HEBWEB ELECTION HUSTINGS
Six questions to six Parliamentary Candidates
Sunday, 22 March 2015
The HebWeb has written to each of the six candidates, posing six questions. The questions were constructed in order to help voters understand the differences between the different parties. Each of the candidates has now replied and you can read their responses below.
1. If elected, would your party stop the threatened closure of A&E in Calderdale?
Josh Fenton-Glynn (L): I have been campaigning extensively to keep our A&E open. From leading a protest walk from Todmorden all the way to Huddersfield hospital and speaking to hundreds at meetings up and down the valley, to meeting with Labour's Shadow Health Secretary to make our case. He was very clear that in his view the clinical case for the closure of our A&E had not been made and that Labour don't close wards when there is not evidence that clinical outcomes will be improved.
Irrespective of who is in government, I will fight to make sure we keep our A&E open so that we have the right services in Calderdale. The proposals as they stand would amount to little more than a Walk-In Centre with an A&E sign above the door. Anyone who claims that this is the same thing as having a full A&E department in Halifax, either doesn't understand or is deliberately misleading.
Alisdair Calder McGregor (LD): Yes. Calderdale Liberal Democrats believe that emergency treatment must remain available at Calderdale. Furthermore, we believe that "see & initiate" treatment facilities should be made available in the upper valley as well, at Todmorden health centre.
Paul Rogan (UKIP): There is no simple answer to this question and politician's one-liners or party sound bites are not helpful either. All aspects of the NHS, including A&E services, should not be used as a football for scoring party political points. I want the best health service we can afford, available free at the point of need. If anyone is interested in reading my views in greater detail they are on my blog. 6th February.
Jenny Shepherd (G): Yes. I have been actively campaigning against NHS cuts and sell offs in Calderdale for over a year and I'm not about to stop now.
The threatened closure of A&E in Calderdale is all about money. A year ago, the Chief Officer of Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group, Matt Walsh, admitted that the "case for change" is based on the need to reduce NHS spending in line with a predicted national NHS funding shortfall of £30bn by 2020 – a requirement NHS England announced in 2013 in its "Call to Action".
This line comes straight from Andrew Lansley who, when Secretary of State for Health, claimed that the current NHS system is unsustainable and therefore has to change.
This argument has more holes in it than a sieve, as I pointed out a year ago on Upper Calder Valley Plain Speaker
Green Party policy is to enact the 2015 NHS Reinstatement Bill in the first Parliament after the election. This cross-party Bill will restore the NHS to its core founding principles and stop and reverse marketisation and privatisation.
In March 2010, the Health Select Committee found that running the NHS as a 'market' cost the NHS 14% of its annual budget. And that was before the privatisation onslaught unleashed by the 2012 Health and Social Care Act.
Caroline Lucas MP has already tabled this Bill as a private members' bill, with cross-party backing.
Implementing the BIll in the 2015 Parliament will save the NHS the £ billions that are wasted on operating an "internal" market and privatisation. It will put that money back into patient care and help solve the predicted NHS funding shortfall.
Rod Sutcliffe (YF): In order to have the power to stop the closure we need a democratically elected Yorkshire parliament similar to the Scottish parliament. We need a health service for Yorkshire, with health policies for Yorkshire, more responsive to local needs and wishes. There will always be huge pressures on our health service. Privatisation of services has not improved quality or reduced costs. The profit motive destroys our caring NHS ethos. Real investment in public health, and publicly provided general practice, primary care and social care will enable us to manage pressures on hospital services, including A&E, whilst controlling costs and improving health in the longer term. Yes, we would stop any threatened closure of A&E in Calderdale.
Craig Whittaker (C): If this was a straight forward battle between Huddersfield & Calderdale over A & E services, then of course I would campaign vigorously to have A & E in Halifax.
However, it seems closure at either site is not what we are talking about. I asked Matt Walsh, CCG Chief Officer directly the question of whether in the case of topic 2 or 3 (the potential topics for discussion released last year as part of The Calderdale and Huddersfield Health and Social Care Strategic Review), the site not chosen to be the major site for A&E would be closed, or downgraded. The answer was, 'We are talking about neither. We are talking about a provider proposal to transform the way in which urgent care services are delivered, precisely along the lines of the Keogh review. If commissioners choose to progress any of these scenarios, we are clear that we will need to see an urgent care offer at both sites and indeed within some of our localities' (Todmorden).
