Calderdale Liberal Democrats support #visitmymosque

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Cllrs James Baker, Marilyn Greenwood, Ashley Evans and Janet Battye along with Town Council candidate Jonny Gale

 

Last Sunday a group of Calderdale Liberal Democrats including three Calderdale Councillors went along to visit the Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith Mosque on Hopwood Lane. The open day was part of a national #visitmymosque day where Mosques across the country opened their doors to people of all faiths and no faiths.

Councillor James Baker, leader of Calderdale Liberal Democrats said: “I think it is important to try and understand different religions and to build bridges with neighbours in our communities rather than erecting walls and divisions. We all received a very warm welcome and learnt more about both the religion of Islam and the good charitable work that the Mosque does within the local community. As Liberals we are very much committed to interfaith dialogue.”

 

 

 

Congratulations to her Majesty the Queen for 65 years on the throne

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The Queen’s Sapphire Jubliee has been marked with a 41 gun salute. The Queen is the first ever ruling monarch to reach a Sapphire Jubilee. #

Councillor James Baker, leader of Calderdale Liberal Democrats said “The Queen has dedicated 65 years of her life to public service as the Monarch of the United Kingdom, her historic reign is worthy of our respect and admiration.”

Halifax’s Labour MP set to back Tory and UKIP’s Hard Brexit.

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Theresa May has said she wants to take the UK out of the single market. This is the hard Brexit that the likes of Nigel Farage and UKIP have campaigned for. Despite this Halifax’s Labour MP Holly Lynch has said she will back the Conservative Government’s plans to trigger Article 50 and vote to take us out of the EU.

A hard Brexit will put jobs in Calderdale at risk, and make people struggling to get by poorer. That’s why Calderdale Liberal Democrats are challenging the Government’s plans. We respect the result of the referendum, but we also think people should be given the democratic choice to have their say on the final deal, and if they don’t like the facts of that deal to change their minds.  The Liberal Democrats will only vote to trigger Article 50 if the British people get a say on the final deal.

Councillor James Baker who has been selected to stand for Halifax for the Liberal Democrats if there is a snap general election said:

“From Trump to Putin, to the far right parties here in the UK, an ugly nationalism is on the rise. Trump who backs Brexit and is friends with Farage wants the EU to fail ”

“The European Union was forged after the second world war to prevent conflict, and to protect the rights of European citizens. It seeks to bring people of different nations and different backgrounds together in a project of peace, security and human endeavour.”

“If Labour vote for Article 50 as Corbyn has instructed they will be helping Theresa May pursue a hard Brexit. A Brexit that will see us having to suck up to Trump a man who wants to destroy the EU.  If Holly Lynch backs Brexit she will be on the wrong side of history.”

 

Brexit austerity means extra cuts for Calderdale Council

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Councillor James Baker, leader of Calderdale Liberal Democrats reports

Throughout the coalition years Liberal Democrats took a lot of flak for undertaking the difficult task of working to bring back proper management of the nation’s finances after years of reckless Labour spending. Sadly it seems all of this effort was thrown out of the window at the last Autumn Statement when the Chancellor Philip Hammond announced an extra £122Bn borrowing to pay for Brexit. This is money that could be spent on our NHS or protecting local Councils from cuts.

People will have heard in the news that the cost of social care continues to rise as the population ages, and with moves to restrict immigration there will be fewer younger workers able to pay taxes and contribute to this burden. The cost of social care is so great that a Conservative run Council in Surrey is proposing a 15% Council tax rise.

Faced with continued government cuts, and increasing social care costs it would be disingenuous to lay the blame for Calderdale Council’s tough budget decisions solely at the hand of the local Labour administration. However that does not mean there isn’t scope for improvements locally. The budget is incredibly tight, but we believe there are some additional savings to be made that the administration hasn’t explored.

One example for instance would be to transfer more services to local Town and Parish Councils. In the next few weeks the Liberal Democrat group on Calderdale will be exploring some savings ideas, and we hope to bring forward amendments to the budge that will help tackle problems such as speeding, littering and fly tipping and anti-social behavior.

On a final note I must comment on what is presented in the Council’s budget as an ‘investment’ in children and social care services. The reality is this ‘investment’ is simply a year delay in previously planned cuts and savings. If these savings has been made as previously planned and agreed we would have found ourselves in an improved financial situation this year.

Work starts on Hebden Bridge market

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“After all this time, it’s really pleasing to see work starting in Lees Yard in Hebden Bridge so that the market can move there and run through from Thursday to Sunday every week” says former LibDem Calderdale Councillor Janet Battye. “I’ve been leading this work on behalf of Hebden Bridge Partnership for over 10 years and this is the culmination of it. The work is now scheduled to be completed in early April.

