Revealed – Labour’s secret sell-off plan

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Liberal Democrat councillors in Calderdale have today exposed the previous Labour administration’s plans for a wholesale sell-off of council-owned properties – plans that were to remain under wraps until after next year’s elections.

Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Cllr James Baker said “we only got to find out about these plans by using the Freedom of Information Act but we now know that Labour councillors have discussed selling off at least seven community centres and 15 public toilets, but were not planning to make any of this public until after next year’s local and general elections.”

“When we voted to remove Labour from the leadership of the council in July, we said that one reason was the secretive manner in which they operated. This just shows how right we were.”

“Not only is it appalling that councillors have only found out about these plans by resorting to the Freedom of Information Act, but even worse is the fact that local people would have had no say in the matter. These buildings are provided for their benefit, not the council’s” said Cllr Baker.

“No one wants the council to waste money on unnecessary buildings, but it can only decide what is necessary through holding open discussions within the council and, before that, with the public we are here to serve. I don’t believe Labour were even thinking about such discussions.”

Calderdale Liberal Democrats have urged the council to save money by creating community hubs so people could access public services in the communities they serve. Instead of drawing up a secret list we would have launched an open public consultation on the future of council-owned buildings. This shows a major difference in approach between Labour and the Liberal Democrats, and that Labour cannot be trusted.

Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Cllr Janet Battye said: “This flies in the face of Cllr Tim Swift’s assertion made in May 2013 that the Labour Cabinet would be ‘open and transparent’. When the Council has had to work on other large and difficult issues – such as the improvement of Children’s Social Care, or the work on the Piece Hall – it has been done together, across the political groups, and been more successful because of this. Why didn’t Labour do that this time?”

All the documents detailing the plans can be downloaded from What Do They Know . The Appendix in the following document lists a whole host of buildings that were planned for disposal. The plans also include transferring the Shay Stadium and Victoria theater into community ownership. 

Calderdale Lib Dems call for a Yorkshire Parliament

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Calderdale Liberal Democrats are proposing that a Yorkshire Parliament be established to replace Police & Crime Commissioners and regional quangos such as the City Regions and Combined Authorities.

They argue that the current structures of regional government being established such as the Leeds City Region, the Sheffield City Region and West Yorkshire Combined Authority are undemocratic quangos. The complaint is that the politicians who sit on these bodies are appointed there by other politicians rather than being directly elected by the people they are meant to represent.

Liberal Democrat Councillor James Baker said “John Locke, one of the fathers of classical liberalism, famously said civil government requires the consent of those which are governed to govern. At no point in time did we consent to be governed by regional quangos full of well-paid bureaucrats, and politicians who were appointed there by other politicians. As a democrat I believe all levels of government must be held directly accountable to the people they represent.”

In comparison to the new City Regions and Combined Authorities Yorkshire forms a single recognisable region, with a common culture, dialect, and identity which is one of the strongest in the UK with the population and GDP being roughly equivalent to that of Scotland.

Calderdale Liberal Democrats are taking their proposal to the Liberal Democrats regional Yorkshire & Humber conference taking place on 1st November. If the motion is passed and accepted it will become the policy of regional party to support this move.

Alisdair Calder McGregor the Liberal Democrat prospective parliamentary candidate for Calder Valley said:

“A Parliament for Yorkshire is a no-brainer. Yorkshire has a proud identity, its own dialect, and as many people and as strong an economy as Scotland.

The Tories’ idea of English Votes for English Laws isn’t good enough, because it leaves those votes still taking place in Westminster, and Labour’s idea that they can ignore this entire issue is utterly misguided.

The Scottish referendum has finally exposed that Yorkshire gets a raw deal because of being run from London. It’s time for Yorkshire to run its own affairs. I am proud to champion the long-standing Liberal Policy of local rule.

Let’s cut the shadowy bureaucracies and remote Westminster parliament down to size, and have Yorkshire run for Yorkshire, by Yorkshire and from Yorkshire!”

Calderdale Liberal Democrats motion to Yorkshire conference

New Park on Sandhall Green

Work has commenced on a new park on Sandhall Green in Warley Ward. This work is being undertaken with money from the development of some new houses nearby. Liberal Democrat Councillors James Baker & Ashley Evans requested a list of any such monies still to be spent in Warley Ward, and pushed for it to be spent on improving green spaces.

A full consultation was carried out with local residents, to determine what people would like to see on the Green and the plan produced by Council staff in the Safer Cleaner Greener team represents these views. A link to download a PDF of the plan of the new park is available at the bottom of the page.

Councillor Ashley Evans by Sandhall Green where work has started on a new park.

Councillor Ashley Evans by Sandhall Green where work has started on a new park.

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