Wednesday, 24 December 2014

2014 Photo Review

Here's some snaps from myand Kirklees Greens 2014. The Euro Elections was a big feature of my year and though not elected we fought a good campaign and I enjoyed it.

The last picture of the Kirklees Green Cllrs Group together prior to the elections. Long standing Cllr Graham Simpson on the far right stood down in May

Our plan to put  solar panels on 2000 homes was  launched with the help of my friend Baroness Jenny Jones on a visit to Croftlands at Newsome.

Campaigning against Fracking in Scarborough with Cllr Dilys Cluer and local Greens

In York campaigning to keep the East Coast Rail Franchise in public ownership

Selfie at Green Party Spring Conference with Rupert Read and now MEP Molly Scott Cato.

250,000 Euro newspapers arrived for distribution across the Region we got all but a few through doors

In Doncaster on one of our many town centre campaigning days. Doncaster is home of Pete Kennedy who is standing against Ed Miliband. Pete would make great MP and can eat a sandwich with style!

Launching Karen Allison's campaign to be Newsome's next Green Cllr

Not a brilliant year for me and Karen on the allotment but some spuds in and garlic and onions

The BBC Politics Show graphics dept made me and the other Lead Candidates into diddlymen walking across Europe. Very amusing.

First hustings in Scraborough for the Federation of Small Businesses. One of many 'no shows' for UKIP who had a dismal attendance record at hustings meetings throughout the campaign

The Motorcycle Action Group hustings. Great fun and hosted by Lembit Opik no less!

Launching the Green Party's National Euro Campaign in London. The 3 people in the middle were elected as MEPs.

At our Regional Euro Launch being interviewed by Len Tingle. We were interrupted by very vocal cows.

Our 6 strong Euro Candidate Team worked well together throughout the campaign . A real pleasure working with them.

A great day in Sheffield towards the end of the campaign. A terrific local Party and great to see them up their Cllrs from 2 to 4 in the local elections.

A picture from the count. I wasn't in too bad a frame of mind having not been elected but it was nice that so many people were concerned.

Elections over and back to work. A clean up with Newsome residents in preparation for the Tour de France that passed through.

Thanks to Gideon Richards for our offiicial Newsome Cllrs pic at Stirley Farm

Wahey! Actually managed to grow something.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust launched their beef box scheme. Guess who was their first customer?

At the Huddersfield Food and Drink Festival with Julie and Karen

I attended a European Greens Energy Summit in Brussels where I pushed the need to address Fuel Poverty

Green Parish Cllr Cass Whittingham's Civic Sunday. She's the one in blue. Former Kirkburton Conservative Cllr Christine Smith is in white. I'm hiding at the back!

Official pic of the Green Party and Valley Independent Group on Kirklees Council. Carefully cropped pic as my shirt is hanging out.

Some Broad Bean Houmous I purchased at one of Growing Newsome's events. You can always guarantee to get a food there you can't get anywhere else.

The hardly elected Labour West Yorkshire Police Commissioner visited Kirkburton Parish Council to talk about his work and answer presubmitted questions only!  Grumpy Cllrs Cooper & Barraclough not in official picture.

Independent Cllr for Flockton Jimmy Paxton is given a bottle by Cass to mark 40 years as a Kirkburton Parish Councillor.

In London with Jean Lambert MEP for the launch of the report we commissioned  on pushing a Social Energy Target in he EU to address Fuel Poverty. Great work by National,Energy Action.

Labours Energy Spokesperson Caroline Flint MP came to Huddersfield  to explain how Labour were the 'Real Green Party' yeah right. It was a public meeting so a few Greenies provided an alternative view.

 Green Cllrs Robert Barraclough and Derek Hardcastle fixing an unadopted road in Kirkburton. Great can do approach.

Speaking at Full Council in November where I unsuccessfully proposed,an all party shared administration of Kirklees and laid into the Lib Dems over their Govts lamentable performance on climate change. They didn't like it much.

