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Widow’s Pension Cuts: Cruel and Unnecessary

The Widow’s Pension is designed to help create security and safety for families when they lose a loved one. But this week it is under attack from a new wave of Government cuts. With less money being paid to widows, widowers and surviving civil partners from April 2017 onward.

The changes will only effect those families who lose a loved one after April 6th 2017.

The new rules will add pressure to families when they’re struggling most. Families who’ve just lost a parent are learning to cope on a single income and with one fewer parent. The previous system helped to ease the financial stress with a ‘parachute payment’ which is now greatly decreased.

Families with a terminally ill parent are facing the worst of it, with many having planned for life under the old system now having to look again at the support they can offer to their children or loved ones.

If you want the Government to change it’s mind and reverse cuts to bereavement benefits then please share this article with friends and family.

If these changes effect you, friends or family you should visit www.turn2us.org.uk to get support and help.

Dirty tricks played on Liberal Democrats in Hipperholme and Lightcliffe election campaign

It’s disappointing to report that someone is playing dirty tricks in the Hipperholme and Lightcliffe by-election. This is being done by posting out our campaign material that was delivered to residents by hand, without any paid postage on it.  I am informed that Images of this are then being shared on Facebook, and I was sent the above image by someone who had seen such a post.  I believe the intention here is to damage our campaign as people who receive it will then have to pay to pick it up without knowing the content. Obviously whoever then received the letter may be posting it online not even aware that someone else has sent it to them.

We know 100% that this wasn’t posted out by ourselves or even a volunteer on our campaign by mistake. All of the letters were stuffed into blue envelopes, and then delivered by hand. It is clearly a white envelope pictured. Someone has therefore taken out the letter and re-posted it using their own envelope. Clearly we have no way of knowing who has done this. Whether it is one disgruntled voter or something organised by another political party. It is however a very disappointing tactic to see being used in any election in Calderdale.

Alisdair McGregor’s Manifesto for Hipperholme and Lightcliffe Ward

Action on Traffic Problems

 

Alisdair has been actively campaigning to tackle traffic issues affecting the area. He has delivered 1,000 letters with petitions in to people who live around the area. You can sign the petition for action on traffic issues here.
Our plan to tackle traffic problems include:

  • Petitioning the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to fund a feasibility study into the problem. This study will look not just at the cross roads but the road and travel network across the whole area including East Halifax, Wyke, Hipperholme, Bradford and Brighouse.
  • Campaigning to upgrade the traffic light signalling to the latest computer technology.
  • Campaigning to reopen train stations such as the old one at Hipperholme.
  • Examining possibility of new roads in the area.
  • Promoting public transport and improving bus routes.
  • A study looking at whether low emissions zones would help tackle air pollution in Calderdale.
  • Real-time monitoring of air quality management zones.
  • £100,000 secured in this year’s Council budget by the Liberal Democrats to help fund a traffic cop in Calderdale.

 

A Democratic and open Council

 

Calderdale Liberal Democrats are the only party to have produced a local manifesto. We are still campaigning to implement our 2015 manifesto on the Council and you can read this here. All of our policies are democratically voted on and developed by local members who are all residents in Calderdale.

 
Open minded Liberal Values

 
We live in divided times full of fear, anger and distrust but it doesn’t have to be like that. We have the power to overcome our differences if we embrace an open mind set of Liberal tolerance. Alisdair will uphold real British value of openness and tolerance, to all people.

 
Defending Public Services

 
Alisdair will work to protect local services. The government is now having to borrow extra money to pay for the cost of Brexit. This means that Conservative cuts to local services are continuing unnecessarily. Alisdair will campaign to protect services, such as the Stroke Unit at Calderdale Royal Hospital which is under threat of closure.

 
Protecting Green Spaces.

 
Alisdair will oppose development on green belt land that surrounds Hipperholme, Norwood Green, Bailiff Bridge and Lightcliffe, and campaign to improve our local parks and recreational facilities. We believe our housing needs should be met with new garden town and cities. We have a petition on protecting green spaces that you can sign here.

 
Clean and Tidy Neighbourhoods.

 
We will prioritise the basic Council services to keep our local area free from potholes, fly-tipping, and graffiti. We will campaign for increased recycling facilities for residents. This year we secured £100,000 in the Council budget to setup an environmental task force to tackle crimes such as fly-tipping.

Campaign launched to Save our Stroke Unit

Calderdale Liberal Democrats campaigning to save our Stroke Unit

Calderdale Liberal Democrats are launching a campaign to oppose the possible closure of the Stroke Unit at Calderdale Royal Hospital.

The West Yorkshire and Harrogate Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) states that officials “need to reduce the number of hyper-acute stroke units across West Yorkshire and Harrogate” in an attempt to plug a £1bn funding shortfall by 2020/21. Calderdale’s Stroke Unit is believed to be particularly at risk.

Councillor James Baker, leader of Calderdale Council’s Liberal Democrat group, said: “Calderdale Liberal Democrats are outraged that leading members of this Conservative Government stood in front of a bus promising £350m a week extra for the NHS, but are now failing to ensure the NHS has the funding it needs to provide vital services here in Calderdale.”

“We are not going to stand by and watch the lies that we would have extra for our health service go unchallenged. Nationally, we are demanding an extra £4bn cash injection into the NHS and care services. We have suggested that, in the short term, more funding for the NHS could be raised through an extra 1p on income tax. This would tackle the crisis in our health service until a long term plan can be put in place.”

