Halifax Labour candidate Holly Lynch has expressed her delight that Halifax has been officially declared a Fairtrade Town after nearly two years' work by Ms Lynch and local campaigners coordinating the application.
The award recognises a commitment to supporting Fairtrade and using products with the Fairtrade Mark and was presented by the Fairtrade Foundation at a special event in Halifax last Friday.
Fairtrade products guarantee that producers in the poorest parts of the world receive a fair price for the products they trade. The most popular Fairtrade product is bananas with one in three bananas bought in the UK being Fairtrade.
To become a Fairtrade Town required meeting certain criteria that show a commitment to Fairtrade. These included an active campaigning group for Fairtrade, shops, cafes and supermarkets stocking Fairtrade goods, and having passed a motion in support at Calderdale Council.
Michael Gidney, CEO of the Fairtrade Foundation said:
“Many congratulations to everyone involved. It’s inspiring work by Halifax campaigners and wonderful to have such active support from across the community.
“As a Fairtrade Town residents of Halifax can be proud that their efforts mean more producers receive a fair and stable price, get an extra premium to invest in their community and have improved workplace conditions and protection.”
During her time as an MP for Halifax Holly Lynch has been coordinating the bid for Fairtrade Town status. Ms Lynch said:
“This has been a long process and I have been working hard to achieve this award for Halifax. I am immensely proud of everyone here who has helped out and it was great to get everyone together for the special event where the award was presented.
“I’ve met with many schools, places of worship, employers, shop and cafe owners and local campaigners in our town while putting together the application. It’s been fantastic to see how many people are motivated to make a small change to their shopping to make a big difference to the poorest in the world.
“This is just the beginning and I’m hoping to keep on working closely with the newly established Halifax Fairtrade group to build on this success.”
The award puts Halifax in good company with 1,830 Fairtrade towns worldwide so far, one of the latest being Rio de Janeiro. Speaking after the launch event Calderdale Council leader Tim Swift said:
“This is a huge boost for Halifax and means that we now have two Fairtrade towns in the borough as Hebden Bridge has also attained this status.
“The council passed a motion supporting Fairtrade last year showing support for those in the developing world and recognising the advantages this prestigious status brings to the town.”
“I commend Holly’s work on this issue and this award is the result on two years of hard work to achieve this status for her hometown.”
Halifax Labour candidate Holly Lynch has expressed her delight that Halifax has been officially declared a Fairtrade Town after nearly two years' work by Ms Lynch and local campaigners coordinating...
Halifax Labour candidate Holly Lynch has attacked the Conservative’s record on transport in Calderdale after the Conservative Transport Minister promised improvements to local rail services at a campaign stop at Sowerby Bridge Station.
In a video filmed at the station Ms Lynch claims that the Conservatives have failed to deliver on past campaign promises:
“Chris Grayling was here just this week talking about electrification. This Government keep on hiding behind excuses and we know they’re not going to deliver that anytime soon.
“They only show up talking about how important transport is in Halifax when there’s a General Election on.
“I’ve been campaigning on these issues for the last two years and it really bothers me that they only want to talk about it now.”
During a campaign stop video with Conservative Candidate for Halifax, which was posted on the social network Twitter, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said:
“This is one of the lines that is going to be getting new trains, longer trains, better services as its modernised and then the electrification.”
A local rail expert explained that it was very unlikely that the Conservatives would keep the promise to deliver electrification in the near future:
“The fact is nobody knows when the Calder Valley Line is going to be electrified. The Department for Transport over which Grayling presides is at the moment in the process of backtracking on all sorts of electrification commitments.
“I wouldn't be at all surprised if early next year the announcement is that wiring from Huddersfield to Manchester is "too difficult", and the Calder Valley Line is behind the Huddersfield line in the queue.
“Ten years away might be a reasonable estimate. Since the Northern Electrification Taskforce put the Calder Valley Line at the top of the list of schemes over 2 years ago, the government has done absolutely nothing to suggest it will pursue these schemes.
“The Conservative candidate’s opening on the video is really quite disingenuous.”
Halifax Labour candidate Holly Lynch has attacked the Conservative’s record on transport in Calderdale after the Conservative Transport Minister promised improvements to local rail services at a campaign stop at...
Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth has backed a campaign to increase protections for emergency service workers from assault after meeting with paramedics in Halifax this week.
Halifax Labour candidate Holly Lynch has been running a campaign to ‘Protect the Protectors’ after having to call 999 from the back of a police car for back-up when shadowing a police officer in Halifax last year who was at risk of being assaulted.
