Category Archives: Press Releases

Article 50 triggered

Paul Nuttal. UKIP Leader
Paul Nuttal. UKIP Leader

UKIP Leader Paul Nuttall issued the following statement earlier:

“Today the Government has finally acted on the historic decision of the people of this country to leave the European Union.

“Finally, nine months after our vote the UK hasl formally informed the EU that we are leaving.

“UKIP is delighted that this is eventually happening. 24 years ago this party was formed to make this a reality, so it would be churlish to complain. We have been ignored, dismissed insulted and abused, but through determination and with good humour we fought on and we have succeeded.

“The nine-month delay has, of course cost the taxpayer additional billions, and has allowed those who would block the democratic will of the people to do all they can to spread discord, but we are here now.

“While negotiations continue we will continue to be the ‘guard dogs of Brexit’, holding the Government’s feet to the fire at home and our MEPs will be working to ensure our friends on the continent do not pull any fast ones.

“We will provide the political threat to ensure no backsliding takes place and ensure that Brexit does indeed mean Exit.

“With our six key tests we have set out a reasonable and clear position by which the Government’s negotiations can be held to account.

“But today, for now, we wish the Government and the Prime Minister well.

“If they fail in this historic task, 17 million people are ready to act.”

Kersten England, the CEO of Bradford Council earns £182,064 per year

Yet again I am appalled at the salary of Kersten England, the CEO of Bradford Council; £182,064 per year with an increase of £1,820 due in April. I have read the comments of Susan Hinchcliffe and Simon Cooke and find it difficult to comprehend their thoughts in these times of austerity. The Chief Executive’s job must be out of this world doing what has been mentioned by Susan Hinchcliffe!

But can we now please face reality. The Chief Executive simply runs Bradford Council, whereas the Prime Minister runs the country and is paid some £30,000 less, at a mere £150,402. Let’s ask ourselves, just who has more responsibility?

Let’s find someone else who would do just as good a job and not waste monies on cycle lanes costing £29 million and City Park mirror pools costing £24 million. I am all for regeneration but at a realistic price. Let’s look after the people of Bradford & District first and foremost; then we can look at more realistic projects such as social care,school places,roads and footpaths.

Stephen Henry

Response to Max Hey’s letter in the T&A on March 13th

I refer to Max Hey’s letter in the T&A on March 13th.

Oh how I chuckle as people go to desperate lengths to discredit UKIP.

If the party wasn’t proving itself to be a threat to the out-of-touch Westminster elite, then people wouldn’t bother trying to spread misleading information about UKIP.

But UKIP are a threat to the traditional LabLibCon parties. Hence Mr Hey feels the need to refer to various comments by Paul Nuttall, the UKIP leader, made 6 years ago.

Does Mr Hey not have anything current to talk about?

Would a letter be published in the T&A that refers to any of Jeremy Corbyn’s comments 6 years ago? No, I think not. So let’s get back to 2017 and set out UKIP’s policy on the NHS correctly.

UKIP is fully committed to keeping the NHS free at the point of delivery for UK citizens. It will integrate adult social care into the NHS and deliver enhanced mental health services, with significant £multi-billion extra funding for the NHS. Fact.

Sara Hardman

What the Council spends its money on.

I refer to Mr Lightfoot’s letter on Thursday, querying what the Council spends its money on. The Council website is a source of much information, especially regarding the Council’s wages bill.

Our 90 district Councillors (yes 90!) not only had their basic salaries, but more than 70 of them received a Special Responsibility Allowance, totalling £589,260 last year.

A fair few Councillors earnt over £40-50k. Justified? Well they do have lots of responsibility, looking after the Council’s services, revenue and costs each year. But then I discover there is also a Chief Executive with a team of at least 8 Directors and 18 Assistant Directors. Of these, 7 earnt over £100k and 4 earnt between £95-100k.

The Chief Executive earnt a staggering £178,476 last year. Top profit-making companies often pay this amount to attract the right kind of people to their top positions. But the Council is not a profit-making company; it is a public service body operating for the good of its residents.

The Prime Minister, with far greater responsibility, only earns £142,500; how can the Chief Executive of Bradford Council earn more???