“When Stroke fights you need to act F.A.S.T. as every minute helps. That’s why it’s essential we retain our acute Stroke Services here at Calderdale Royal Hospital. We are launching a campaign to save our local Stroke Services, and I would urge everyone to support our campaign by signing our petition online.

Council Asked to Think Again About Cragg Vale School Closure

Members of Calderdale Council’s Liberal Democrat Group are asking the Council to think again about the closure and relocation of Cragg Vale Junior and Infant School.

The Council’s Cabinet agreed earlier this month that the school should close and be amalgamated with Calder High School on part of the high school’s site. That decision has now been ‘called-in’ for further discussion by the Children and Young People Scrutiny Panel on Monday 27 March.

Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson, Cllr Ashley Evans said: “In spite of concerns raised by parents during the consultation period, the authority still intends to go ahead with the closure and relocation of Cragg Vale School. I believe that parents succumbed to pressure from the authority – they gave up, feeling that their concerns were not going to be taken into account.”

“I share their concerns about the impact on the children and their community and locating a junior school within a senior school environment. There is also a feeling that the local authority is overstating the number of additional primary places needed and I am worried about the impact this will have on other local primary schools such as Burnley Rd and Scout Rd, potentially affecting their viability.”

“My overriding concern is that this move could be the thin end of the wedge in relation to closing down small rural schools with the inevitable effect on communities and the provision of a small school education from which many young children benefit” said Cllr Evans.

Conservatives break manifesto pledge and hike up NI on self-employed

Figures reveal Calderdale will be among the hardest hit areas in Yorkshire in terms of the NI hike on self-employed people. The Chancellor broke a Conservative manifesto pledge by proposing to increase National Insurance contributions for the self-employed, hitting them with an average cost of £240 a year.

Figures from the Office of National Statistics show there are over 15,000 self-employed workers in Calderdale making up 11.6% of the total workforce.

The government has also announced cuts to corporation tax are still set to go ahead at a cost of over £2.5 billion a year.

Councillor James Baker, Leader of Calderdale Liberal Democrats commented:

“This will come as a major shock to the thousands of self-employed people in Calderdale already facing a Brexit squeeze to living standards.

“This breaks a Conservative manifesto commitment not to raise National Insurance levels.

“This government is giving tax cuts to wealthy corporations and tax rises to hard-working entrepreneurs.”

“I challenge Craig Whittakker MP to make clear about whether they knew this change was coming and whether they will now vote against it.”

Don’t demolish our College

“Don’t demolish Todmorden Community College and give the local community a chance to run it” says local Liberal Democrat Town Councillor Janet Battye. “That’s the simple message that local people are trying to give to Calderdale Council. And nearly 1,000 people have already signed the petition.

“If Calderdale Council decide that they don’t need the building any more, the next thing they should do is to give the opportunity to local people to see if they need it and can run it themselves.

“At this week’s Development Board meeting, it seems that Calderdale Council’s Labour Cabinet is now listening to the views of local people and that it’s likely that, with the probability of the building registered as a “community asset” under the Localism Act, this will “pause” the sale of the building to Aldi for 6 months and give us that time to work the plans up.”

Calderdale Conservative’s nasty budget

Calderdale Conservatives have released their alternative budget for the Council. Under their proposals you will pay more and get less. It is a budget that seeks to balance the books on the poorest and most vulnerable in Calderdale.

Council tax increases are occurring up and down the country. You might have heard on the news about the real crisis that exists in social care funding. A large amount of the Council tax increase you will face are the result of something called the ‘Social Care Precept’. This is money that will be spent on social care, however the extra raised from Council tax is simply making up for money that is being cut by central government. Someone still has to pay for social care, under Conservative Government’s plans it will be funded by Council tax payers, rather than taxation revenues collected by the treasury.

Council tax levels

Under the Council’s Cabinet proposals, Council Tax will rise from the current £1,300.85 to £1,459.48 in 2019/20 (all figures for Band D properties). This is a rise of 12.2% over three years. Under the Conservative proposals, the final figure will be £1,432.82 – a rise of 10.1%, and a difference of £26.66. The difference between the budgets is, then, around 51p per week – less for most people as they are not in Band D properties. Despite Council tax levels rising the overall amount the Council has to spend will decrease. So you will be paying more but getting less under this Conservative Government.

Council Tax Reduction Scheme for people on benefits.

Basically this asks those on benefits to pay more Council Tax.

Currently, a claimant in a Band D property will be paying 19% of £1,300, so £247; under the Conservative proposals, they would be paying (in 2018/19) 30% of £1,405, so £422. This is a rise of around 70%. Most claimants, though, will not be in Band D properties, so the actual amounts are likely to be lower, though the proportions will remain the same. This will push more people into debt and poverty.

Discretionary rate relief. 

The Conservatives are proposing to cut the discretionary business rate relied for charities and sports clubs pay. This means that they will have to pay more business rates, and will have less money to spend on charitable causes.

Cuts to children services

The Conservatives are planning on cutting over £1m a year from the money Children’s Centres get to provide day care services. This will make those services more expensive for working families who rely on the Centres for day care services.

Attacks on Council staff

The Conservatives want to cut sick pay for the first two days off work, make Council staff take two days off work unpaid every year (a cut of apx £200 in staff’s salaries), they also want to move to spot salaries. All of this will involve major changes in terms and conditions, and it might not even be possible to achieve. Ask yourself this if the Council doesn’t pay sick pay for its staff, will your own employer follow suite? The Conservatives are facilitating a race to the bottom in terms of how employers treat their employees.

You can read our proposals for Calderdale Council’s budget here