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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The NHS in Yorkshire is facing a staffing crisis which is putting patient safety at risk according to the Royal College of Physicians’ (RCP), and Halifax MP Holly Lynch is calling on the Government to act.

The RCP’s annual census looks at workforce challenges in the NHS and is used to highlight areas where frontline posts remain unfilled. It has found that during 2016/17 43% of advertised consultant posts in Yorkshire and the Humber were not filled and in acute medicine only 5 out of 26 posts were appointed to successfully.

The report also highlights the problems of an ageing workforce with 37% of consultants currently working in Yorkshire and the Humber set to reach the planned average retirement age over the next decade.

The Royal College believe that these staff shortages have direct implications for patients with 22% of consultants surveyed stating that trainee rota gaps have a significant impact on patient safety.

Halifax MP Holly Lynch is calling on the Government to tackle the staffing crisis. She said:

“These worrying figures show the impact of nearly a decade of Conservative mismanagement of the NHS.

“NHS staff feel undervalued and overworked meaning increasing numbers are either leaving the service or moving overseas. In addition, as a country we are not training enough medical students or alternatively attracting enough doctors and nurses from abroad.

“The impact of this is that wards are frequently understaffed as vacant posts are left unfilled, and patients are ultimately put at greater risk.

“The Government need to go much further to ensure that our brilliant NHS staff are properly valued and that more of the next generation consider training as medical students.”

Doctors group warn NHS in Yorkshire is ‘underfunded, underdoctored and overstretched’

The NHS in Yorkshire is facing a staffing crisis which is putting patient safety at risk according to the Royal College of Physicians’ (RCP), and Halifax MP Holly Lynch is...

Holly Lynch and her Shadow DEFRA colleagues have responded to the news from Brussels of a Brexit deal that will seriously let down the fishing industry and coastal communities.

Labour’s Shadow Fisheries Minister Holly Lynch MP said;

“Michael Gove and George Eustice have been promising the Fishing Industry that the UK would take back absolute control of our waters from day one of leaving the EU.

“We now know that the rest of the Government have been having very different conversations with the EU27 and it is understandable that fishing communities feel so angry and let down.

Labour’s statement responding to the latest news from Brussels on fishing over the weekend

Holly Lynch and her Shadow DEFRA colleagues have responded to the news from Brussels of a Brexit deal that will seriously let down the fishing industry and coastal communities. Labour’s... Read more

When The Guardian ran the article ‘Halifax, the new Shoreditch of the North’ last weekend, a phrase coined by BBC 6 Music radio station, I couldn’t help but agree with former Barnsley MP and new CEO of UK Music Michael Dugher who tweeted ‘Maybe Shoreditch is the Halifax of the South!’

For anyone not familiar with Shoreditch, I’m reliably informed it’s a trendy part of London known for its fashionable bars and restaurants, artists, and a thriving live music scene. So whilst we are keen to be our own, proud northern town, it’s great to think we are firmly on the national map for all that we now have to offer. The selection of eating and drinking establishments has improved immensely over the last few years with a number of specialist craft beer bars and coffee outlets joining the varied selection of restaurants in the town. There’s also lots going on culturally in Halifax.

We’ve got a diverse array of museums, arts venues and performance spaces such as the Square Chapel, Victoria Theatre and the Artworks - which hosted a well-received Quentin Blake exhibition last year. Eureka has boasted it’s best year ever with record numbers through the doors.And the live music in our town is as good as it has been in decades. Halifax has previously played host to The Jacksons, Rod Stewart, Dusty Springfield and The Kinks to name but a few. So it’s really exciting that venues like The Lantern and Grayston Unity are once again hosting packed live music events, and the Piece Hall is hosting a huge concert in May.

It is hard to keep up with the number of accolades and awards the Piece Hall has received since it reopened just 6 months ago, with visitor numbers rivalling some of the country’s top attractions. The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall’s visit to Halifax last week was another great showcase for our town.I was very proud in Westminster last week to hear Sir Gary Verity brief MPs from across the region about the upcoming ‘Tour de Yorkshire’. He talked about how the final stage was going to be a platform to show off the stunning Piece Hall to the rest of the world, a day that we are very much looking forward to.

