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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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Liberal Democrats launch ‘Save our Pubs’ Campaign

We are launching  a campaign to save Calderdale pubs from threats of closure. Research from CAMRA that shows across the country 26 pubs are closing every week and  if something isn’t done now we risk losing more of our cherished community pubs.

The Coalition government has introduced measures in the localism act to register community facilities such as local pubs as community assets. This power has already been used in Calderdale by campaigns to save the Fox & Goose in Hebden Bridge and the Holy Well Inn in Holywell Green. However we believe both the government and the local Council need to go further to protect our cherished pubs from closure.

FDFYL logo from site

The campaign is asking for a number of practical measures from Calderdale  Council and Government such as reforming large pub companies to giving pubs better protection under planning legislation. We have launched a campaign website and petition at www.savecalderdalepubs.com which local residents are signing to demonstrate their support. We then intend to put forward a motion to Council calling for better protection of pubs. We hope this will receive cross-party support.

 Councillor Janet Battye leader of Calderdale Liberal Democrats said: “Local pubs are hubs of the community and are vitally important, especially in the villages that have lost their post officer or shop. We are running this campaign to get Calderdale Council to take action to protect pubs. ”

Cllr Baker & Battye supporting the Little Valley brewery based in Calderdale. Photograph by Jade Smith.

Cllr Baker & Battye supporting the Little Valley brewery based in Calderdale. Photograph by Jade Smith.

Councillor James Baker said “The coalition has helped reduce the cost of living by scrapping the beer duty escalator.  We think it should go further in lowering beer tax so people can afford to be social and visit their local, rather than having to buy cheap booze from a supermarket.

Labour and Conservatives block attempt to make Calderdale more transparent

Just weeks after Labour took control of Calderdale Council saying that it was going to be “open and transparent” it has turned down an opportunity to extend this to committee minutes.

 Liberal Democrat Councillors Janet Battye and James Baker asked the Council’s Governance and Business Committee to change the rules about minutes for the Council’s Scrutiny Panels and Committees so that they would record which Councillor had proposed and seconded decisions being made.  But this was resoundingly refused by both Labour and Conservative Councillors.

 “If and when schemes like the Copley Valley development or Central Library come under discussion at scrutiny people should have a right to see who has proposed and seconded a course of action ” says Cllr Battye. “How else will they know which Councillors have been taking the lead on matters which can have significant effects on local people and businesses?”

“Labour said that they would be open and transparent in the way that they run the Council, and yet just downed down the first opportunity to do so.”

Manufacturing figures fantastic news – Birtwistle

Commenting on figures showing UK manufacturing growth at a two-year high,

Co-Chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party Committee on Business, Innovation and Skills, Gordon Birtwistle said:

“The Liberal Democrats have helped to create more than a million jobs in the private sector – now we want to help create a million more. Manufacturing is absolutely crucial to that and UK manufacturing growth hitting a two-year high is fantastic news.

“These figures are welcome but there is a long way to go. For years Labour and Conservative governments let British manufacturing collapse, the Liberal Democrats are determined to rebuild it.

“That’s why we are putting billions of pounds into high-tech manufacturing, science and renewable energy. And it’s why we are massively increasing the number of apprenticeships to make sure employers get the skilled workers they need.”

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£91 Million to turn empty houses into homes.

The Liberal Democrat communities Minister Don Foster has announced that towns across England will benefit from £91 million to refurbish and bring back into use over 6,000 empty and derelict homes and commercial premises, particularly in the Midlands and North where the problem is most acute.

The funding will be spent on refurbishment in areas where empty properties have commonly led to problems such as squatting, rat infestation and collapsing house prices, driving remaining residents away. There funding can be accessed through the empty homes funding programme by registered social landlords, and community and voluntary groups.

The government has already invested £130 million to refurbish up to 11,500 empty homes since 2010. This includes £100 million to bring empty property back as affordable housing, and the first ‘clusters of empty homes’ programme investment of £30 million.

In addition New Homes Bonus, under which government matches council tax income on new build or empty homes brought back into use, has supported over 50,000 empty homes being refurbished for people and families to live in and rewarded councils with £59 million. Councils now also have the power to charge owners 150% council tax rate for properties left empty for more than six months, using the money to keep down council tax for ordinary families.

Councillor James Baker deputy leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Calderdale Council said “It’s good news for families on the housing waiting list that our region of the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber has already received  £11,522,648 from the empty homes programme. This extra money from the government will help bring empty houses back into use and provide much needed homes for people. It makes sense to redevelop existing empty homes, as building space for new homes is limited across Calderdale.”

Creating jobs here in Calderdale

We are passionate about crating jobs here in Calderdale. When we were running the Council we made certain that it was helping to support and grow businesses through Business Networks, especially for Creative, Manufacturing, Green and Tourism. We worked more closely with Calderdale College and local universities to develop skills and we set up Business breakfasts so that the Council can talk directly to businesses.

In government Liberal Democrats have

 

  • Helped 1.2 million people start an apprenticeship since 2010, including 5,140 in Calderdale.
  • Giving up to 2,930 businesses and charities in Calderdale a £2,000 jobs tax cut. This could be worth up to £10,400,000 in tax cuts and could enable every local business to employ one extra person on a £22,400 salary or four extra people on the minimum wage, without having to pay any extra tax.
  • Secured a £473,000 grant for local business Holts Brothers Ltd, creating 268 jobs across nine sites. The grant will help deliver a £28.5m project to develop the UK supply chain for gearboxes used in the manufacturing of wind turbines.
  •  Given a £175,000 grant to a project to improve local cycling and green travel at Calder Valley Greenway – Colne bridge/Bradley to Brighouse. The project involves constructing Calder Valley Greenway up to district boundary with Calderdale including links on upper quarry road and on to Park Lea, Beadley.
  • Given £4,856,893 to support West Yorkshire Council to create 833 new homes in Calderdale, either new ones or by bringing back empty homes, helping create jobs and giving the local construction industry a much-needed boost.

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