It is clear then that this is not as straight forward as one site being enhanced and the other closing. It is much deeper and therefore I think we should have an open, honest and intelligent debate about what needs to be done to ensure the optimum provision and future sustainability of NHS services locally.
Just to be absolutely clear, may I re-iterate that if this was a straight forward fight to save A & E in Halifax then yes, I would without question support that aim. However, I don't think it is straightforward and therefore welcome our community having an open, honest and transparent debate - without scare-mongering - and with a genuine aim to ensure that we have safe, quality services that best serve everyone and that are sustainable going forward.
2. As an MP would you argue for or against continuing policies of economic austerity?
Josh Fenton-Glynn (L): This government has been a disaster for our economy, and the Conservatives are planning further spending cuts for the next 5 years, which will take us back to levels not seen since the 1930s. The economy was growing by 1% a quarter when Labour left office in 2010 and the current government are yet to meet that. I strongly believe that if we don't invest in vital areas like health and education our economy will fall back further.
Families are facing a massive cut in their standard of living, the greatest nationally since the 1870s. For an economy that works for everyone, we have to address low pay and that is why I'm proud the Labour Party will raise the minimum wage above inflation every year until it reaches £8 an hour by 2020, and make it easier for people with children to get back into work with 25 hours per week of universal free child care for 3 and 4 year olds.
Alisdair Calder McGregor (LD):The objective of the Liberal Democrats is to end the need for financial austerity by returning the country to a balanced budget, and to ensure that never again is the country exposed to the kind of deficit and off-budget spending that left the economy requiring austerity in the first place. Nobody in the Liberal Democrats wants austerity to continue one moment longer than necessary, but it is necessary to complete the task of returning to a well run and balanced budget. Our plan calls for the elimination of the deficit in financial year 2017-18, with increased scope for investment beyond that point, but we cannot countenance returning to the failed economics of eternal debt and borrowing that burdens future generations with the task of paying for the previous governments mistakes.
Paul Rogan (UKIP): My son is 15 years old and unless something is done to reduce the deficit, he and his generation will never be free of debt. Also, I do not want him to have to go crawling on his knees for German handouts like Greece. Savings have to be made, essential services have to be maintained and investments have to be targeted in order to improve living standards and regenerate wealth creating industries, especially in the North of England. As an MP I would consider each issue separately on its individual and relative merits. Naturally I will favour measures which will most benefit Calder Valley.
Jenny Shepherd (G): Against.
The Green Party rejects so-called austerity policies.
Austerity was the post-World War 2 policy of making sure that in a time when the country was really broke, following the hardships and destruction of war, the available resources were shared out fairly by rationing, and by dedicating production to well-designed but cheap utility goods. People's health has never been better before or since, because food was shared out fairly so everyone got enough good quality nutrition.
What is happening now is the opposite of austerity. It is a policy that dare not speak its name - corporate welfare. This government is ripping off £85bn/year of public money to hand over to private companies - while cutting public spending on public services to the bone, imposing inhumane sanctions on benefits claimants, subjecting people with disabilities to humiliating work capability assessments and increasing the precariousness of everyday life.
And that's on top of the £1 trillion of public money handed out to the banksters to bail them out from the consequences of their criminally foolish decisions, that came home to roost in 2008.
As an MP I would argue that everyone should have access to the resources for a decent quality of life, with certainty, without fear, while we all live collectively within the limits of our one planet.
I would argue that we need to rebuild the economy so it works for the common good and everyone gets a fair share.
The Green Party aims to do this by stopping tax dodging and setting a Wealth Tax on the top 1% of earners. This will bring £billions each year into the Treasury.
We would use this to increase public spending to around 45% of GDP - similar to Germany, less than France and Denmark. And less than the UK Government spent in 2010.
This would allow us to pay for a properly funded NHS and for public investment in a Green New Deal that will create one million climate jobs. These are skilled jobs that will pay at least a living wage.
Public spending has a multiplier effect - people spend their incomes on other goods and services, so money circulates in the economy, and people pay taxes which can go back into more public spending.