Calderdale Council deserve credit for their vision and role in this success. Since 2010 the Conservative Government have cut over £90m from their budget, however they have continued to invest where they can and fight to secure further investment from sources such as the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and the National Lottery. Alongside the Piece Hall Trust and Welcome to Yorkshire they are great advocates of our area.With what’s left of council funding now mainly dedicated to funding care for the vulnerable, think what more we could have achieved as a town if the Government hadn’t slashed the money available for tackling litter, supporting music and the arts, and investing in regeneration.

Our area still faces many challenges and you only have to look at the former crown post office, the disused courts and the growing homelessness on the streets, to see how the Conservative approach of nearly a decade of cuts has failed us.However, there are a growing number of reasons to be positive about Halifax, making me prouder than ever, to represent our town in Westminster.

Halifax Courier Column - Proud to represent our town

When The Guardian ran the article ‘Halifax, the new Shoreditch of the North’ last weekend, a phrase coined by BBC 6 Music radio station, I couldn’t help but agree with...

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Halifax MP Holly Lynch has written to Conservative Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt demanding an urgent explanation, after shock new figures suggested that mental health care funding in Calderdale has fallen in each of the last five years.

Mental health care in Calderdale is primarily provided by the South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (SWYPFT) who provide community, mental health and learning disability services to the people of Barnsley, Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield.

New figures from the Royal College of Psychiatrists show that SWYPFT has seen its income fall in real terms from £ 250,361,000 in 2011/12, to £229,907,000 in 2016/17, once inflation is taken into account. They are one of only nine mental health trusts in England to have seen a year on year decline in their income (in real terms) every year since 2012.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists is calling for mental health trusts to be given more money and for better ways of tracking where mental health money is being spent. It fears some of that money is failing to reach the frontline.

The figures appear to contradict the Government’s assertion that mental health spending is at “record” levels and comes as demand for services soars, with some trusts saying a lack of funds has forced them to cut services.

In addition to this, Ms Lynch has warned that cuts to Calderdale Clinical Commissioning group’s budget have also forced them to stop funding to a number of mental health community projects, all contributing to a lack of provision for mental health. 

Labour’s Holly Lynch, who is demanding an explanation from the Government, said:

“I have written to Jeremy Hunt to ask him why funding fallen year on year. I want the people of Halifax to be able to get the best possible mental health treatment when they need it, and where they need it.

“Having spent time with the out-of-hours mental health services and the police, supporting people who are undergoing a mental health crisis, so often early intervention work could and should have been in place long before a crisis presented itself. 

“I am calling on the Government to fund our mental health trusts properly. For our local mental health trust to have had their funding fall every year for five years goes completely against the government’s claims that they will properly fund mental health trusts.”

Mental Health Champion for Calderdale, Cllr Adam Wilkinson, said:

“The government say that mental health is a priority for them, and there is much talk about parity of esteem with physical health, but the reality is that funding for many frontline services is actually being cut. Patients then suffer as they can’t access the care they need.”

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Professor Wendy Burn

Professor Wendy Burn, the College’s president, said: “It is totally unacceptable that when more and more people are coming forward with mental health problems, trusts are receiving less investment than they did five years ago.”

“Patients with mental illness continue to bear the brunt of an underfunded sector experiencing unprecedented demand with limited supply.

“Prioritisation of mental health is about getting the right care, at the right time, in the right place. This can’t happen when mental health trusts continue to receive inadequate investment.”

MP calls for action as shock figures suggest mental health spending in Calderdale has fallen every year since 2012

Halifax MP Holly Lynch has written to Conservative Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt demanding an urgent explanation, after shock new figures suggested that mental health care funding in Calderdale has fallen...

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To mark the start of Fairtrade Fortnight, Co-Chair of the All Party Group on Fairtrade Holly Lynch attended a celebratory event in Parliament this week.

The event, sponsored by Co-op, gave MPs from across the political spectrum the chance to show their support for Fairtrade, chat to supporters and campaigners, hear the stories of Fairtrade producers and sample some delicious Fairtrade produce.

Parliamentarians also got the chance to pose for photographs with Fairtrade Ambassador Nick Hewer, famous for his roles on Countdown and The Apprentice.

Fairtrade Fortnight 2018 will challenge the British public to open their doors to Fairtrade and help close the door on the exploitation facing the people who produce the things we love to eat, drink, and wear.

