calderdale Council are seeking to push ahead with the plans. This has sparked outrage from local residents, and businesses who are opposed to the plan.

Commenting Councillor James Baker said

“Mytholmroyd has a set of exceptional circumstances, it has a small row of shops that were severely affected by the floods and a lack of any other free parking spaces. These charges will add to the cost of living for residents  and deter people from using local shops.”

Labour ward Councillor and Conservative Chair oppose the motion

The motion was opposed by Councillor Simon Young the Labour Councillor who is meant to stand up for people in Mytholmroyd, and the Conservative Chair of the committee. This was particularly disappointing following the Conservative’s previously expressed opposition to the parking plans. A motion from the panel would have helped the campaign to drop the charges.

Campaign against charges goes on

The Hebden Bridge Times has reported on the campaign against the charges. Liberal Democrats Councillors Tony Hodgins and Christine Bampton-Smith have been working with Royd regeneration in opposing the plans, and helping to inform local residents about them. They were successful in persuading Hebden Royd Town Council to oppose the plans, and write with their objections to Calderdale Council.

Councillor Tony Hodgins said:

“Royd Regeneration wants the best for the shops and it just seems like this is a backward step.”

Time for  a re-think

Calderdale Council needs to cover the costs of its car parks. However we must acknowledge the exceptional circumstances facing some areas  in Calderdale that have been affected by flooding. Shops in Mytholmroyd are really struggling, and desperately need our support to help build a stronger economy so they can get on in life. In light of  the ongoing flood recovery it’s simply not tenable to proceed with plans to impose car parking fees on these communities.

Communities urged to bid for funds

Leader of Calderdale Liberal Democrats Councillor Janet Battye is urging local residents to apply for a share of a new government fund to help plan building projects.

The government has just announced that £17million will be available over the next 18 months to help people meet the costs of the design and planning stages of proposals that will benefit their communities.

 Cllr Battye told us: “People often have good ideas that need more work before they become concrete proposals able to attract the funding to make them happen. I think this new government fund will help people through that difficult middle stage and I urge people to apply.”

 “Playgrounds and Community shops are specifically mentioned among the projects this fund is intended to support, and those are just the sort of thing that we should be encouraging locally. If people have ideas along these lines, I urge them to apply for funding” said Cllr Battye.

 

New powers to protect vulnerable consumers from rogue traders – Swinson

Liberal Democrat Business Minister Jo Swinson has today announced new plans to tackle rogue traders and give better protection to vulnerable and elderly consumers.

Rogue traders cost consumers billions of pounds per year and can cause distress and alarm to people, especially elderly and vulnerable people.

The new proposals amending the Consumer Protection Regulations from Unfair Trading Regulations will:

    • give consumers 90 days to cancel a contract and receive a full refund if they have been misled or bullied into agreeing it. After the 90 days consumers can still receive a proportion of their money back. Currently, it is unclear what consumers are entitled to in this situation
    • give consumers new rights to recover payments made to traders who mislead or bully them into paying money which was not owed. Currently, the trader can be prosecuted but the consumer finds it much more difficult to get their money back; and
    • they will also have the right to claim compensation for any alarm or distress caused by these practices

Jo Swinson said:

“For too long the rules that apply when buying goods and services have been murky for both consumers and businesses. The situation is even worse for vulnerable consumers who are misled into buying something they neither need nor want.

“We want consumers to be confident to shop with a range of traders and to drive rogues out of business. The new rights announced today will mean consumers are entitled to the same level of protection whether they are purchasing goods or services online, at home or in a shop.”

Reviewing the Council’s Waste and Recycling contract

The Economy and Environment Scrutiny Panel will be meeting at Halifax Town Hall on Thursday 8th August, 2013 (commencement time, 6.00pm) to look at the current waste collection and recycling service and find out local residents’ views about the current service and also where the Council can make improvements

The chair of the Economy and Environment Scrutiny Panel, Councillor Scott Benton said:-

“The Councils’ current waste collection contract with SITA UK ends in 2015 and this Scrutiny meeting gives all residents’ who use this important service the opportunity to let the Council know your views on the service delivery and also what aspect(s) of the service you feel could and/or should be improved.

Councillor James Baker, the Deputy Chair of the Scrutiny Panel added: “The Panel is particularly keen to hear residents’ views on their current understanding of the recycling system and how we can encourage residents’ to recycle more in the future. Do residents’ wish to stay with the current system of weekly collections of recycling using a combination of separate boxes and bags for the different types of recycling? Or would you prefer to see another system implemented, such as having two wheelie bins for your recycling; or a wheelie bin for some recycling combined with boxes for glass and food waste; or to suggest any other systems to the above?

Councillors Benton and Baker further added: “The Scrutiny Panel meeting is open to the press and public to attend and we look forward to hearing from many residents’ about the current service and also where the Council can make improvements. The meeting will be held at 6pm on Thursday 8th August, 2013 at Halifax Town Hall”

 

Slowly but surely the Coalition’s economic plan is working – Williams

Commenting on today’s GDP figures showing that the economy grew by 0.6% in the last quarter, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson, Stephen Williams said:

“Fixing the economy was always going to take time, but these figures are further evidence that the Coalition’s plan is working.

“After wrecking the economy, Labour spent the last years rubbishing the Coalition’s growth plan. They were wrong. Slowly but surely the plan is working and the economy is recovering.

“It is particularly encouraging to see the construction sector growing so strongly, providing a much needed boost to house-building, and to see manufacturing on the rise.

“The Liberal Democrats are building a stronger economy and a fairer society, enabling everyone to get on in life. Getting growth going and creating jobs is at the heart of that. We have helped businesses create a million jobs, now we want to help create a million more.”

Halifax Happy Hounds

Calling all dogs and their humans. On Wednesday 31st July from 12-3pm Ling Bob playing fields will be the place to be when Halifax Happy Hounds takes place.

This event is all about promoting responsible dog ownership and is being held in response to the growing concern surrounding dog fouling and responsible owners. The event is being organized by Calderdale Council and promises to be full of fun with activities for all the family.

There will be a host of activities including free microchipping for dogs,  with fun sessions on dog handling, with displays, activities and information from the Council’s Dog Warden Service, RSPCA, Dogs Trust, Yorkshire Animal Ambulance, Positive Pooches and Yorkshire Rose Dog Rescue amongst others. For more information, call Customer First on 0845 245 6000

There will also be lots of useful information and advice available from our experts on a wide range of canine related subjects. The Calderdale Council Dog Wardens will also be on hand to explain about the new Dog Control Orders and what they mean for you. So bring your dog along to get pampered, learn a some new tricks and to meet other dog owners.

Councillor James Bakers said: “I suggested we put on this event to help encourage and reward responsible dog owners. It’s a great event for dogs to come along to and get pampered, they can bring their owners too!”

Councillor Ashley Evans added “We get complaints about dog fouling, and sometimes this is caused by people who struggle to look after a demanding dog.  Responsible dog owners can also feel prosecuted as well, so it’s nice to put on an event where people can get the latest advice, tips and share stories. This is a chance to pamper your pet and make it a happy hound.

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