‘Why I broke up the coalition’ - Calderdale Council Labour leader Tim Swift

Janet Battye and Tim Swift shake hands outside Halifax town hall
Janet Battye and Tim Swift shake hands outside Halifax town hall

Calderdale Council leader Tim Swift has warned that the threat of further spending cuts mean the council needs clear and decisive leadership in the year ahead.

He is proposing that the Labour party as the largest group will take overall responsibility by filling all the Cabinet positions, whilst inviting both of the other major groups to take a share of the scrutiny and other non-executive roles.

Explaining his proposals, Coun Swift said: “It’s now clear that Calderdale faces further unprecedented reductions in our government funding over the next three years.

“On top of this, Coalition Government policies on education and health are producing new questions about the role of the local authority, whilst benefit cuts will take tens of millions of pounds out of local people’s pockets, affecting both individual households and the local shops and businesses they use.

“These events come on top of the challenges created by a growing number of people who need help from social care with their daily lives; the continuing need to improve our services for children and young people; and the challenge to secure decent jobs paying decent wages for local people.

“As the largest party, the Labour group is aware that it’s our responsibility to take the lead in helping Calderdale Council and our communities thrive in the face of these challenges. At the same time, we are committed to running the Council in an open and collaborative way that allows each political group and individual council to contribute.”

Since the 2010 General Election, Calderdale’s Labour councillors have worked in executive partnership with the Liberal Democrats, sharing all cabinet positions in a three-year agreement.

The proposal going forward is that Labour should hold all the cabinet positions. They are hoping to avoid exclusion of one of the major parties from scrutiny panels and other roles creating greater shared responsibility.

The Labour leadership have announced their proposals now to ensure sufficient time for dialogue prior to the Council AGM, in May, to enable a smooth transition to take place.