Local paramedics from the trade unions UNITE, Unison and GMB met with Ms Lynch and Mr Ashworth and explained some of the dangers they face on the job.
A report published earlier this year by the Yorkshire Ambulance Service revealed that staff faced “violence and aggression” on a weekly basis. There was a 50 per cent increase in reported incidents of verbal and physical attacks on staff, with 606 incidents reported in 2015-16.
Mr Ashworth used the visit to announce that a Labour Government would introduce legislation to make it a specific offence to attack NHS staff as “no one should have to go to work scared and intimidated”.
Speaking after the meeting he said:
“Today I've been in Halifax listening to paramedics about the conditions they work in. They are assaulted and threatened week in week out, just going about their duty serving the community. It's a disgrace.
“Following the brilliant campaigning work of Halifax’s Labour candidate Holly Lynch, as Secretary of State for Health I'll make it a specific criminal offence to assault paramedics and NHS staff.”
Ms Lynch said:
“It’s great to get Jon’s support for my campaign to introduce more protections for emergency service workers.
“I’ve been working hard over the last two years to tackle this problem and recently put forward a Private Member’s Bill in Parliament which, despite having cross party support, the Government failed to adopt.
“If emergency workers feel unsafe we all get a worse service. Those who assault these brave workers should receive custodial sentences which reflect the seriousness of the crime.”
Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth has backed a campaign to increase protections for emergency service workers from assault after meeting with paramedics in Halifax this week. Halifax Labour candidate...
Holly’s campaign to deliver free entry to the popular Eureka Museum has received a boost from the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party who backed the proposal during a visit to Halifax this week.
Holly is calling on the Government to review its rules on museum funding which see the pioneering Eureka! miss out.
Holly and Eureka! chief executive Leigh-Anne Stradeski held talks with Conservative Minister Matt Hancock over the lack of support for the pioneering attraction in Halifax last December.
“It cannot be right that almost all the top museums in London are free yet families in Halifax have to pay to access their local cultural spaces” said Holly.
“Of all the National Museums, the ‘children’s museum’ should surely be as accessible as possible so it’s great to get this support from Tom Watson for my campaign.”
Despite being The National Children’s Museum, Eureka! does not qualify for the financial support which allows other national museums to allow free entry.
Ms Stradeski explained:
“Any profits from our entrance fees, gift shop, café, nursery and corporate activities go towards staffing and general upkeep of Eureka! Museum and Nursery.
“Eureka! currently gets no Government support and additional funding could bring the benefit of our unique educational experience to many more children from diverse backgrounds, opening their eyes to their potential and inspiring them to pursue new learning opportunities as they grow older.
“It was great to meet with Tom Watson and our local MP Holly Lynch who recently organised a meeting in London with myself and the Museums Minister on this issue.”
The Government has previously defended its decision not to fund Eureka! on the same basis as other national museums. Ministers have pointed to the collection of artefacts held by institutions such as the British Museum and described those of attractions such as Eureka! as “not of a standard or scale comparable”.
Labour’s Deputy Leader Tom Watson MP said:
“Eureka! is a world class museum, it’s somewhere I’ve brought my own children and it was fantastic today to see the huge range of exhibits and activities for children of all ages.
“I pay tribute to Holly Lynch’s campaign for proper government funding for this museum – it is a national museum, with children coming from across the country to experience it, and it should be treated as such.
“On 8th June, people in Halifax have a choice to make – if you want a strong, determined campaigner who will fight for the issues that matter here in Halifax, you need to re-elect Holly.”
Holly’s campaign to deliver free entry to the popular Eureka Museum has received a boost from the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party who backed the proposal during a visit...
Theresa May has today announced that she is taking the country to the polls with a snap general election on 8th June.
She says this is to honour Brexit and bring the country together. We know that that is the last thing it is really about.
She has seen the weekend’s polls and is acting in the interests of her party, not the country.
She wants to brand this as the ‘Brexit Election’ however Article 50 has already been triggered and she should now be concentrating on getting a good deal for Britain. The Conservatives continue to use the issue of Brexit to divide the country and distract from their long list of failures.
Our schools are having to make their staff redundant because they cannot afford to pay their wages. There is a crisis in our NHS with waiting lists at an all-time high, continued uncertainty about our own hospital, and mental health and social care provision broken. We have seen a stark rise in anti-social behaviour in Halifax because the numbers of neighbourhood police officers have halved. The Tories are running our country into the ground.
