Holly Lynch MP

Working hard for the people of Halifax, Illingworth & Mixenden, Town, Ovenden, Park, Skircoat, Northowram & Shelf, Sowerby Bridge and Warley

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Halifax MP Holly Lynch has criticised the Conservative Government’s Budget delivered on Wednesday for failing to provide additional funds for local services.

Chancellor Philip Hammond announced a number of new proposals including a pledge to spend £30m to improve mobile and digital connectivity on the TransPennine rail route.                                                   

But she was concerned that the Government hasn’t taken action to address the housing crisis or restore funding to the Police and Social Care services, all of which she says are crucial for residents of Calderdale.                                                   

She said: “This was not a budget that delivers for Halifax. Although many of our essential local services are facing a funding crisis, the Chancellor has mostly ignored their calls for extra resources.        

“There is no extra money for Calderdale Council, even though they have seen the worst cuts in a generation.

“They simply can’t provide the same level of services when their budget continues to be slashed.  It will also be a huge challenge to ensure that quality Social Care is provided to all our elderly residents who need support.

“Homelessness is rising yet this Budget takes no significant action on affordable homes and changes to Universal Credit are not due until as late as April. This means we’re not going to tackle this growing problem any time soon.”

Ms Lynch has also backed calls by West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson, for more cash for the service, saying that since 2010, West Yorkshire police have faced cuts of £160 million and lost 1,200 frontline officers and about 800 members of staff.                                                                                                        

“Police budgets need to increase so that the public, and officers, are safe and the forces can tackle all kinds of crime in a quick and efficient way that provides justice for victims of crime” she said.

“With violent crime rising, and increased threats from terrorism, I was hugely disappointed that the Government offered no extra money for policing. Proper community policing cannot be done on the cheap.”

Holly criticises Budget - "it doesn’t deliver for Halifax"

Halifax MP Holly Lynch has criticised the Conservative Government’s Budget delivered on Wednesday for failing to provide additional funds for local services. Chancellor Philip Hammond announced a number of new...

Courier Column 29/09/17

It’s been clear for a long time now that our rail services are in desperate need of investment. The frequent delays, overcrowding and outdated trains are all evidence of the need for change.

The Conservative Transport Secretary Chris Grayling is certainly aware of the situation. During his whistle-stop visit to Sowerby Bridge railway station during the general election campaign he repeated the promise that our local rail services would be modernised and electrified. However, fast forward three months and you will now see the Government arguing that full electrification might not be feasible, even while the hugely expensive Crossrail 2 in London is getting the green light.

Those who live and work here know that our transport infrastructure has been ignored for too long. There is a clear cross-party consensus in Yorkshire, and amongst councillors in Calderdale, that electrification should be a top priority and that Central Government funding is the only way to achieve this.

The benefits of electric trains are clear; they are faster and more reliable than the diesel trains we currently have on the line. They would be less polluting, quieter and provide a first impression that we can be proud of to business travellers and tourists coming by rail.

Electrifying links on the main trans-Pennine line from Liverpool and Manchester to Leeds, and on the Calder Valley Line, would also benefit our regional economy. It would be possible to live in Halifax and look for jobs in Manchester, Liverpool, Chester or beyond knowing that you’d be able to commute in comfort and arrive on time. Businesses here could recruit from a wider pool of workers making Halifax a more attractive place to start or relocate a firm.

It would also help increase tourism, building on the success of recent developments. The exciting new ‘cultural quarter’ including the Piece Hall, the newly-built library and extended Square Chapel will attract many more people to our town and it would be great if they could travel here using a modern transport system.

A recent report found that more than half of the UK’s total spending on transport networks is invested in London. While on average every person in Yorkshire and the Humber receives the equivalent of £190, they found the figure for London was £1,943 per head. This is the reason why talk of a ‘Northern Powerhouse’ was so welcome; it seemed to signal a recognition of how unbalanced our country has become between London and everywhere else, and a desire to address this.

So, I will continue to make the case in Westminster for improved rail services and more generally for increased investment in the North. It’s time the Government delivered on its promises to voters and committed to supporting our region.

