Talking Politics: Scott Benton, Leader of the Conservative Group in Calderdale

Brighouse parking charges. Commercial Street, Brighouse.
Brighouse parking charges. Commercial Street, Brighouse.

Following a recent request for information on parking charges and the revenue they generate, the Conservative Group on Calderdale Council have been made aware of a profit, after costs, made on parking charges within Calderdale equating to £1,561,000 for the financial year 2015-2016.

The sums earned by the Council for parking charges within Calderdale are substantial.

Legislation clearly states that local authorities should reinvest the excess income, or ‘profit’ made from parking charges back into highways schemes.

However, the fact that the Labour-run Council are increasing parking charges whilst reducing the Council’s spend on highways, clearly suggests that there is not an apparent link between the level of parking charges and highways spend in Calderdale.

It is quite clear that Calderdale’s parking policy is breaking the spirit, if not the letter, of the legislation.

Many residents and small traders across Calderdale are disappointed by the ever increasing rate at which the Labour-run Council has brought in additional parking charges and these figures will confirm their suspicions that the Council is using motorists as a cash-cow to subside other services.

Following the local authority facility time report on March 14 by James Price of the Tax Payers Alliance, it was also established that Calderdale MBC pays £30,058.27 in ‘facility time’ – time, resources and wages for Trade Union officials to carry out Trade Union business.

It is not acceptable for an independent body, such as a union, with its own revenue streams, to rely upon local public money to fund day to day operations.

The unions should be taking responsibility for their own costs, not delegate them to the public purse.

The Council needs to get a grip of managing its expenditure, demonstrate some financial responsibility over our Council Tax money.

Following the cuts made to frontline services and a near five per cent rise in Council Tax in the Lib-Lab budget, it is frustrating to see that Labour controlled Calderdale Council is wasting money in order to benefit their political bedfellows – the unions.