And a Merry Xmas from me and my fellow Parish and Kirklees colleague Cllr Robert Barraclough

Friday, 19 December 2014

Big Step forward for Passivhaus Development in Kirklees

The Denby Dale Passivhaus
This weeks Kirklees Cabinet meeting had an agenda item on disposals of some of the Council's land and property. This is becoming increasingly important to the council as a way of raising much needed cash in an increasingly cash strapped public sector. One site that came up was at Plane Street in Newsome. this was the former Stile Common Infants School site. The infants merged with Stile Common Junior School and became Hillside Primary a school built to the one of the highest environmental specifications in the UK.

At the meeting I asked that a condition be placed on the land that any properties built there would be to Passivhaus standards. Passivhaus homes have very low energy demand due to their high levels of insulation, airtightness and controlled ventilation. The average UK household fuel bill is £1236 per year. Passivhaus homes typically have energy bills much less than £100 per year. That is over a thousand pounds each year not going to energy companies and generally being spent in the local economy. For the Plane Street site, where 24 homes are indicated that would be over £30,000 every year with the value of that saving rising as energy prices rise, as they inevitably will. The Cabinet agreed subject to a report on the implications of this policy.

We are fortunate in Huddersfield to have local expertise and skills in passivhaus build and design. The Green Building Store have pioneered groundbreaking developments such as the Denby Dale Passivhaus and retrofit projects such as the CR8 Barn at Yorkshire Wildlife Trusts Stirley Farm in Newsome. I bumped into the owner of the Denby Dale Passivhaus on the train last week and when I asked him how much he was paying on his fuel bills he beamed and said 'I'm £20 up!' Very low energy demand plus his solar panels mean his home is a net contributor in energy terms. The Green Building Store are open with their expertise and have detailed case studies on their work.

The Passivhaus project at Plane Street would be a good thing to do in itself, but could become a blueprint for the specification Kirklees give for homes built on land it owns or as a condition for land it sells. It could become a key element of the long awaited Kirklees Local Plan.

The UK Government is lowering the ambition of so called 'Zero Carbon Homes' due to be introduced into Building Regulations in 2016. No longer will Zero Carbon Homes do 'what it says on the tin'. With this in mind it would be ironic indeed if Kirklees set higher environmental standards for building than the UK Government. My hope would be that our actions locally will have a national impact and make people ask why we can have better higher spec Passivhaus properties. Elsewhere in the UK the lowest common denominator of Building Regulations will be the norm, as approved by the far too influential Home Builders Federation.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

PRESS RELEASE - Kirklees Greens propose an end to public funds being used for Councillors Party Conference trips

Green Party Council Leader Councillor Andrew Cooper will propose a motion at the next Kirklees Full Council meeting calling for an end to public funds being used to support Councillors attending Party Conferences. The motion states:-

"This Council proposes to cease the practice of funding the travel accommodation and registration fees for Councillors of Kirklees attending Party Political Conferences."

Councillor Andrew Cooper said,

" When I speak to Councillors from other Local Authorities they are frankly amazed that Kirklees still funds the fees, accomodation and travel costs for politicians out of the public purse. At a time when services are being cut, staff are threatened with redundancy it beggars belief that we are allowing this practice to continue."

Green Party Councillors do not make use of these budgets but Councillors from other political parties represented on Kirklees Council do.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Last roll of the Highways funding dice?

Portland Place being surfaced

We have just got a number of small scale road and surface improvementsschemes delivered in the Newsome Ward.

  • The pitted garage site at Portland Place, near Trinity Street is finally repaired.

  • Access to a garages on Back Springwood Street, Springwood is now more easily accessible for vehicles following a drop of planings.

  • A path has been laid to the rear of Victoria Road following regular requests from residents

  • Back Newsome Road is now more easily accessible for bin wagons

  • The unadopted roads of Armitage Bridge Village should shortly be repaired and Dougie should be able to get around on his motorised scooter a bit easier.