I have been working hard as the Labour MP for Halifax since my election in May 2015, but my work isn’t finished. It has been an honour and a privilege and I will be asking voters to back me again, to give me the chance to finish the campaigns I have been working on.
To fight for our A&E and NHS services. To make sure we get the floods funding we need to recover from 2015 and protect ourselves from future flooding. To protect emergency service workers from assaults, and get more police officers on our streets. To continue to be a champion and raise money for our local charities. To secure Fairtrade Town status for Halifax. To hold the Government to account for denying the Living Wage to young people, as well as all the other campaigns I have poured my heart and soul into.
I hope that I can count on your support on 8th June.
Theresa May has today announced that she is taking the country to the polls with a snap general election on 8th June. She says this is to honour Brexit and bring...
After a 2 month campaign, Halifax MP Holly Lynch has handed over a large stash of donated foreign coins to the Alzheimer’s society to help fund their essential research.
Local residents have been handing in their coins to Halifax Town Hall and the Elsie Whiteley Innovation Centre from as far as South Africa, Guatemala, and Indonesia.
850,000 people in the UK have a form of dementia and more than 67,000 of those people live in Yorkshire and the Humber.
The coins collected will be exchanged by the Alzheimer’s society to help them fund research into the cause, cure, care and prevention of dementia.
Holly has previously worked with the Alzheimer’s Society to run Dementia Friends events in Halifax and at the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool last year. These events help participants to better understand how dementia affects people’s daily lives and what can be done to improve the way we support those with dementia.
“Whilst more and more people are living well with dementia, there is still a long way to go. This money will help with vital research and support for those living with dementia.
“New treatments are badly needed and I am hopeful that we could see new drugs in the coming years which can finally beat dementia.
“Thank you to everyone who donated, your money will go a long way in helping the Alzheimer’s Society’s work.”
Alison Bradbury, Dementia Support Manager at the Alzheimer's Society, said;
“As a charity, we rely on the generosity of individuals to help us continue our vital work. We are really pleased that Holly has been working with her constituents to support us in this way. We would like to say a big thank you to all those who donated to support people with dementia in Halifax.”
“If anyone still has coins that they would like to donate, or would like to collect coins within their workplace or family and friends, then please do get in touch with the Alzheimer’s Society using my email address firstname.lastname@example.org”.
After a 2 month campaign, Halifax MP Holly Lynch has handed over a large stash of donated foreign coins to the Alzheimer’s society to help fund their essential research....
Holly visited Pulman Steel in Sowerby Bridge who were badly flooded on Boxing Day 2015
The Government have come under growing pressure from Holly, and other MPs from flood hit areas, to reveal what has happened to millions of pounds from the EU which was intended to support communities affected by flooding in 2015.
The EU Solidarity Fund is an insurance scheme for members of the EU who can claim for financial support after natural disasters.
The UK has paid into the scheme for many years and after the devastating floods on Boxing Day 2015 many MPs were keen for the Government to apply for additional assistance from the fund.
They finally agreed to do this in April 2016 and the Yorkshire Post reported at the time: “Yorkshire’s flooded communities to get huge windfall” as “up to £125m could be available for the North of England and Scotland after Northern Powerhouse minister James Wharton performed a U-turn on asking Europe for help.”
However in January of this year Minister Andrew Percy announced in a written statement that no new money would be available at all saying “this funding does not offer additional support.”
Holly has been working to uncover the full details about the Government’s application to the EU Solidarity Fund and why it failed to deliver any additional funding for places like Sowerby Bridge despite an award from the EU of €60 million.
The Yorkshire Post have taken a strong interest in this issue and have covered Holly's demand for more answers from tight lipped Ministers. You can read their full story here and their comment piece here which states that it is "no wonder there are MPs like Halifax’s Holly Lynch, whose constituency was badly hit by the floods in the Calder Valley, who now want to see detailed accounts for every last penny."
Commenting on the ongoing demands for full Government transparency Holly said:
“The Government has failed to answer a series of questions on EU flood funding that could have benefited Calderdale.
“It looks as though accounting tricks and civil service costs have swallowed up what was promised to be a ‘huge windfall’, resulting in no extra funding for flood hit communities in our area.
“This is money that we are entitled to and, although we are leaving the EU, the Conservative Government should still be claiming the full amount that we are due from this insurance policy.
“It is welcome that since the floods in 2015 there has been extra investment in flood prevention along the Calder Valley, however there are still schemes that need extra funding in order to get the green light.