The mantra of “we’re all in this together” isn’t really working.

Sara Hardman, Falcon Road, Bingley

UKIPs response to the budget cuts by Bradford Council

Bradford Council have recently announced a package of drastic cuts to its budget, including:

  • cuts to adult social care of £16M over the next two years
  •  shutting the Bradford Ministry of Food
  • closing all but one of the districts public toilets
  • saving more than £1M over the next two years from school nursing and health visiting
  • cutting the events and festivals budget of £150,000
  • saving £1M over two years by stopping grants to voluntary and community groups which run healthy eating or exercise programmes
  • saving £100,000 by pulling staff out of more libraries,
  • closing seven community Halls,
  • stopping all maintenance of sports pitches and bowling greens,
  • closing two out of four of the districts visitor’s information centres

With these cuts comes a rise in Council tax of 4.99%.

The Labour-run council blames these cuts on the Tory government and their programme of austerity. Whilst we accept that there have been austerity cuts imposed by the Tories, it does not shy away from the fact that our Council’s finances have been appalling badly managed by Labour.

Millions have been wasted on vanity projects such as £29m on the Connect Superhighway Cycle lane that very few people use and £24m on the Mirror Pool at City Park. The council claimed that the latter would bring in 6000 people a day; a grossly optimistic figure. Other smaller projects include £15k on a metal statue of a baby and £13,000 on fitting colour-changing lights to the top of a Bradford city centre tower block. The latest vanity project is a £7,000 upgrade to the five-room suite of offices at City Hall, used by the Leader of Bradford Council. The plans have been blasted by the Taxpayers’ Alliance and opposition groups, with one councillor saying it “beggars belief” at a time of multi-million pound cuts to services.

In addition, the Council spent nearly £100,000 over the three years from 2012 to 2015 with an external public relations (PR) firms, despite having its own press and communications team. The TaxPayers’ Alliance branded this spending “totally unjustifiable” at a time of austerity.

Are these really the kind of projects that the Council should be spending OUR money on, when basic services such as the gritting of roads is cut.

There has also been a lack of forward planning for revenue generation. For instance, the Odeon cinema refurbishment could have been undertaken by the Council and not by private financiers. That way the Council could have reaped the benefits from the income generated out of the building. The refurbishment of St Georges Hall, financed partly by the Heritage Lottery Fund, could have been a prime example of spending money for future revenue generation. Can you imagine Leeds City Council ever letting their city getting into this state of disrepair?

There are other projects that have been abandoned; £1.2m was wasted on a feasibility study for a swimming pool in the City that will now not go ahead. Surely at the time the £1.2m was spent, the Council knew that austerity measures were coming?

The general public have already suggested how various savings could be made. For instance, the £17m project on the upgrading burial grounds and crematorium could be put on hold. There is talk of replacing the Jacobs Well Council building and building a new Council Hub in the City at a cost of £20m; the agreement for this was signed in 2015, during the austerity cuts. Has money been set aside for this? Or consultant’s fees already been spent? Surely there are empty buildings in in City that could be used instead? A further £19m has been set aside to turn the old Keighley College into yet another “Council Hub”. This is despite the Labour Councillor there stating that there was not the need for another hub, the three current ones in Keighley already being under-utilised.

So what are UKIP’s solutions?
Can we just blame the Tory government who initiated the programme of austerity. Or the Labour Council who mismanaged the money? That would be too easy. Instead, UKIP has come up with its own suggestions:

Firstly, we would always argue that council tax should be as low as possible, whilst maintaining essential services. Our council should cut its annual wage bill of £542m, or £225m if you exclude staff in schools. It should not be cutting front-line staff and services such as gritting, waste collection and community centres.

Secondly, a full review of vanity projects undertaken by the Council should be undertaken. These have already been described in detail above.

Thirdly, the Council’s advertising and self-promotion budgets should be cut. Why does a Council need to self-promote itself?

In terms of the council’s wage bill, there are numerous ways to reduce it; by looking at Councillor’s salaries and allowances and by cutting highly paid council executives’ salaries.