Rod Sutcliffe (YF): It took me some time to understand that managing a national economy is not like household budgeting. At home, if debt is building up and income falling, you should cut spending. Economic analysis, and historical experience shows that government spending, especially on infrastructure such as housing and transport, stimulates an economy and is the fastest way to recover from a recession. Dramatic cutting of government spending depresses the economy and prolongs a recession by reducing people's spending power and the government's tax income. This is exactly what has happened over the last five years. Reducing deficit and national debt is desirable but not necessary, and certainly not urgent in our case. Austerity in a recession is a policy followed for ideological reasons, not for the purpose of recovery. As an MP I would argue strongly for ending policies of economic austerity.
Craig Whittaker (C): This Government has halved the deficit as a share of national income since 2010 and although the amount that we are borrowing continues to fall (from £97.5bn in 2013/14 to £90.2bn in 2014/15), we are still spending far more as a nation than we are generating in income through taxation. This is not sustainable and I will continue to support the Government's efforts to reduce the deficit in a fair and equitable manner.
3. To what extent would regional devolution help overcome the North South divide?
Josh Fenton-Glynn (L): The average Yorkshire family is over £2,000 a year worse off under this government and for every job created in the north there are 12 created in the south.
One of the reasons I've been campaigning for improved rail infrastructure for our region is because I believe better transport on the line between Leeds and Manchester would make a huge positive impact on jobs in our area. We currently have unsafe, unclean and unreliable pacer trains on the Calder Valley line. Northern Rail is the only rail company that uses these despite being the most profitable franchise in the country. This is utterly unacceptable.
I've long argued within the Labour Party for greater regionalisation so we can have developments that respond to the needs of local areas. Our country will only succeed if every region works to its full potential, and the best people to control that are those who are in the area and understand the areas. Labour are putting our money where our mouth is on regional devolution. That includes a commitment to devolve £30 billion from Whitehall departments to be instead invested in our regions.
Alisdair Calder McGregor (LD): Regional devolution would be a massive help to the UK economy as a whole, and especially to the North. Devolving the budgets and decision making for Yorkshire to a Yorkshire Parliament would allow politicians here who have the interests of Yorkshire in mind to take the decisions to empower Yorkshire and strengthen our economy. As a Liberal Democrat, I believe very strongly that politics works best when it works as closely as possible with the people it represents. It's for this reason that the Yorkshire & Humber Liberal Democrats Devolution Policy (which I wrote) calls for not only Yorkshire devolution, but for more devolution of powers to the Councils at Borough, Town & Parish level. The one thing regional devolution won't solve is the fact that it's much nicer to live in Yorkshire than down south.
Paul Rogan (UKIP): The North-South divide will not be solved in the slightest by regionalism or devolution. It will only be addressed by positively investing more money in the north than presently is the case. Dividing up England into bite sized Regions, more easily incorporated into the Federal EU is not something I could ever agree with, whatever tempting 'sweetie shop' promises might be on offer. UKIP has identified very many regeneration projects in the North of England which are geared to economic stimulus and improving the living standards and quality of life 'up north'.
Jenny Shepherd (G): It depends on what sort of regional devolution and whether or not it happened within the current political context.
I think we need to fix the whole broken political system, rather than tinkering with bits of it.
The Green Party is calling for a People's Constitutional Convention, to consider radical changes to the whole UK political system, that will redistribute power away from an increasingly out-of-touch, Westminster elite.
If people in Scotland are to have more control over their political system, that needs to happen in the rest of the UK too.
Power must flow upwards from the people rather than downwards from an over-centralised state.
For this to happen, we need meaningful electoral reform based on a system of proportional representation, a fully-elected Upper House, a written constitution, greater powers for local and regional government, the extension of the right to vote to all 16 year-olds, and a process that allows the total recall for all elected politicians.
The Green Party will argue that any new Constitutional settlement that comes out of a Constitutional Convention should be subject to a referendum. I think we need to sort out these big issues first, if regional devolution is to work and have any chance of overcoming the North/South divide.
Rod Sutcliffe (YF) The problem is caused by the long term dominance and overdevelopment of London as an international financial centre. Infrastructure and tourism investment are many times greater than other parts of the country, and the potential for development elsewhere is ignored. Yorkshire has great potential for industrial, business and economic development. It needs major development in transport connectivity, particularly rail, and regional powers to release our entrepreneurial spirit. Yorkshire has a population larger than Scotland and an economy twice the size of Wales, but the powers of neither. City mayors are a partial and inadequate approach that have been recently rejected. Combined Authorities are undemocratic and have very limited powers (who even knows that the West Yorkshire Combined Authority exists, let alone what it does?).