The nationwide campaign ‘Come On In’ runs from Monday 26 February until Sunday 11 March and will invite the public to come in to the world of the people who grow our food to see what life can be like when farmers and workers aren’t paid fairly.

Thousands of events will be taking place around the country including breakfasts, breaks, bake-offs and more as people ‘come on in’ and find out more about Fairtrade. There will be a series of events at the Piece Hall, Halifax, on 3rd March run by the Halifax Fairtrade Group and Holly.

The campaign will explore how businesses, farmers, workers and shoppers can come together through Fairtrade to change this.

Holly said:

“There was amazing support for Fairtrade Fortnight in Westminster this week. I want to thank Greggs and the Coop for supporting the Fairtrade APPG event and special thanks to Fairtrade champion Nick Hewer."

Cheryl McGechie, Director of Public Engagement, The Fairtrade Foundation said:

“This Fairtrade Fortnight, we are inviting people to ‘come on in’ to see what Fairtrade does for farmers and see what exploitation looks like when trade doesn’t deliver.

“There has never been a better time to stand alongside the people who produce the products we love to eat, drink and wear. People who often do not earn enough to feed or provide for their own families.

“This unfairness must end. By buying Fairtrade you are guaranteeing farmers a fairer price for their efforts. This Fairtrade Fortnight come on into Fairtrade.”

Holly praises 'amazing support' for Fairtrade at Parliamentary reception

To mark the start of Fairtrade Fortnight, Co-Chair of the All Party Group on Fairtrade Holly Lynch attended a celebratory event in Parliament this week. The event, sponsored by Co-op,...

Labour MP Holly Lynch and local councillors have expressed their deep concern at ‘shocking’ new crime statistics for the Sowerby Bridge area. 

The latest statistics for the ward, released by West Yorkshire Police this week, show a rise in overall crime of over a third year on year.

Anti-social behaviour has increased by almost 60% and theft from motor vehicles is up by a staggering 162%. A total of 769 crimes have been recorded in the area in the year to date compared to 571 last year.

Sowerby Bridge Councillor Dot Foster said:

“These statistics are truly shocking and show exactly why our police need more resources.

“It has been clear for some time that problems such anti-social behaviour have been getting worse but there are simply not enough police officers to tackle it. 

“As a councillor I have been working with the police and other agencies to try and remedy the problem and I am pleased that the Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson is working hard to find the money to recruit new officers.”

Halifax MP Holly Lynch has spent a number of shifts with the police locally and has been leading a national campaign to bring in new legislation to protect emergency service workers.

She said:

“We have lost 2000 police staff since 2010, a reduction of 20% of the force so it really is no surprise that the effects of these government cuts are being acutely felt in our communities.

“As well as simply having fewer officers, we are increasingly seeing officers ‘single crewed’, and deployed to emergencies on their own. If police officers themselves are not safe, then communities are not safe and only more boots on the ground will help us take back control of escalating crime.   

“A Labour government would properly invest in our police service, recruiting an extra police officer for every ward in the country.”

Labour calls for urgent action as crime soars in Sowerby Bridge

Labour MP Holly Lynch and local councillors have expressed their deep concern at ‘shocking’ new crime statistics for the Sowerby Bridge area.  The latest statistics for the ward, released by...

Halifax MP Holly Lynch has called on prominent Conservative Angela Leadsom to 'clarify' comments made about frontline policing numbers after she claimed that frontline numbers had increased since 2010.

In a letter to Ms Leadsom, the Leader of the House of Commons, Ms Lynch notes that the Government's own figures show that there was a reduction of 17,815 personnel from the frontline between 2010 and 2017.

In addition, figures compiled by the BBC also show how Government cuts have impacted on community support officers. Their numbers dropped from 14,393 to 10,205 between 2012 and 2017.

Ms Leadsom has recently told the House of Commons, however, that frontline policing has "in fact, slightly increased since 2010".

Ms Lynch's letter is available to read below. She is hoping that Ms Leadsom will consider a 'clarification of these remarks".

 

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Government 'risk misleading the public' about frontline police numbers: Holly Lynch MP

Halifax MP Holly Lynch has called on prominent Conservative Angela Leadsom to 'clarify' comments made about frontline policing numbers after she claimed that frontline numbers had increased since 2010. In...

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Halifax MP, and Labour’s Shadow Floods Minister, Holly Lynch has criticised the Government for failing to include measures for tackling flood risk within its long awaited 25 year Environment Plan.