What funding we are going to have to do these sort of valued improvements in future is anyones guess. So we were keen to get these particular schemes sorted this year.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Full Council - Debate on a Shared All Party Administration - 'Winter is coming!'

Kirklees Council is facing its biggest ever challenge. Huge cuts in budgets, totalling £152million, redundancies of over a thousand already made and at least the same again to come. The governance of the Council remains with a minority administration in this instance the Labour Party.  It was against this backdrop that I proposed at the last Full Council meeting an All Party Shared Adminstration with a Cabinet composed of leading members from all political groups to work together to tackle the problems facing the Council. It is fair to say that it didn’t go down well.
If you want to watch the debate starts at 2.44.50 here 

Cllr Nicola Turner, the new Lib Dem Leader’s line is that she doesn’t have to be on the Cabinet to influence the Council. This is of course true and is true of every Councillor of every Party but it is a bogus argument. The Council’s power lies in the Cabinet as that is where decisions are made.  To be part of the Cabinet gives real power and real responsibility just as the Lib Dems claim they have in Government. Maybe they are not so keen on power as they used to be.

The real vitriol came from the Conservatives. The Conservatives usually deploy Cllr Andrew Palfreeman during the budget debates to attack the Greens and they rolled him out to address our motion. He often uses humour to good effect but not on this occasion. Andrew accused me of being ‘na├»ve’ and claimed we had, ‘kept Labour in power’.  In reality no other group put themselves forward to run the Council following the last local elections and Andrew was conveniently forgetting that the Conservatives actually put Labour in charge of the Council in 2012 in return for a disproportionate number of Committee places. He’s also forgetting that the Greens have supported both Conservative and Lib Dem minority administrations over the past 15 years when we have felt there was a benefit to Kirklees in doing so. He referred to the ‘incompetence’ of the Labour administration which rather begged the question as to why they didn’t want to be part of the administration to deal with it if he really felt their 'imcompetence' was such a problem. He went on to say that the Greens should, ‘get to the back of the queue where they belong’ and that we needed to be ‘put in our place’. Well I guess that was exactly what I was proposing. As the smallest group on the Council we would have a proportionately smaller voice in a Cabinet formed from members of all political groups. If anything I was asking the Conservatives to actually ‘get in the queue’ and take some responsibility but alas to no avail. Cllr Palfreeman used a quote by George R R Martin the writer of Game of Thrones in his speech saying I was denying a 'hard truth' that the Greens had put Labour in power. Of course the most famous, and oft repeated quote from his book/hit TV series 'Game of Thrones' is ' Winter is coming' meaning there are hard times ahead. Hard times are coming for Kirklees and the Tories want no part in managing the depleted finances that their Government have given us.

The meeting ended in shambles. The Mayor didn’t allow me to sum up at the end of the meeting and no vote was taken on the motion which probably suited a lot of people in the room who weren’t over keen on being counted on this issue. Cock up? Conspiracy? Who can say? What the debate did manage to do was to shine a spotlight on the fact that running Kirklees Council is not a particularly attractive prospect. In hard times the sidelines is a very comfortable place for some parties to be. There are Parties who say a Green vote is a wasted vote. Voting for Parties who won’t take responsibility sounds like a wasted vote to me.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Full Council - Lib Dems Tipping Point Motion – “They don’t like it up em!”

