Depressing Calderdale Council budget meeting approves massive cuts budget – without knowing where cuts will fall

LibDem Councillors last night voted with the Tory group to approve a 3 year Council budget that passes huge Coalition government cuts to local authority funding onto the people of Calderdale.

The new Council Budget is vague about massive cuts it commits to in 2017/18, which include £2.6m cuts to unspecified “discretionary services”, as well as £2.5m cuts to Adults Health and Social Care and Children’s and Young People’s Services, as a result of  “new ways of working”.

“New ways of working” is about turfing staff out of Council employment and getting them to set up as a social enterprise, contracted to deliver Council services on less money.

Discretionary services are those which the Council doesn’t have a statutory duty to provide, but which the public relies on in our day to day lives – such as libraries, winter road gritting and children’s centres. Continue reading

#Halifax and #Hebden Bridge take part in Europe-wide day of action to stop Big Bad Treaty

On Saturday October 11th, scores of local people staffed information stalls in Halifax Town Centre and Hebden Bridge, to alert the public to the corporate power grab disguised as a transatlantic trade and investment treaty, that is currently being negotiated between the European Union and the USA. Continue reading

11th October #Halifax protests against EU-US trade deal

On Saturday 11th October from 12-1pm, protesters in Halifax will demonstrate against a major trade deal being negotiated between the United States and the EU, which threatens democracy, the environment, and public services including the NHS.

The Halifax protest, in the pedestrianised area outside Marks & Spencer, is one of many demonstrations planned across Europe on 11th October. Continue reading

Calderdale Against Bedroom Tax underwhelmed by Council’s vote to review policy for awarding Discretionary Housing Payments

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

Calderdale People’s Assembly members march against austerity

Deirdre O’Neill (Calderdale People’s Assembly) and Charlie Gates (Calderdale Green Party) report on the People’s Assembly march against austerity in London last Saturday

Members of Calderdale People’s Assembly were among the fifty thousand people who marched in London last weekend against the swingeing cuts imposed on the most vulnerable people in society by the coalition government, in a demonstration organised by the People’s Assembly Against Austerity.

Calderdale People’s Assembly are clear about the impact the ‘austerity’ agenda is having in our area, including the government’s Bedroom Tax, benefit cuts, reductions in standards of living, increase in food banks, no pay rises for workers, and a serious threat to the Halifax A&E. Continue reading

Banksters profit from Calderdale Royal Hospital PFI equity sales

Equity in the Calderdale Royal Hospital (CRH), which is notorious as one of the most costly and least accountable PFI schemes in the NHS, has changed hands 10 times.
According to the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, PFI equity sales are,

“the unacceptable face of capitalism.”

The 10 CRH equity sales make it hard to know who actually owns the  debt that Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust has still to pay off, or the extent of equity holders’ profits, or what tax the equity holders paid – if any.

But the European Services Strategy Unit has managed to identify the companies involved in the equity sales. Continue reading

Perfect Financial Incompetence in Kirklees community health centres

5 primary care/community health centres in Kirklees are a PFI project. Kirklees Primary Care Trust closed the financial deal for the PFI project in 2004.

The 2012 Treasury PFI spreadsheet shows the PFI contract is for 30 years and Semperian is the equity holder. The Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) is NK Facilities Ltd. Total capital costs are listed as £25m. The total unitary charge (which covers the mortgage repayment and service charges for operating and maintaining the health centres) is £89.6m over the contract duration. Continue reading

NHS Privatisation news

Here is news about NHS privatisation, I’ll be updating this Storify collection often, so please come back from time to time for fresh news. The Calderdale & Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust strategic review, that includes proposals for closing Calderdale A&E, reducing hospital beds and treatment and “integrating” NHS and social care in the community, is basically a set of proposals for privatising Calderdale & Kirklees NHS. So it’s worth keeping an eye on new methods of NHS privatisation – forewarned is forearmed. Continue reading

Some facts and figures about Calderdale Royal Hospital PFI debt repayments

The costs of repaying the PFI debt and of paying for the expensive PFI hospital maintenance and service contracts are one of the causes of the Calderdale and Huddersfield hospital Trust’s finance problems.

PFI costs, funding shortage and Strategic Review of future of NHS and social care

Shortage of funding is behind the proposed closure of Calderdale A&E and at least 100 acute hospital beds, and their replacement by a new system of care in the community that is based on an American private health care system used by a company called Kaiser Permanente.

Continue reading