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Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Calderdale Coalition breaks down over welfare cuts (2)

Labour seek to take leaderership and pledge to offer ‘clear and decisive leadership’

Since May 2010, Calderdale Council has been run by Liberal Democrats and Labour Councillors working together.

Calderdale Labour leader Cllr Tim Swift has warned that the threat of further spending cuts mean the Council needs clear and decisive leadership in the year ahead.
Cllr Swift has told the HebWeb that he is proposing that the Labour party as the largest group will take overall responsibility by filling all the Cabinet positions, whilst inviting both of the other major groups to take a share of the scrutiny and other non-executive roles.
Explaining his proposals, Cllr Swift said: “It’s now clear that Calderdale faces further unprecedented reductions in our government funding over the next three years.
“On top of this, Coalition Government policies on education and health are producing new questions about the role of the local authority, whilst benefit cuts will  take tens of millions of pounds out of local people’s pockets, affecting both individual households and the local shops and businesses they use.
“These events come on top of the challenges created by a growing number of people who need help from social care with their daily lives; the continuing need to improve our services for children and young people; and the challenge to secure decent jobs paying decent wages for local people.
“As the largest party, the Labour group is aware that it’s our responsibility to take the lead in helping Calderdale Council and our communities thrive in the face of these challenges. At the same time, we are committed to running the Council in an open and collaborative way that allows each political group and individual council to contribute."

Calderdale Coalition breaks down over welfare cuts (1)

Liberal Democrats say that Calderdale has no power to stop Government Benefit reforms

Since May 2010, Calderdale Council has been run by Liberal Democrats and Labour Councillors working together.

Now the Labour group has decided to end this arrangement even though the Liberal Democrats say they are 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) told the HebWeb: “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.”