All credit to the Lib Dems. They beat us to it in proposing the Kirklees Campaign Against Climate Change inspired motion on the ‘Tipping Point’ – the point at which we go past the point of no return on Climate Change and the urgent need to act now.  I couldn’t let the moment pass without mentioning the Lib Dems actual record in Government as the Party actually in charge of the Department of Energy and Climate Change. When Chris Huhne was in the driving seat of DECC (and definitely no one else!) they declared they were going to be the ‘Greenest Government Ever’. The truth has been somewhat less than that. Massive cuts to the Energy Company Obligation Budget to placate the readers of ‘The Sun’,  severe reductions in the Feed In tariffs for solar energy, the UK heading for total failure in our obligations under the EU 2020 Renewable Energy Directive and a disgraceful role in removing binding targets at the EU level on energy efficiency and renewable energy for the 2030 targets. It would not be responsible of anyone who really knew the issues to leave the Lib Dems to ‘get the onion out’ and talk about how deeply they felt about Climate Change without comment.  So I did comment and a fair bit of personal animosity came my way thereafter.  I played the ball, the Lib Dems decided to play the man. No problem for me.

Lib Dem Cllr David Ridgeway said that all I could do was ‘snipe, mither, moan and bicker’ talk ‘tripe’  and make ‘crass comments’and claimed that I was saying that only the Green Party knew about these issues. In fact the concerns I raised were those raised by the energy efficiency and renewable energy industries. These are people who employ skilled workers across a range of technologies who are laying off staff, scaling back work and sometimes going out of business altogether.the people who often suffer are those on low incomes who don't get a new boiler or the insulation they might have expected. My comments were legitimate but a bit tough for a loyal Lib Dem to take I guess.

Some of the real venom came from Lib Dem Cllr Andrew Marchington. A bit of a shame really I used to know him in the distant past in the 80s in my old Young Liberal days. It is pretty obvious he has an issue with me in particular but then I am critical of the Party he represents. He definitely went off on one about the Greens in general and even got onto talking about the Swiss Green Party which he obviously knows more about than me.  He accused me of saying,  “The Greens are the only ones who understand it”  actually my information is based on the science and the oft expressed views of the sustainable energy industries. He even accused us of being more left wing than Labour - not a difficult task really.  He did confess to being a bit wound up during the debate. Ah well!

If you want to see it all its true horror I start speakingat 2.23.30. and the Lib Dems start losing it shortly after that.

The other thing worth noting is that the Conservatives abstained on the motion with no explanation why. This should have been acutely embarrasing to Conservative Leader Robert Light who understands  the issues and has been the Deputy Lead at the Environment Agency. I guess the climate change denying /anti wind turbine wing in his Party held sway on this one. Poor Robert!

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Councillors Fix Road! Can they fix it? Yes they can!

 Cllrs Derek Hardcastle and Robert Barraclough -  Road Builders!

Local Green Party Councillors Derek Hardcastle and Robert Barraclough have rolled up their sleeves to fix a road in Kirkburton.

Church Green is a cul-de-sac in Kirkburton which the road surface was damaged by flooding a few years ago. Unfortunately as it is an unadopted road, serving just a few houses, Kirklees has had no responsibility to repair the road and with funding being constrained anyway it was unlikely that it would be improved in the near future.

Kirkburton Green Councillors Derek Hardcastle and Robert Barraclough secured a supply of road planings from the Council which they could use to put a new surface on the road but were told that due to funding constraints it would be down to local people to lay the road.

Councillor Derek Hardcastle said, “The planings tipped in a large pile, needed spreading over the whole road surface. We realise that residents have work commitments and could be phased by taking on a new task like putting down a road surface and wouldn’t know where to start with hiring appropriate equipment so we thought we’d have a go ourselves. We were also fortunate to be helped by two of the residents”

Councillor Robert Barraclough said “As I’ve worked in farming for over 40 years I’m used to using machinery such as mini diggers and it is a fairly straightforward job. It is not the same as an adoptable road but it will be a much better road surface than these householders have had for quite some time”

We are happy to say, thanks to all this help, the resurfacing was completed in a single day.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Response to misleading article on Green Party efforts to save Shepley Library by Kirkburton Tory Councillor

Green Cllrs Derek Hardcastle and Robert Barraclough at Shepley Library
Recently, writing on the Shepley Village Website, Councillor Armer asks why have the Green Party not discussed the matter of our proposal to help save Shepley Library with him. Well we have specifically asked that he be a member of the Parish Councils Library Committee so he has a say on all proposals that come forward and all our proposals that affect the Parish Council go before the Council for debate and agreement. If Green Councillors have an initiative or a proposal we shouldn’t have to check with Cllr Armer before we go public with them. I’m sure that isn’t the way the other Parties operate and Cllr Armer could have approached his fellow ward Cllrs for information and offered support for their proposal. I think he is more concerned about the fact that we have come up with a proposal and he hasn’t.

