EDL takes its toll on council coffers

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Calderdale councillors are writing to the Home Office to tell top politicians exactly how much the English Defence League’s protest on July 9 cost taxpayers across the district .

The exact figure is still being calculated but the Courier estimates it could run into tens of thousands of pounds. That is on top of the cost to West Yorkshire Police, who had to draft in officers from North Yorkshire, Humberside and South Yorkshire.

And the takings traders had to sacrifice as the town’s pubs and other businesses shut to avoid trouble.

Children’s museum Eureka - one of Halifax’s biggest tourist attractions - also gave up a day’s trading so its car park could be used as the designated protest site.

Council leader Janet Battye (Lib Dem, Calder) said: “We recognise that people have a right to peaceful protest but the demonstration was a disruption to local people and local businesses.

“We’ve had some positive comments from businesses and members of the public about how well it was managed and especially how well we cleared up afterwards but that was at a cost to the council.”

Conservative leader Stephen Baines asked if it was fair that charities should have to pay for police attend some of their events, but the EDL would not be billed for the massive police presence required when they decided to come to an area.

Coun Baines and Coun Battye were among 17 community leaders and groups who released a statement on the day of the demonstration condemning the EDL’s decision to come to Halifax.

It said: “We are a place where people live side by side, with common values based upon mutual respect, tolerance and unity.

“The actions of the EDL in choosing to demonstrate in Halifax today show that they care nothing for the well-being of anyone who lives, works in or cares about Halifax.

“They are not welcome in our town. It is time that they got this message from us.”