“I have written to Ministers to demand further answers and to request a meeting where MPs in flood hit communities can convey their concerns.”
Holly visited Pulman Steel in Sowerby Bridge who were badly flooded on Boxing Day 2015 The Government have come under growing pressure from Holly, and other MPs from flood...
Holly hosted a special film screening to celebrate International Women’s Day with a well attended showing of Suffragette at the Square Chapel in Halifax.
Including the additional funds raised from a raffle on the night the event raised £200 for the WomenCentre in Halifax. This week Holly went to present the cheque to Angela Everson, who runs the women’s centre, who passed on her thanks to all those who supported the event.
You can read more about the WomenCentre and their work to support the quality of life of women here.
Holly hosted a special film screening to celebrate International Women’s Day with a well attended showing of Suffragette at the Square Chapel in Halifax. Including the additional funds raised from...
The Government have been accused of discrimination against young people as it was revealed that under 25s will be hundreds of pounds a year worse off than older colleagues due to changes to minimum wage rates introduced by the Government last week.
The changes to minimum wage rates on 1st April mean that there is now a 45p per hour difference in the minimum rate for those over 25 years of age and those younger than 25.
Analysis by the House of Commons Library commissioned by Holly shows that someone working 26 hours a week who is paid at the rate for 21-24 year olds (£7.05) would earn £610 less per year than someone paid the National Living Wage (£7.50 per hour). This is up from a difference of £339 based on the previous rates.
Holly is one of Parliament’s young MPs and has been campaigning against the decision to exclude under 25s from the National Living Wage, securing a debate on the issue in Parliament last year.
“Millions of hard working young people across the country are being paid less than their older colleagues, regardless of experience”, she said.
“This decision means younger workers are falling further behind their older colleagues and is a kick in the teeth for young people already struggling with insecure work and rising rents.”
“The Government need to act now to secure a fair wage for young workers and I’ll be working with young people, including young trade union representatives, and colleagues in Westminster to build pressure on the Government to end this age discrimination.”
24 year old Hamish Yewdall from Keighley in Yorkshire has worked with Holly to set up a petition opposing the changes. (https://www.change.org/p/the-rt-hon-greg-clark-mp-secretary-of-state-for-business-energy-and-industrial-strategy-end-the-discrimination-of-young-workers-by-extending-the-national-living-wage-to-under-25s)
“I have seen no convincing reason that the Government’s National Living Wage should only apply to over 25s”, he said.
“People of my age still face many of the same costs for food and rent while many of us are in large amounts of debt after the Conservatives’ decided we should pay £9000 a year for a university education.”
The National Living Wage was announced by the then Chancellor George Osborne in 2015 and faced immediate controversy when Cabinet Office Minister Matthew Hancock claimed young people were not “productive” enough to warrant being paid the new rate.
It is set to increase to £9 an hour by 2020 while young workers on the National Minimum Wage are expected to see much more modest increases in line with average earnings. For its part, the Living Wage Foundation pointed out that its own suggested level of pay is £9.75 an hour in London and £8.45 an hour in the rest of the UK – a higher rate than the Government’s National Living Wage.
The Government have been accused of discrimination against young people as it was revealed that under 25s will be hundreds of pounds a year worse off than older colleagues due...
Holly has pledged her support for the National Union of Journalists’ Local News Matters Week campaign.
The week long campaign is urging government, devolved bodies and local authorities to take active steps to support sustainable investment in professional local and regional news provision online, in newspapers and on radio and television.
She is also lobbying the government to engage with the local newspaper industry to ascertain what steps can be taken to safeguard its future and prevent the loss of titles, which she said is now “a real threat”.
She said: “Local newspapers, like the Halifax Courier, are hugely important for our communities as they play a vital role in social cohesion and the democratic process. Without their reporting many matters of local interest and concern would not become public knowledge.”
“I am concerned about the worsening financial situation confronting the local newspaper industry caused by falling advertising revenue and fewer people paying for their news. This has led to a reduction in the amount of news coverage they can provide.
“A study by Press Gazette shows that over 300 local newspaper titles have closed over the past decade.
“I am therefore delighted to support the National Union of Journalists’ Local News Matters campaign and the call for government action on the challenges posed to the sustainability of local news provision.
“I am also urging the government to engage with local newspapers to see what can be done to ensure that they survive and prosper and continue to serve their communities, not least in Calderdale and throughout the North.”
Holly has pledged her support for the National Union of Journalists’ Local News Matters Week campaign. The week long campaign is urging government, devolved bodies and local authorities to take...