Its already been established that 650 MPs is too many and the Boundary Commission are looking to reduce the numbers to 600. Has it occurred to anyone that 90 councillors for a population of 530,000 may be too many? Each ward has 3 councillors and this could easily be reduced to two, if not one. You would struggle to find a member of the public being able to name ALL 3 of his councillors. As well as reducing the Councillor wage bill, local elections would only need to be held every other year, providing an additional saving.

Have our councillors taken a reduction in salary? No, they have taken a 1% payrise on their basic salary. Granted, a freeze in pay and reducing the number of Councillors isn’t going to save the Council £millions. But it is going to send the right message out to the constituents that “we’re all in this together”. A step in the right direction, so to speak.

Another saving can be made by cutting the Special Responsibility Allowances of Councillors. In 2015/16 Councillors were paid £13,463 a year with Special Responsibility Allowances (SRAs) amounting to a total of £589,260 between them. A suggestion by a UKIP Councillor in a full Council meeting that the SRAs could be cut was met with stunned silence.

The Councillors have reduced the number of Executive members from 7 to 6, with the creation of 6 Executive Assistants, now reduced to 3. But in a meeting on 4th November last year, they decided to award these 3 assistants a 50% increase in their SRA. The justification was that they were now doubling their workload as they had been reduced from 6 to 3. But these were all fairly new positions anyway!

The SRA’s mean that at least 4 of the Councillors earn over £40,000 a year. And is it right that Susan Hinchcliffe, leader of the Labour party in Bradford Council earns over £50k a year?

After all, she has a Chief Executive, Kersten England, earning £178,476 a year and below this a team of at least 8 Directors and 18 Assistant Directors. Of these Directors and Assistant Directors, 7 earnt over £100k per year and 4 earnt between £95-100k per year during 2015/16.

Whilst some senior manager posts are due to be merged, UKIP believes there should be a full review of executive pay. The Prime Minister, with far greater responsibility, only earns £142,500; is it right that the Chief Executive of Bradford Council earns nearly £36,000 more than the Prime Minister? We can understand that profit making companies wanting to attract the right kind of people to their top positions would pay more than this. But the Council is not a profit-making company; it is a public service body operating for the good of its residents.

It seems to me that there are too many admirals and not enough ships at our Council. Admirals sit there with their excessive salaries, self-promotion budgets and vanity projects whilst residents are left with their essential services cut BEYOND the bare minimum.

Sara Hardman, UKIP Bradford & District

Bradford Council discuss underground train line

Letter to the Telegraph and Argus:

I am dumbfounded on reading that the Labour faction in Bradford Council are discussing the possibility of an underground train line going to the Interchange. Surely we, as a city, have far more issues to discuss, such as the lack of social care, mental health, lack of school places and roads and pavements etc etc.  Surely these are far more important, in our current time of austerity and cutbacks?

I appreciate that it is only a discussion but time is of an intrinsic value that you can never get back.  I don’t pay towards the Councillors salaries for them to discuss totally meaningless subjects when we are in such a poor state as a city. Let’s get our act together and concentrate on the important issues.

An inconvenience to my conveniences

The Council was adamant that the expected £6,000 per annum income earned from these parking charges was vital to their budget.

Apparently a detailed cost benefit analysis was undertaken. The Council’s latest budget cuts are to all public toilets in the area, City Park excluded. A lack of toilets at St Ives is hardly going to keep the visitors there all day.

I wonder if their cost benefit analysis factored in the resulting fall in car parking revenue. Just one of many ill-conceived ideas.

Derrick Hodgson

A frosty start to the day

I awoke on a bitterly cold morning today to be met with an equally frosty headline from the T&A:

£82m cuts proposed by the Labour Council. £8m cut from care to the elderly and £65k cut from the Warm Homes programme;

Are our pensioners not struggling enough already to keep warm in this weather?

But it could have been worse; Cllr Hinchcliffe could have announced the cuts in the middle of a summer heatwave. By then, the rats will have taken control of our streets, brought on by the fortnightly bin collections, and pest control services will have been scrapped.

What is to become of our beautiful city? I have my own ideas on how to cut costs, but I doubt the Council would be interested.

Sara Hardman