Halifax becoming a suburb of Huddersfield, claims MP

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HALIFAX is in danger of becoming a suburb of Huddersfield, according to MP Linda Riordan.

“Government policies are ripping our communities apart and now Tory councillors want to rip Halifax’s identity apart,” she said.

“Instead of wasting their time on this silly idea, they should start telling their Government to stop attacking Northern towns and cities, and start protecting people’s jobs and services.”

Mrs Riordan was adding to criticism of the Conservative’s so called “Huddersfax” scheme which aims to merge council services in Calderdale and Kirklees under a single chief executive.

The money-saving scheme would also mean reducing the number of chief officers in both councils and slashing the number of Calderdale councillors, from 51 to 36.

Mrs Riordan said it was a poor idea, badly thought out and she didn’t think it would even get out of the starting blocks.

Calderdale Council’s Liberal Democrat leader Janet Battye said it had been committed to cutting management costs since taking control of the council, with Labour backing two years ago.

Since then the council has cut senior management posts by about a third, in order to focus the councils’ spending on front line services.

“We no longer have a deputy chief executive, the number of section heads in each directorate has been cut and we have flattened the management structure so that it has less tiers and more clear lines of responsibility,” said Coun Battye.

Councillor John Beacroft-Mitchell (Lib-Dem, Luddenden Foot), who has cabinet responsibility for council resources, said that the council had made substantial savings and cut back on bureaucracy.

“It is not credible for the Conservatives to say their new plans for three councils instead of two will need fewer bureaucrats.

“When they ran Calderdale Council they steadfastly refused to change the management structure as the Liberal Democrats have been suggesting for at least six years.

“How can they now suggest that they can reduce the number of senior officers by a massive reorganisation of local government, when they didn’t do it in Calderdale when they had the chance,” he said.

According to Conservative group leader Stephen Baines: “Myths about Huddersfax or Halifield are completely unfounded.

“Calderdale will remain a Metropolitan Council with its present boundary, but we are proposing to reduce the number of councillors and make the electoral wards equal in size to those in Kirklees.”