Tory plans threat to Calderdale independence
Labour leader Tim Swift warned today that Conservative plans to change local government in Calderdale and Kirklees by splitting Kirklees into two and merging major services would mean Halifax and all our market towns losing control of their own futures.
Cllr Swift says that an analysis of the Conservative plans proves that most decisions would be dominated by Kirklees. In particular -
- Many of the most important decisions would be taken by a new “joint leaders board” - just three people deciding on the future of the whole area, with an in-build Kirklees majority
- Three of the departments most crucial to Calderdale people - adult care, children's services and transport and regeneration - would be run jointly, again under automatic Kirklees control
- The proposed system would be more - not less - bureaucratic, with one chief Executive and two deputies, reporting both to individual cabinets and to the joint leaders board.
Cllr Swift said:
"These Conservative proposals read like a desperate attempt to dream up something new without any thought to the long term consequences. If we were to adopt them, we could wave goodbye to any chance of shaping our own future.
"Of course we should work together with Kirklees where it makes sense. But our interests are not identical. Calderdale needs the freedom to argue for investment in the Calder Valley and to develop partnerships, not just within Yorkshire, but with East Lancashire and Greater Manchester.
“I also see a real danger of our services for adults moving towards common systems and priorities, which has to be a concern, as care charges are much higher in Kirklees and the criteria for providing care are much tighter.
"As for the apparent savings on offer, they are far less than we have been able to achieve in Calderdale through better efficiency and restructuring in the last two years alone. Is it really worth sacrificing our future independence for such a vague short-term gain?”