We wholeheartedly agree that the campaign to save Shepley Library should be community lead. All we have done is remove an obstacle for them by proposing the Parish Council covers the gap in funding for the Libraries running costs for gas, electricity , cleaning etc. for a to be agreed set period of time. This is a vital first step in enabling them to establish their own Business Plan which will be needed if the building is to be successfully transferred from Kirklees Council to the community of Shepley.

Cllr Armer asks where these funds will come from and really he already knows the answer . It will be an integral part of the Parish Councils budget and that is the proposal we will be making at our November Council meeting. Shepley people pay their Parish precept along with their Council Tax and the Library is a top concern for people in the village so it makes sense for the Parish Council to support it and give some benefit back. The Village Association that is working to save the Library is aware and has been fully informed of our proposals throughout.

Cllr Armer says that I said the Parish Council should fund current staffing levels at the public meeting in Shepley of £50,000 increasing the Parish Precept by £45, in fact there were lots of suggestions at the meeting, but Green Party Cllrs have never proposed that as an option. At the meeting we were all informed by the library management that the current annual running costs of the building, less current income, are in the region of £5000. Our above proposal would amount to an annual cost of £5000/year or less to the Parish Council which we believe is good value to keep the library building open. Cllr Armer knows this as he was also at the meeting, but yet is determined to play his political hand again.

We are very disappointed by the criticism of the Green Party efforts to help save Shepley Library by Councillor Armer and sadly note where there is an absence of any initiative from him and his Party then he resorts again to criticise and knowingly mislead local people. We trust that when our proposals come before the Parish Council he will do the right thing and support them in the interests of Shepley Village and the future of its Library.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Owen Paterson MP - Not nice but definitely dim

He's a millionaire, ex public schoolboy, climate change denying and a former Tory Environment Minister so I wasn't expecting much from him when he was interviewed on BBC Radio 4s Today Programme last week. Out of the stream of illogical drivel he came out with one statement he made stood out. It was the claim that renewable energy technologies "don't work". It was a bizarre claim that could only be based on ignorance or prejudice but most likely both. If he was right and renewables didn't work then they wouldn't just not work in the UK they wouldn't work anywhere. Of course climate, topography and latitude will all play a part so the UKs wind, tidal, solar and hydro resource give us a huge advantage over many other EU countries. We are however doing very poorly compared with our European neighbours. The EU overall target for 2020 is to have 20% of total energy produced from renewable sources. The UK was given a lower target of 15% to recognise our poor starting point. To date with around 5 years to go we are hovering around the 5% mark. So we're going to fail and fail spectacularly. It is not our climate or latitude or topography that are the principal reasons for this failure it is politics. The faith in market approaches to deliver has simply not worked. A lack of investment in energy conservation and constantly changing policy on renewables coupled with outright hostility from Tory Ministers supported by compliant Lib Dems has meant the 'Greenest Government Ever' has turned out to be even worse than the previous ineffective Labour Government. So using the medium of Twitter I asked if the laws of physics were somehow different in other countries that meant their renewables worked and ours didn't. It struck a chord with some folk and managed 706+ retweets which is a record for your truly.