Halifax Courier Column - Improving our rail services

Courier Column 29/09/17 It’s been clear for a long time now that our rail services are in desperate need of investment. The frequent delays, overcrowding and outdated trains are all...

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Holly Lynch at Sowerby Bridge Railway Station

 

Halifax MP Holly Lynch has warned that proposed changes to rail timetables by train operator Northern could see a cut to services at Sowerby Bridge station.

 

Northern are currently working with Network Rail to determine the timetable proposals for the Calder Valley Line from May 2018 which will impact the frequency of services, which stations they stop at, and the times of the first and last trains of the day.

 

Ms Lynch has written to Northern’s Director Alan Chaplin, highlighting a number of changes which she believes will negatively impact rail users in Sowerby Bridge.

 

She has raised concerns that the last direct train from Manchester to Sowerby Bridge could be as early as 21:20, that there will be a diminished service for those travelling from Sowerby Bridge to Huddersfield, and that direct services on Sundays from Sowerby Bridge to Todmorden and Manchester could be discontinued.

 

Commenting on the proposed changes Ms Lynch said:

 

“There are many problems with Northern services at present, including massive overcrowding for commuters so I’m working closely with local rail users to ensure that things start to improve.

 

“I appreciate that it is difficult to schedule trains so that everyone is happy with the result, however it does appear that Sowerby Bridge is being left behind with these particular proposals.

 

“Cuts to services at Sowerby Bridge could bring a number of problems for rail users. For example those heading for a night out in Manchester could be forced to return home just after 9 o’clock, or pay for a taxi at significant extra expense.

 

“There are elements here that are to be welcomed such as the new routes to Manchester Airport and Chester due to Network Rail’s construction of the new ‘Ordsall Chord’ in Manchester.

 

“However, to maximise the benefit of these investments it is crucial that Sowerby Bridge is well served by the new timetable.”

 

Halifax Action District Rail Action Group's (HADRAG) have also campaigned on this issue. Their ‘Rail Views’ Autumn 2017 reads:

 

HADRAG and the Upper Calder Valley Renaissance Sustainable Transport Group responded jointly to Northern’s timetable proposals. Welcoming new connectivity, we also listed a catalogue of concerns—unintended consequences maybe of ambitious plans. The train company will have submitted its proposals to Network Rail by now. We hope at least some of our concerns will have been addressed. More detail on website but some key points include:

 

  • Calder Valley Manchester trains to go through all day hourly to Chester and to Manchester Airport — the expected good news.

  • York-Blackpool trains to call Sowerby Bridge and Mytholmroyd all day ‒ long standing HADRAG aspiration and welcome increase in weekday frequency. But these two stations appear to have no Sunday trains to Manchester — surely not acceptable.

  • Brighouse (Leeds-Halifax-Huddersfield) to go hourly on Sundays, improving on present 2-hourly. But no proposal to run the Leeds-Brighouse-Manchester service on Sundays — missing an opportunity to develop leisure travel along the valley.

  • Loss of attractive connections upper Calderdale-Huddersfield.

  • Uneven spacing of 4 trains/hour service Leeds-Halifax/Hebden Bridge — far from even quarter-hourly. Pathing of the new services round Manchester and via the new Ordsall Chord has resulted in a less than ideal pattern eastwards towards Leeds.

  • Some increased journey times via the Brighouse Line. Leeds-Brighouse-Manchester trains are to run fast Rochdale Manchester but look to be little if any faster overall because of extra time between Brighouse and Sowerby Bridge. Disappointing.

  • Missing early morning trains Halifax/Brighouse-Leeds.

  • Late evening Manchester-Calder Valley trains not serving intermediate stations such Sowerby Bridge and Mytholmroyd despite being improved to half-hourly. Surely this can be fixed!

  • HADRAG is also concerned about the next big timetable change in December 2019. We have asked for a meeting with the train company.

  • Update to follow in Winter edition of Rail Views.

 

Halifax MP warns of cuts to Sowerby Bridge rail services

Holly Lynch at Sowerby Bridge Railway Station   Halifax MP Holly Lynch has warned that proposed changes to rail timetables by train operator Northern could see a cut to services...


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