Labour pull out of coalition with Lib Dems to protest against benefit cuts.

Since May 2010, Calderdale Council has been run by Liberal Democrats and Labour Councillors working together on a jointly agreed programme. Now the Labour group has decided unilaterally to end this arrangement although the Liberal Democrats were committed to seeing through the current two-year programme that was agreed last year.

Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Calderdale Council, Cllr Janet Battye (Calder ward) says: “The Labour Group have told us that they want to end the local agreement on running Calderdale Council so that they can campaign against Welfare Benefit cuts. However, they seem to have missed the fact Calderdale Council has no power to stop the programme of Benefit Reform: that is being pursued by the national government and is designed in part to help reduce the debt that the last Labour government left this country with when it lost the election in 2010.

This reform, though, has to be done alongside developing the local economy, supporting businesses and creating jobs, to ensure that those people who go out and work get fairly rewarded for their efforts. There is more to running the council than welfare reform, so it is clear that Labour here care more about national politics rather than working constructively to improve the lives of local people here in Calderdale.”

“We feel that Liberal Democrat Councillors have worked constructively with the Labour group since May 2010 to help build a stronger economy and a fairer society here in Calderdale. We have worked intelligently to make savings that meant that the services that matter to people, such as libraries and Sure Start Children’s Centres, were kept open. We conducted extensive public consultation and listened to what people told us.

This is all in stark contrast to Labour-run Councils across the north that lack the economic competence or interest to make smart changes to services and instead simply blame the government for cuts.”