“We are now turning the “Working Group” into a “Forum” to ensure the sustainability of the market in the long term. We particularly want to make sure that the Saturday market is a success. In our first meeting of the forum, we agreed that this would be loosely based around local Arts and Crafts with a wide range of stalls giving an opportunity for local people to show and sell their wares, adding to the goods on offer in local shops. It’s all part of making sure that businesses continue to thrive in Hebden Bridge”

Calderdale Christmas Tree Recycling

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Unfortunately Calderdale Council isn’t providing lots of extra recycling points for Christmas trees. However they will be accepted in the green waste skips at any of the 5 Household Waste Recycling Centres. Remember to remove all decorations are removed before depositing in the skip!

There is also a temporary collection point at Ogden Water Visitor Centre, Ogden Lane, Causeway Foot, Halifax, HX2 8XZ. This is for trees with roots that can then be replanted around Ogden Water.

Artificial trees should either be given to charity shops or deposited in the general waste skips at the Council’s recycling centres.

we wanted to wish everyone in Calderdale a very Merry Christmas. We hope all of you have a very relaxing Christmas break with your friends and family. Our thoughts especially go out to anyone who is on their own this year, or who have lost loved ones.

2016 has been a tumultuous year in politics, we hope that at Christmas we can all come together and put politics to one side and focus on our loved ones. Here is to hoping that 2017 is full of hope and progress for us.

Below you will find a load of useful information to help ensure your Christmas break goes smoothly.

Bereavement Services

The Crematorium will be closed 25th December – 27th December and on 2nd January.

The Books of Remembrance will be open on all the above dates for visitors

Cemeteries – Open all year round (on call on bank holidays)


Contact Centre

The Contact Centre will close at 5pm on Friday 23rd December 2016.

The service will reopen on Wednesday 28th December 2016 at 8.45am.

The Contact Centre will also close on Monday 2nd January due to Bank Holiday.


Customer First

All Customer First offices will operate normal working hours on Friday 23rd December 2016.

Customer First offices will reopen on Wednesday 28th December 2016.

Sowerby Bridge Customer First will be closed on 23rd and 30th December


Household Waste Collections

Christmas and New Year Waste and Recycling Collection Dates. Collections will be a day later than usual due to bank holidays:

Usual collection day Changed collection day
Monday 26th December 2016 Tuesday 27th December 2016
Tuesday 27th December 2016 Wednesday 28th December 2016
Wednesday 28th December 2016 Thursday 29th December 2016
Thursday 29th December 2016 Friday 30th December 2016
Friday 30th December 2016 Saturday 31st December 2016
Monday 2nd January 2017 Tuesday 3rd January 2017
Tuesday 3rd January 2017 Wednesday 4th January 2017
Wednesday 4th January 2017 Thursday 5th January 2017
Thursday 5th January 2017 Friday 6th January 2017
Friday 6th January 2017 Saturday 7th January 2017

All collections should be back to your usual collection day by Monday 9th January.

Please recycle all that you can, every week.


Household Waste Recycling Centres

Household Waste Recycling Centres will be closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day and will operate Sunday opening hours on 27th December and 2nd January.

Find your nearest HWRC and check opening times – Recycling Sites


Libraries

All Calderdale Libraries will be closed on 25th, 26th and 27th December, and on 1st and 2nd January.

Normal opening hours resume from 3rd January.

For any enquiries about seasonal opening hours, please ring 01422 392630.


Licensing

Licensing services will be unavailable on 25th, 26th, 27th December and 2nd January.


Museums and art galleries

Bankfield Museum
24th December 10am – 3pm
25th December – 1st January Closed
2nd January 10am – 4pm

 

Shibden Hall
24th December 10am – 3pm
25th December – 1st January Closed

 

Smith Art Gallery
24th December 10am – 2pm
25th December – 28th December Closed
29th December – 31st December 10am – 2pm
1st January – 2nd January Closed

Registrars

The Register Office will be closed on 25th, 26th, 27th December and 2nd January.


Sports centres and swimming pools

For information on all facilities please visit the individual Sports Venues.


Victoria Theatre Box Office

The Box Office will be closed on Christmas Day and New Years Day.

Storm Barbara – Weather alert

Calderdale Council has continued to monitor developments of the two weather systems, sharing information with both the Environment Agency and the Met Office:

  • There are two weather systems moving over the UK between the 23 and 25 December. The first of these systems has been named Storm Barbara
  • The principal risk is wind, but we will possibly experience some heavy rain tomorrow afternoon and conversations are ongoing with the Environment Agency on this
  • Friday 23 December – A warning has been issued by the Met Office for Wind, valid from 7am Fri 23 until midnight Fri 23, giving low likelihood of medium impacts. Gust speeds are currently rated as 50 to 60mph widely across the warning area, locally up to 70mph
  • Sunday 25 December – A warning has been issued by the Met Office for Wind, valid from 3am Sun 25 until 6pm Sun 25, giving very low likelihood of medium impacts. Gust speeds are currently rated as 50 to 60mph widely across the warning area, locally up to 70mph
  • During both events, vulnerable structures could be at risk of damage. Damage to roofs, falling tiles and large branches will present a hazard. Transport and utility disruption is possible, and high-sided vehicles will also be at risk
  • The two weather systems are fast moving (due to the wind)and as a consequence subject to change but there is a high degree of confidence in the forecast
  • Those experiencing the brunt of the impacts are in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Northern England. West Yorkshire and Calderdale are just within the warning areas
  • No warnings have been issued for rain at this time, but if indications from the forecasting suggest this will change we will update you accordingly
  • The good news is that after the systems have passed through, the indications are for things to settle down again from Boxing Day onwards