A Yorkshire parliament, democratically elected by proportional representation, with the powers of the Scottish parliament, would be a shining example of how to reduce inequality and the so-called North South divide.
Craig Whittaker (C): The Government has agreed a new devolution deal with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority through which it takes further responsibility over skills, transport, employment, housing and business support. This, along with previous announcements from the Chancellor with regards to creating a 'Northern Powerhouse' will continue to ensure that economic growth in the north of England gathers pace and that we continue to recover from Labour's great recession and the devastating effects that this had upon local people and businesses throughout the Calder Valley.
4. Human-induced climate change is now accepted as fact by scientists and most politicians. What urgent steps would candidates take to bring us back from the brink?
Josh Fenton-Glynn (L): One of the reasons I voted for Ed Miliband to be leader of the Labour Party is because he was the first senior political figure I've seen talk with passion about climate change and call for the urgent action I believe we need. Labour are committed to a carbon-free Britain by 2030, and I strongly support transition to renewable energy sources, development of green technology and moving away from fossil fuel dependency, including investment in fracking. But we must also work multilaterally on a global scale. There's a crucial UN climate summit in Paris this December and I want a government who will fight climate change to be representing us there. Not a Tory government with the current PM who famously told his aides to "cut the green crap".
Alisdair Calder McGregor (LD): Climate change is undoubtedly induced by human actions - there is no doubt whatsoever on this point. I would do the following:
- Exempt energy-saving measures like double glazing and insulation from VAT, to encourage their installation. It makes no sense for the government to be charging VAT on things that it wants to encourage. This will also have the effect of reducing people's fuel bills, both because they will use less energy, and because as the demand for energy goes down the cost per unit will fall.
- Eliminate existing electricity generation from Fossil Fuels as fast as possible.
- Implement an absolute ban on development of new fossil fuel sources, such as fracking.
- Encourage onshore & offshore wind generation by a system of guaranteed generation tariffs.
- Build Tidal lagoon projects and pumped storage facilities (like Dinorwig), both as generation means and as power storage means for when renewable energy is not generating enough for immediate demands.
- Work with international partners to encourage worldwide removal of fossil fuel generation and implement renewable generation.
Paul Rogan (UKIP): Climate change is perhaps the most serious issue in the world, especially for those younger than I am who will have to live in a world which will be more poisoned and polluted than the one I grew up in. This problem has to be dealt with at the highest levels internationally; I would campaign tirelessly to address this problem. We must all do what we can to preserve this earth; it's the only one we have!
Jenny Shepherd (G): This is such a huge question that I groaned aloud at the thought of having to answer it in a few words. I realise this is not a very Green response, sorry!
But there are specific things we can do within the current scheme of things that will help reduce climate change.
These include setting up a Green New Deal that will invest public money to create one million "climate" jobs.
The Green New Deal will include a mass, national home insulation scheme that will make homes more energy efficient and cut energy use. (It will also create green jobs in every constituency and cut heating bills for the one in four households living in fuel poverty.)
A Green New Deal will also invest in renewable energy generation, particularly wind, tidal and solar energy, cutting the use of fossil fuels.
We need to move fiscal incentives such as tax breaks away from fossil fuels and towards community and cooperative renewable energy generation, especially if we are to keep the two thirds of unburnable fossil fuels in the ground.
We will decarbonise other sectors of the economy as well as the energy sector. For example, green building technologies and materials exist, like straw bale building. These cut carbon emissions from construction and also from the use of the building.
Green food and farming policy stresses the need for low carbon farming methods.
The Green Party opposes fracking. There is no need for it in energy terms, and it diverts investment and resources away from the renewable energy sources we really need to be developing to prevent dangerous climate change. Adding another fossil fuel source will only make it more difficult for us to move away from a reliance on unsustainable energy.
In my opinion, beyond these relatively straightforward measures, we also need to challenge and move away from the current official consensus on a so-called "green economy" that was put forward at the Rio + 20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012.
This type of neo-liberal "green economy" aims to privatise ecosystems so that their "environmental services" can generate a profit for the companies that claim ownership of them. This represents a new enclosures movement, on a global scale. Its main goal is to open up new profit streams for finance capital after the 2008 crash. Not to respect and protect ecosystems.