The big unanswered question for me is why did the 'hug a husky' Prime Minister Cameron make this idiot a Cabinet Minister for anything and for the Environment in particular. While at DECC he refused to meet with David Mackay the principal government advisor on energy matters. Paterson is clearly a man who wasn't interested in facts that conflicted with his own beliefs. He seems to have been introduced to appease the Tory right and George Osbourne who for all their hostility and inaction either are, or may as well be, climate change deniers.

Paterson now is marketing himself as a posterboy for climate change denial by speaking at events run by Nigel Lawson's discredited Global Warming Policy Foundation and venting his disdain for green lobby groups by referring to them/us as Green Blobs. His status as an ex minister will mean the fruitcake will still get media coverage but it is a shame that he probably won't get very challenging questions and his views will be given undue credence.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

PRESS RELEASE - Green Councillors carry out Pothole tour of the Newsome Ward

Green Party Councillors Julie Stewart-Turner, Andrew Cooper and Karen Allison have carried out a survey of every street in the area they represent.
“We have looked at over 250 streets in the Newsome Ward to assess the road condition” said Councillor Julie Stewart Turner
“Around £800’000 has been allocated for pothole repairs so we wanted tomake sure that Kirklees were presented with as complete a list as possible. We know there simply aren’t the numbers of Kirklees staff needed to go round every street. We’ve been everywhere from Hall Bower to Highfields and from Lockwood to Lowerhouses and it is clear that we have a seriously deteriorating road network. In tough times Councillors need to be even more active to ensure issues like poor road conditions are not ignored. ”
Councillor Andrew Cooper said,
“Central Government have taken over £152 million out of Kirklees funds and have given back about £800’000 for pothole repairs. Dealing with potholes can only ever be a sticking plaster solution and doesn’t solve the long term issue of lack of funding. People are paying the same amount of council tax and getting less for it while government subsidises  multi billion pound projects like HS2 and the Trident missile programme. Government priorities should be about investing in projects which help peoples everyday lives and the pothole strewn road network is a clear example of the mixed up priorities of the Coalition Government.”

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

PRESS RELEASE - Greens propose support for Shepley Library costs

Councillors Derek Hardcastle and Robert Barraclough outside Shepley Library
Kirkburton Green Party Councillors Derek Hardcastle and Robert Barraclough have proposed that Kirkburton Parish Council offer to contribute to the running costs for Shepley Library.

A community lead group in Shepley is being established to work with Kirklees to seek a Community Asset Transfer to ensure Library service remain in the village. Councillor Derek Hardcastle said,

 “For Shepley to put forward a convincing case to Kirklees to transfer the building to the community it will need to demonstrate that it has secure funding to maintain the buildings plus costs for water, gas, electricity, cleaning, waste removal costs etc. We will propose that at the Parish Council’s annual budget meeting the Council agrees an amount to be set aside for that purpose. This would help to provide a sustainable long term future for the Library.”

 Councillor Robert Barraclough said,

 “I would like us to put aside this money over a full four year term of Kirkburton Parish Council and seek to ensure that this becomes a ring fenced element of the Parish Councils budget for future years"

Contact:- Robert Barraclough – 07778 315577 Derek Hardcastle – 07779 628147

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Nick Clegg MUST be allowed to join the Leaders debates!

When I heard only 4 Party Leaders were to be included in the General Election Party Leaders televised debates like many others I was incensed. The Lib Dems were beaten hands down by the Green Party in the last European Elections and Greens gained 3 MEPs to the Lib Dems one but I still believe Nick Clegg should not be excluded from these high profile debates. 

The Lib Dems poll ratings are roughly the same as the Greens and this should be enough to ensure that Nick's voice is heard even if polls show them (and UKIP) way behind the Greens among young voters. Admittedly Lib Dems are practically toxic to young voters (my 16 year old son does refer to Clegg as "Cameron's Butt Monkey") but that misses one important function of these debates which is to hold the guilty to account. As the guarantors/collaborators with the Conservative government Clegg needs not only to comment on the future (that he won't be a part of) but also answer to us all for propping up a Coalition Government that has cut taxes for millionaires while reducing the incomes of the very poorest who will never benefit from a reduction in income tax. He could also explain how with one of the lowest percentages of energy generated from Renewable sources in Europe he can still claim to be part of he "greenest Government Ever". 

