Keighley Road A6033 closure update

The A6033 from Hebden Bridge to Oxenhope will be open on Bank Holiday Monday (31 August). It will also continue to be open at weekends.

But road closures as part of work to improve its safety will continue throughout September 2020: the road will remain fully closed from Monday to Friday, between Hebden Bridge and Oxenhope with local access only between Hebden Bridge and Pecket Well.

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Government’s new tree planting scheme boosts financial services trade in carbon

Before we all go rarara about the Conservative government’s new scheme to boost tree planting, let’s just note that it’s based on the financialisation of the ecosystem – ie turning the natural environment into another set of markets for the financial services industry to get fat off.

Basically the new Woodland Carbon Guarantee scheme is based on a trade in carbon, via Woodland Carbon Units. This is made clear on the Forest Trade website and the UK Woodland Carbon Code “Buy Carbon” webpage.

Plan hatched in 2011 by ConDem government

The Government’s new scheme is the fruition of the ConDem coalition government plan to create a market in so-called ecosystem services. This was laid out in its heavily business-oriented 2011 National Environment White Paper. Continue reading

£4.7m Calderdale Council cuts caused by £6m funding shortfall

As of July this year,  Calderdale Council was predicting that it will suffer a funding shortfall of £6m this financial year, based on revenue monitoring.

This is because of savage central government cuts to local authority funding. This is worst in northern and Labour councils.

Cllr Jane Scullion reported to the 10th July Cabinet meeting that Directors had found ways to cut spending by £4.7m by the end of the financial year. Continue reading

Upper Calder Valley helps Rochdale send warm clothes, food and medicine to people of Aleppo

The first of two 40 foot containers was sent off from Rochdale to Aleppo in Syria on 22nd December. It contained warm winter clothes, food, medicine, medical equipment, nappies, etc – all donated by hundreds of people and businesses from the region. The second container will be going to Aleppo in early January.

Upper Calder Valley, which received so much kindness and help from total strangers this time last year in the aftermath of the Boxing Day flood, donated many clothes. Continue reading

Hebden Bridge Welcome Festival a huge success

Nearly 400 people attended the Welcome Festival on Saturday 29th October at the
Birchcliffe Centre in support of asylum seekers and refugees. Most of the performers on the day were refugees. There was a famous Syrian singer and his daughter coming from Bournemouth, the Songo Drummers Project, the Harmony Choir from Leeds and Dave Nelson and Charlie Carr from Hebden Bridge. For the children there was also face painting, arts & craft activities and making figures out of balloons. Continue reading

NHS Commissioners hand £378K to commercial consultants Attain for work on Slash and Trash Plan that threatens statutory services

From April – October 2016, the West Yorkshire Sustainability and Transformation Plan Programme Management Office has been run by a private sector consultancy company called Attain, at a cost to the NHS of £377,976 for work. 12% of this will be Attain’s profit, according to its website. Attain’s Chief Executive, Martin Wilson, is a former partner in KPMG.

attain-logo-doing-the-privatisers-workThe STP will be completed on October 21st – the deadline for handing it over to NHS England.

It has been drawn up in considerable secrecy, and will only be published after NHS England has made it fit for public consumption. This is a change of plan.  Until last week, when NHS England issued the instruction to Clinical Commissioning Groups not to publish their STPs until NHS England has seen them and commented on them, the plan was for the West Yorkshire STP to be published on October 23rd or 24th. Continue reading

Care Closer to Home – too bad there’s little or no evidence it would work

People are rightly very exercised about the proposed hospital cuts and A&E closure – but the proposals to move hospital services into the “community” are equally devastating.

This bit of the “Right Care Right Place Right Time” shake up – which should really be called “Less Care, Fragmented Hither and Yon” – has the potential to wreak destruction on the bit of the NHS that most of us use more than anything else – our GP/primary care services.

This is Part 2 of Plain Speaker’s attempt to begin to answer some key questions about so-called Care Closer to Home. (You can find Part 1 here) Continue reading

Help from Council for people who’ve been flooded out of their homes

Info about help for people who’ve been flooded out of their homes is on the Calderdale Council residents’ flood help website in the section:

“Help available through the Discretionary Housing Payment scheme”

Anyone who has had to leave their home temporarily due to flooding and is in receipt of Housing Benefit may be able to get assistance with the following:

  • Bond payments if moving into a private tenancy
  • Removal costs
  • Shortfall in rent if temporarily moving into a property larger than the household needs

Please complete and return to us the Discretionary housing payment form [(downloadable here

Clinical Senate rubbishes Right Care Right Time Right Place clinical model

Anyone wanting to ask a question at Calderdale CCG governing body meeting  on 10th Dec has until 5pm Tuesday 8 Dec to email it in, to

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The agenda and all the papers for the Gov Body meeting are online here.

There are many questions to ask about Agenda item 8, Changing the hospital services. Continue reading

Huddersfield’s Ahmadiyya Muslim Community condemns terrorist attacks

Fatihul-haq, President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Huddersfield South, whom Plain Speaker met at Huddersfield Planet Festival at the end of the summer, has asked us to pass on the word that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Huddersfield utterly abhors the carnage that was carried out in Paris last Friday.

The people murdered in the Paris atrocity will be remembered at services this Friday, 20th November, when prayers will be said in their memory at Mpsque Baitul Tauhid, Spaines Road, Fartown HD2. Special services will be starting at 12.45 and there will be one minute silence prayers.

The World Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the Fifth Caliph Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, has said:

“On behalf of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community worldwide, I express my heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the French nation, its people and government following the heinous terrorist attacks that have taken place in Paris. This brutal and inhumane attack can only be condemned in the strongest possible terms. Continue reading