A final point - I'd rather call it corporate-induced climate change, not human-induced. Let's put the responsibility where it lies.
Rod Sutcliffe (YF): This requires world-wide international commitment and cooperation. We need to be committed to agreeing and reaching international targets and I would be pushing our government to lead in striving for this. In this country we should be continuing to improve our energy efficiency, through practical measures, incentives/disincentives to domestic and industrial users and working with energy providers.
We should be encouraging and supporting the development of new technologies for energy efficiency, low carbon output, fuel economy and sustainable energy generation. Yorkshire is capable of developing the new technologies needed and I would be promoting these developments here, together with the efficient transport systems and networks needed.
Personally I do not eat meat, but I will get on my bike and travel by rail when I can.
Craig Whittaker (C): I have supported the Government's efforts to reduce carbon emissions and tackle climate change and I will continue to so do once again if re-elected.
5. Is Britain's future in Europe?
Josh Fenton-Glynn (L): Yes. When the EU was formed, Europe had been through two huge wars in 30 years. Ultimately, European cooperation has delivered us greater peace, and also prosperity. The CBI have said that the EU is worth £3,000 per family per year to the British economy. Even if they are half right I don't believe that families in our community can afford that risk.
Furthermore, we have better working rights as a result of our EU membership. Having worked for a trade union, I know how often people's jobs and conditions are protected by European regulations, giving them stability and support. I suspect Farage and his gang don't want to take us out of Europe to give us more rights at work.
Alisdair Calder McGregor (LD): Yes, Britain is a part of Europe, and must remain in the European Union for the good of the prosperity and security of the UK. The EU does need to be reformed into a more Liberal, less statist model, but the means to this is greater engagement in the political process and an end to the "buggin's turn" approach to EU leadership exhibited by the 2 big groups in the EU Parliament, the main Socialist and Conservative Groups. What Europe needs is more Liberalism.
Paul Rogan (UKIP): Great Britain and Ireland are part of Europe and will always remain so. However, I assume the question is really, what is our future with the EU. My view is that the UK's position in the world will become more prosperous and secure by re-asserting that we are an independent Kingdom. We seek and desire the best trading relationships possible with all the nations in the world, especially English speaking ones and with the EU like that of Turkey's.
Jenny Shepherd (G): Because of geography and history, Britain is part of Europe whether we like it or not.
What that means is reinvented with every generation.
A lot has changed in the EU since the UK joined the Common Market in 1974.
The Green Party supports the proposal to have an in-out referendum so that the British people can have their say on the UK's membership of the EU. We see this as a vital opportunity to create a more democratic and accountable Europe - with a clearer purpose for the future.
We want radical reform of the EU to increase transparency, make EU institutions more democratic and accountable, give Member States more control over their economies and make sure that the EU operates in the best interests of EU citizens.
The Green Party values much European Union (EU) action that has taken place in the past - we recognise that it has helped to safeguard basic rights and achieve peace and security in a previously war-torn continent.
But it now has an obsessive focus on competition and free trade - as shown by its undemocratic, secret negotiations with the USA on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
And it is also an instrument for imposing "austerity" economics on European citizens.
The European Commission and European Central Bank, working as part of the "Troika" along with the International Monetary Fund, have imposed inhumanly harsh economic controls on Southern European countries after their credit boom - financed mainly by French and German banks - went bust.
The EU/IMF Troika is now making the people of those countries pay back the French and German banks - with the people of Greece and Spain fighting back through Syriza and Podemos.
The financial crash in Southern European countries was part of the process of "harmonising" wildly different economies in order to introduce the Euro.
The Green Party would not adopt the Euro.
The Euro cannot work properly without much deeper political integration, and this would be contrary to our policy of subsidiarity - that decisions should be taken at the most local level possible that is compatible with sensible use of resources and social and economic justice.
Rod Sutcliffe (YF): Britain's future is definitely in Europe, and Britain needs to be a leader in the European Union, not whinging from the fringes. The EU can be a force for good in the world and Britain has much to contribute in Europe and in the world through the EU. We also have much to gain from membership. It costs us very little, some of this we get back through grants and much more through trade. We can exert influence internationally through the EU. Most countries agree that the EU needs reforms, and the best way to achieve these is to be fully engaged and use our influence in a positive and constructive way. The EU already recognises Yorkshire as a region and as a constituency, and promotes the principle of subsidiarity, unlike the UK government..