I'm sure some enterprising person will set up an online petition to allow Nick to join Dave, Ed, Nigel and Natalie at the debates but I can't be bothered right now as I'm very busy and only catching the news in snatches.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

PRESS RELEASE - Green Party and Independent Councillors Priorities for a Shared All Party Administration of Kirklees Council

The Green Party and Valley Independent Group Councillors have detailed their priorities in an All Party Shared Administration of Kirklees Council. Green Party Leader Councillor Andrew Cooper said, “We need to get some dialogue between Political Leaders on Kirklees Council about what we would each want out of a Cabinet which involved every political Group on the Council. As we have a ‘hung Council’ and the greatest finanacila crisis Kirklees has ever faced we all need to work together. Sitting in comfortable opposition when Councillors were elected to take responsibility should not be an option. You could argue that voting for Councillors who then shy away from the opportunity of taking power on the Council is simply a wasted vote. That is why I have outlined some of the key priorities our group would pursue in an All Party Shared Administration. If other parties lay out their priorities then we have the basis for dialogue” Green Party and Valley Independent Group Priorities for a Shared All Party Administration of Kirklees Council - Prioritising support to the most vulnerable. Adults and childrens services is the greatest part of the budget and where we need to focus effort not just to ensure funding but to demonstrate effective budget management. - Ensuring local control over a proportion of limited resources. We know that there are going to be less resources available so ensuring that these are allocated according to local priorities will be key. Politicians demonstrably working with representative community organisations is key. We need to argue strongly to government that we need a fair settlement for Councils like Kirklees not one that just favours the leafier Councils in the Home Counties. - Protect local green space from development but where development does occur encourage the highest construction standards and prioritise developments to new householders particularly those on limited incomes - Establishing effective partnerships with the private sector as appropriate to help the council realise income from its property portfolio - Use our links with community and voluntary sector organisations to draw in funds and resources that the Council cannot access to help protect local services. Kirklees needs to establish strong and real partnerships with Community Organisations. This will needa reprioritisation of limited budgets and dedicated staff to ensure real change happens.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

PRESS RELEASE - Greens and Independents call for an ‘All Party Administration’ on Kirklees Council for ‘the common good’

Green Party and Valley Independent Councillors have called for an ‘All Party Shared Administration’ for Kirklees Council to address the huge cuts facing local jobs and services. Green Party Leader Councillor Andrew Cooper said, "The loss of around £152million from Kirklees budgets each year by 2017 is the greatest threat to local services that the Council has ever faced. The impact on the services provided by the council cannot be overstressed, Roads that are already poor will get even worse, costs for adult social care will rise, funding for vulnerable children is uncertain, libraries and museums are threatened with closure. At a time when Kirklees is facing its greatest ever crisis it makes no sense to have a minority Labour Administration having the responsibility alone of trying to protect the services that people across the district rely on, need and value. It is all too easy for opposition parties to criticise from the sidelines with the comforting knowledge that they have no responsibility for any council decisions that are made, while knowing that if they were in charge they would be faced with exactly the same dilemmas. At times of real crisis political parties should put aside differences and work together on solutions that are built around consensus and the common good. There are no easy answers or silver bullets to address the problems that the Council is facing. That is why every Councillor, of which ever political party, has a duty to want to responsibility to get the best outcomes possible for local people. For these reasons we are calling for a shared All Party Administration of Kirklees Council. This proposal will not work if one Party decides it prefers the comfort of opposition and we would only consider being part of a Kirklees Cabinet if all Parties represented on Kirklees took part. I have today written to the other Party Group Leaders on Kirklees Council requesting a meeting to discuss our proposal ENDS