COLUMN: Building a Calderdale that works for everyone

Talking Politics: Coun Steven Leigh MBE, Leader of the Conservative Group on Calderdale Council, lays out the Conservative proposals for the forthcoming Budget meeting.

By Zoe Drye
Thursday, 10th February 2022, 12:15 pm
TOWN HALL: Calderdale Council chambers
TOWN HALL: Calderdale Council chambers

In two weeks’ time we will be in the Council Chamber debating the setting of next year’s Budget for Calderdale.

There are two clear options available to residents. The first is a Labour budget which continues to hammer communities with stealth taxes and deteriorating frontline services. Specific examples of this are extending parking charges into the evening and weekends, reducing opening hours of Household Waste Recycling Centres and closing libraries.

The alternative is a Conservative Budget which will provide extra funding to fix potholes; combat fly-tipping by increasing Enforcement measures and properly maintain our streets and parks. This is supported by Central Government with huge investments in our towns, high-streets, transport network and local NHS. We have a joined-up plan to level up our communities by expanding opportunities; ending rough sleeping and protecting lower-income households. This is our vision to build a Calderdale that works for everyone.

Labour’s proposed Budget is built on its unwillingness to reform the way it delivers services, failure to rationalise middle-management and its complete reluctance to make backroom efficiencies. Further, the Labour-controlled council continues to fail with the delivery of the basic services which ratepayers have every right to expect for their Council Tax - whilst at the same time punishing them further with increasing charges and stealth taxes. Worst of all, particularly at the present time, is Labour’s proposed ‘Death Charge’ - which will increase the charges for Bereavement services - an insensitive proposal. It’s same Old Labour, charging you and your family more, even at the hardest of times.

Furthermore, as the whole country is facing an increase in the cost of living, Labour has decided to increase charges for those who fund their own social care. This is an attack on those who have savings and own their home. They are also increasing the maximum charge for those paying full-cost for their care, by up to a further £50 per week. This could lead to those in care being forced to reduce their care package – impacting on their general health and independence. This is during a time when the Government is seeking to address the costs of social care and ensure that nobody is forced to sell their home in their lifetime.

The Conservative Budget for Calderdale will focus on making backroom savings and cutting middle management - thus providing revenue for the frontline services which really matter to residents. Our plan is to level-up Calderdale and deliver for those communities which have felt left behind and taken for granted by the last Labour Government. We will provide the funding with a mission to restore local pride, provide safer streets, and deliver the much-needed community amenities which have been run down by Labour.

Our Budget will complement the opportunities provided by the Conservative Government which delivered Brexit, and is now focused on transforming Britain. Our Budget will focus on building a Calderdale that works for everyone.