Regardless of the current weather forecast Calderdale Council and partners continue to work on our response and preparedness for flooding.  We are engaged in active dialogue with the West Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum, senior officers across the partnership both locally and regionally, and importantly with Council staff and volunteers who will open and staff our Community Hubs if in the unlikely event they are required. As we move towards the Holiday period the Council has invested in additional resources during its out of hours period to ensure that it can respond effectively to any emerging risk and/ or threat.

Just to reassure you, the sharing of information between key agencies will continue in real time with constant monitoring of the weather and agreed identification of risk/ threat.

Further real time information is available via Eye on Calderdale – http://eyeoncalderdale.com/

Please do check travel advice if you are travelling over the Christmas period, drive carefully. Look out for other motorists and have a safe journey!

Liberal Democrats Slam Council’s Refusal to Debate

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Liberal Democrat councillors have slammed the decision to end the Council meeting before debating a number of important issues put forward by councillors.

Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Cllr James Baker (Warley) told us: “It’s a disgrace that councillors voted to end the meeting before important issues for Calderdale residents could be debated.”

“If some people wanted to get off early, they could have just left, leaving those of us who are concerned about these things got on with our jobs as councillors.”

“We had put forward motions on cuts to local pharmacies and doing more to support small schools. These should have been discussed, as should the Labour motions on buses and pensions, and the Conservative motion on the EU referendum. We could have discussed at least one of these in the time it took to decide to end the meeting.”

“The plan is that these issues will appear on the agenda for the next Council meeting, but that isn’t until the middle of February. By that time the Council may have missed the opportunity to influence events, and other pressing issues may well have come up and need to be debated.”

Cllr Baker concluded: “Some councillors were clearly uncomfortable with closing down debates in this way, but they still voted for it. The Liberal Democrat group did not.”

Conservatives Fail to Deal With NHS Blackhole

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The autumn statement shows a Brexit blackhole at the centre of government finance. Parliament has heard that hundreds of billions will be taken out of the economy just when we need it most.

Liberal Democrats across our area and the country have been pushing the government to put their money where their mouth – with an immediate £4 billion cash injection to stop the impending winter NHS funding crisis.

Commenting on the Autumn Statement, Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said:

“Figures forecast a rise in unemployment and a fall in living standards.

“We are seeing a drop in tax receipts of £8.2 billion over the next two years alone. That’s enough to fund over 330,000 nurses. In response the Chancellor offered nothing but reheated headlines and recycled announcements.

“He and his Government are not competent to deal with the challenges ahead. They are going to hit people in the pocket through their hapless handling of Brexit, and Labour can offer no opposition, having backed them on Brexit.

“Yet, the Liberal Democrats have consistently campaigned for more funding for the NHS as we are on the edge of another winter crisis and our health service is at breaking point but yet the government has turned a deaf ear to these calls.

“Sadly now patients will pay the price. There is also nothing for public sector workers, our doctors, teachers and armed forces, who deserve a proper pay rise.”

Councillor James Baker leader of Calderdale Liberal Democrats said:

“Before the referendum we were promised £350 million a week for the NHS.”

“I know the Conservatives have never really backed the NHS, but I did think they might be good enough to at least live up to their word. ”

 

Last chance to save the old Ferney Lee Grammar school building ?

The planning application to demolish the old Ferney Lee Grammar school and build a new school, is coming to Calderdale Council’s Planning Committee on Tuesday next week (December 6th).

“It is disheartening, to say the least, that Calderdale Council is not listening to the feelings of local people about the importance of this old building” says Liberal Democrat Todmorden Town Councillor Janet Battye.

“What is even worse, from the report to the Planning Committee, the Council seems not to have taken any advice from any experts in old buildings, not even its own Conservation Officers.

“It seems to me, and a lot of other local people, that it’s just not good enough to say that the old school has to be knocked down to build the new one. It doesn’t. It’s a large site so there are choices as to how to use it. This important building shouldn’t just be demolished for a car park or a playground.

“This is the place where our two Nobel Prizewinners had their formative, early science education and inspiration. I think that it’s a fine, Edwardian building. I have long said that if the Council doesn’t want to retain it for its own use, it should put it on the market so that other people, who might appreciate, have the opportunity to conserve it and bring it back into use.

“Local people are saying that it’s a “done deal” and, to my mind, the Council do seem to be intent on demolishing it. I hope that they will at least pause, take more advice, and think about it again before they take this final step. I thought that the era of needlessly demolishing old buildings had long passed”.