Calder Valley constituents have been trying to find out about progress with the West Yorkshire Police criminal investigation into an allegation of financial irregularity on the part of Calderdale Conservatives Association. The investigation, which related to Craig Whittaker’s 2015 General Election expenses, was launched a year ago in May 2016. Continue reading
Through its privatised household waste and recycling service, Calderdale Council have been handing over public money to a subsidiary of a global waste and water company that puts profits above the human right to water and other vital utilities.
But Calderdale Council’s contract with Sita runs out shortly and the Council has put a new waste and recycling contract out to tender.
This raises some questions about:
- the conditions that Calderdale Council requires companies to meet, before they can bid for contracts to run our public services
- the specifications for the household waste & recycling service – what it collects, when and where.
Plain Speaker suggests that the process of privatising public services should include the online publication of all procurement documents, so the public can see what our money is being spent on, whether the contract specifications meet the public’s needs and whether companies bidding for the contracts are ethically fit to provide public services. Continue reading
Updated 18 Jan Braving the snow, several members of the public turned out for the “Bin the Infrastructure Bill” demo this morning in St George’s Square, Hebden Bridge. The demo was organised by anti-fracking activist Helen Chuntso.
Demonstrators – including me – were calling on Craig Whittaker MP to vote for vital amendments to the Infrastructure Bill, that Green MP Caroline Lucas and LibDem MP Norman Baker are putting forward. (More info below about the amendments.) Continue reading
Some Calder Valley constituents – who are worried about proposed new fracking legislation in the Infrastructure Bill which MPs are to vote on in the House of Commons this week – have asked Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker to tell the government to release the full version of the Defra report on Shale Gas Rural Economy Impacts.
On 13th October, MPs voted by a big margin (274 for, 12 against) for a motion plus an amendment that:
“This House believes that the Government should recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel ‘as a contribution to securing a negotiated two state solution.’”
A majority of Councillors at the full Calderdale Council meeting on 2nd October voted that Cabinet should re-examine the Council’s policy for awarding Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs), to make sure that the awards are made to as many residents as possible who need help with the Bedroom Tax
They also voted for a review the Council’s Housing Strategy to make sure that the supply of affordable housing meets the needs of residents, especially smaller households. Continue reading
The public can ask questions at full Council meetings, under Council Procedure Rule 12. This means emailing questions to be with Peter Burton (the Officer who administers the Council) by the week before the Council meeting.
I have emailed Peter Burton to ask if there is any more to it than this, and will update the article when I hear back from him.
Peter Burton’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
The Summons to the 2nd October Council meeting says that any Member of the Council may comment on, or ask the Chair of a Scrutiny Panel or a Committee a question about, the discharge of the Panel/Committee’s role and responsibilities since the last meeting of the Council. In the absence of a Chair, the question may be asked to the Deputy Chair.
(Too late for this meeting, it turns out the public can also ask questions at full Council.)
The 2011 National Environment White Paper is heavily business-oriented. It’s based on the 2011 National Ecosystem Assessment which puts a monetary value on all the “services” that we take from the natural environment.
For example, it identifies that parks and green spaces will enhance human wellbeing to the value of £290 per household per year in 2060.
The government spin is that putting a monetary value on the services we take from the environment will mean that businesses will have to take account of the costs of pollution and environmental damage that they cause, instead of ignoring them. But critics say that turning the natural environment into an accounting exercise is neoliberalism run mad. Continue reading
In a meeting that the Mayor described as “shambolic”, and that led a Councillor to say that it was no wonder that only 23 percent of the electorate bothered to take part in Council elections, Calderdale Council voted by 26 to 23 in favour of a Conservative/Liberal Democrat Amendment to Revised Cabinet Budget Proposals for 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17.
The ConDem amendment’s main effect is to shift funding away from the most deprived neighbourhoods in Calderdale. It cuts £500K from Neighbourhood Working in North & West Central Halifax, and spreads some of the savings thinly across the whole Borough, with £5k/year to be spent by each of the 17 Ward Forums, as it sees fit. Which costs £255K over 3 years, if my arithmetic is right. A net saving of £245K.