Craig Whittaker (C): It is absolutely vital that the British people get a say on our membership of the European Union. Passions on both sides of the debate are high and as a nation it is incredibly important that we have a reasoned debate about this issue and that the public get a say at the end of this process. Although my Labour and Liberal opponents do not support a Referendum on this issue, this is something which I will continue to actively support.
6. Calder High was described by the last Secretary of State for Education as the worst school building he had ever seen. How confident are candidates that any government they are part of would rebuild those schools in our area which urgently need rebuilding?
Josh Fenton-Glynn (L): Calder High is where I went to school, and also where I had my first job as a support assistant. Our schools in Calder Valley are part of a fantastic community and have great heads and governors. However, the state of the buildings is deeply worrying.
I will be a dedicated champion for our schools. No matter who is in government, I will fight for new buildings and funding. It is an indictment of Craig Whittaker's time as our MP, that following five years in Parliament, during which he sat on Education Select Committee, both Calder and Todmorden High schools were denied funding. He spoke in Parliament about our schools just once in the two years prior to the recent decision on Priority School Building money. He supported his government in withdrawing building schools for the future funds even though he knew both schools had bids in. His recent protestations weren't so much closing the stable door after the horse had bolted but knocking the stable down, leaving it unattended for 5 years, then complaining there is no horse there.
Alisdair Calder McGregor (LD): The failure to improve school buildings in Calderdale is a scandal which goes back many years. While I'm very pleased that Cragg Vale Junior & Infants School has been targeted as a recipient of building funds in this parliament, both Todmorden & Calder High Schools need to be upgraded by direct government funding in the next parliament.
I am absolutely confident that as your MP I would be able to effectively make the case for investment in these schools which the current and previous MPs have failed to secure as part of the £27bn next generation school building fund that is expected in financial year 2016-17.
The one thing I will absolutely not accept is any kind of PFI deal for the rebuilding of the schools. I used to work on Labour's Building Schools for the Future project, and I know full well that the PFI deals involved in building those schools are a crippling long-term burden to the school budget in the same way as the PFI on Calderdale Hospital is crippling to healthcare funding.
Paul Rogan (UKIP): Very confident. Funds released from scrapping HS2 would be used to regenerate the North by investing in the North.
Jenny Shepherd (G): The Green Party sees free schools as gimmicks which divert funding from the real challenge: ensuring that all children can go to a good local school, with qualified teachers and good facilities.
The Green Party is not going to be part of any government after this election - we are not willing to enter any form of coalition, but as part of an already-established anti-austerity Parliamentary alliance with the SNP and Plaid Cymru , we are prepared to enter a supply and confidence agreement with a minority Labour government.
Since the Labour Party seems to have very similar view of free schools and the waste of public money they represent, I'd say there's a good chance that a minority Labour government with the conditional "supply and confidence" support of the Green /SNP /Plaid Cymru anti-austerity parliamentary alliance, would fund the rebuilding of our high schools out of public money - and not out of any kind of PFI deal.
Rod Sutcliffe (YF): The value of education is immeasurable, both for its life enhancing qualities at a personal level and for the development of our economy and for our future. Investment in education (perhaps even more so than our health service) is vital for our young people and in the future of Yorkshire. Yorkshire First in a Yorkshire parliament would have strong influence to ensure that school buildings were fit for purpose and promoted the best education. I cannot be confident that this will happen while the power lies in Westminster.
Craig Whittaker (C): I was bitterly disappointed that neither Todmorden High nor Calder High were allocated funding under PSBP2 and I have continued to lobby the Prime Minister, Secretary of State for Education and those civil servants involved with the process over the last few weeks. I managed to secure a one off inquiry by the Education Select Committee into the PSBP2 which was held on March 18th, as well as an adjournment debate held on March 9th. I am still speaking to Cabinet members and senior civil servants in the DfE in relation to this issue on a daily basis and I will continue to highlight the need for money for these schools with the Prime Minister and senior members of Government.
I would also add that the previous Labour MP for the Calder Valley failed to secure any money for these schools during the 13 years when she was an MP and the schools never qualified under the Labour's BSF programme.