The Conservatives are now running a minority administration on Calderdale Council after a motion of no confidence was passed in the Labour council leader, Cllr Tim Swift. The council has been under no overall control for over a decade. However, Labour gained seats in May and took over as a minority administration.
The Halifax Courier reports:
“A motion was made by Conservative leader Councillor Stephen Baines and seconded by Councillor Janet Battye, leader of the Liberal Democrats, for the removal of Councillor Swift.
In a statement from the parties, it said: “It has become clear that the Labour Group has no intention of honouring the assurances it gave in May 2014 that it would consult and work with the other parties represented on Calderdale Council.
“This has come to a head over the past week, when there have been two instances (Hipperholme crossroads and the imposition of parking charges) where the Labour Cabinet have made clear their intention to push ahead with their own agenda. They are ignoring the views of the public of Calderdale and the wishes of the Council that were clearly set out at its budget-setting meeting in February.
“All the current opposition groups on the council believe that the attitude and actions of the Labour Cabinet are totally unacceptable, and that the public of Calderdale deserve better. We therefore have no option but to call for a vote of no confidence in the current administration. After serious consideration, we have resolved to work collectively over the next nine months to ensure that the Council better serves the local community.
“To achieve these aims, the only option open to the Council is to remove the current Leader of the Council and replace him with someone who will honour these commitments in stark contrast to the way that Labour deliberately have not.
“The result of this vote is a minority Conservative administration working in conjunction with all other opposition councillors.”
The motion was passed for the removal of Councillor Swift, 24 votes to 22.”
Increasingly residents are showing sympathy with shopkeepers and other small businessmen being driven out of business due to excessive parking charges. The Labour plan for evening parking charges thus proved controversial.
Cllr Barry Collins, who was the Cabinet Member for the Economy and Environment and Deputy Leader of the Labour Group, responded by saying:
“The effect of business rates and rents by private landlords is far more damaging than any of the changes we have proposed on parking.”
That strikes me as showing the wrong attitude – especially as it ignores the point that the council has the power to cut Business Rates.