Talking Politics: More financial support needed for flood victims

Boxing Day floods, Sowerby Bridge 2015
Boxing Day floods, Sowerby Bridge 2015

Craig Whittaker MP, along with your Conservative councillors, has been lobbying our government at every opportunity to obtain the funding help we desperately need to help individual households and businesses affected by the Boxing Day floods.

We have, of course, also been lobbying the government for funding to improve our flood defences. By the time this article is printed we will know if these efforts have been successful.

A further problem with the floods is the impact on the many people employed by businesses who sustained damage. One example of this is Dugdales in Sowerby Bridge. Their losses amount to over £2 million and fortunately most of this is likely to be recovered from their insurers. Their problem though, similar to many other businesses, is they will have difficulties in obtain future cover for flood damage and the government must work with insurers to ensure they can obtain cover at a reasonable cost.

They employ 130 people, most of whom live in the area and contribute to our local economy so it is essential we do everything possible to help them to remain in Calderdale. They do not want to leave and are looking at plans to invest in improving their flood defences. We must ensure that they are given every assistance by the council and that the Environment Agency does everything possible to allow them to safeguard their business and local employment.

Council tax increase accepted

The Labour party budget resulting in a 4 per cent hike in local taxation was accepted at the recent council meeting with the five Liberal Democrat Councillors all abstaining from voting on such an important issue.

They did however vote against the Conservative budget that would have resulted in a 2 per cent increase to cover the cost of the extra costs involved in meeting the increased demand in adults social care.

The difference would have been financed by:

Reducing the number of councillors in Calderdale from 51 to 36 and moving to one local election every four years.

Taking measures to reduce the levels of sickness absence currently an average of over nine days a year to the private sector average of five.

Removal of the automatic annual pay rises and introducing spot salaries with performance related increases.

Changing the way the council works and introducing technology that would play a significant role in driving further cost efficiencies.

In July 2014 we removed Labour from power over their attempt to push through increases in parking charges and the budget will lead to parking charges going up. Liberal Democrats supported us then but now allowed Labour’s proposals to be implemented.

Jeremy Corbyn believes that people should pay a lot more in taxes and obviously your local Labour councillors believe the same. On May 5 you will have the choice of electing more Conservative councillors and with your support we will take overall control of the council when we will ensure the level of taxation is kept as low as possible.

Better funding for better care

An aging population means that certain adjustments to our social care funding need to be made to make sure the elderly and vulnerable can be cared for in a sustainable way.

Your Conservative councillors think that it is important to make sure the elderly and vulnerable in society can be cared for.

The 2015 Spending Review created the Social Care precept to give local authorities the power to raise Council Tax by up to 2 per cent to fund adult social care. This, combined with the Better Care Fund, will mean an extra £3.5 billion to fund social care.

We also support the government’s cap on reasonable care costs and deferred payments scheme so that no one will have to sell their home to pay for care.