Speaking from the front bench in Parliament, she criticised Environment Secretary Michael Gove for “failing to provide any proposals or funding relating to flood risk beyond just the next 3 years”.

Ms Lynch was speaking after Calderdale was recently put on high alert for flooding with heavy rain leading to warnings of travel disruption and high river levels.

The Government published its 25 year plan for the environment last month which sets out their long term priorities for responding to the biggest challenges facing our environment, however, Ms Lynch claims the plan was a “missed opportunity” due to a lack of detailed planning for flood protection.

Speaking after the debate in Parliament she said:

“Residents at risk of flooding want to know that flood protections will continue to be a top priority with resources committed to tackling this issue well into the future.

“The Government has drawn out tackling avoidable plastics over the full duration of the 25 year plan which could have been addressed much sooner, however conversely, they failed to think beyond the next 3 years in responding to the increasing frequency and severity of flood events.

“The whole point of a 25 year plan should be to offer certainty and a clear vision for how flood risk should be tackled. I wanted to see proposals for ambitious flood defence investment, new ideas for managing reservoirs and a show of determination to really work on slowing the flow of water to the valleys.

“Disappointingly there were no proposals or funding set out beyond 2021, it’s a missed opportunity when they could have shown real leadership and demonstrated that flood defence and resilience which is such a big issue for us here in Calderdale, was at the forefront of this Government’s priorities.”

The Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan is available to view at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/25-year-environment-plan

Holly raises concerns over Government failure to plan for long-term flood risk

Halifax MP, and Labour’s Shadow Floods Minister, Holly Lynch has criticised the Government for failing to include measures for tackling flood risk within its long awaited 25 year Environment Plan....

I write to object in the strongest possible terms to planning applications 17/00113/WAM and 17/00114/VAR. Like many of my constituents, I am extremely concerned about the environmental and health impact that an incinerator will have at this location.

The site is wholly unsuited for the burning of waste, being situated in a steep-sided valley, very close to an air quality management area in the centre of Sowerby Bridge, as well as local primary schools and many residents’ homes - situated as close as 100 metres away. The air quality through Sowerby Bridge town centre is already extremely poor as noted in the officers’ report, with levels of pollutants persistently exceeding lawful limits and having a detrimental impact on the health of my constituents.

Calderdale Council’s own website is very clear about the dangers of air pollution in our area:

“In 2013 in Calderdale 4.5% (Public Health England (PHE), Public Health Outcomes Framework (PHOF) Adult mortality indicators) of all adult mortality was estimated to be due to long-term exposure to harmful particulate air pollution. It is now widely accepted that this rate is even higher when the effects of nitrogen dioxide are taken into consideration.”

“The two main causes of lung disease are smoking and air pollution. Between 2012 and 2014, Calderdale was ranked 122 out of 149 local authorities with one of the highest rates of premature death due to respiratory disease.”

I would also like to bring to the attention of the planning committee a case that was upheld by the High Court just a month ago. Swale Borough Council refused a planning application for 330 homes and 60 sheltered accommodation units next to Air Quality Management areas. The proposals were refused on the grounds that the development could impact air quality. The decision was appealed and after the Planning Inspectorate backed the council the case was taken to the High Court. It upheld the decision of the council and determined that air quality is something that must be considered within the planning process.

Public Health England have been unable to rule out adverse health effects from modern municipal waste incinerators and any increase in the concentration of air pollutants in an air quality management area is unacceptable, no matter how small.

The applicant has used data from Leeds-Bradford airport to model the impact of emissions and made assumptions in the modelling that are not explained. The recent fire at the Belmont site demonstrated that particles and fumes do not easily disperse within the valley.

There is also the cumulative effects of the proposed SWIP at the applicant’s Mearclough Road site to consider, which is not addressed in the application or their modelling. It would be irresponsible to not consider the cumulative impact of having two incinerators at either end of Sowerby Bridge.

I conclude that it would be wholly inappropriate for the council to grant an application that would worsen the air quality of an area that is already suffering from unsafe levels of air pollution. I therefore call on the Planning Committee to exercise its powers and refuse the two applications on health and environmental grounds, relating to the anticipated impact on air quality.

Holly Lynch
Member of Parliament for Halifax

My statement to the planning committee about waste incinerators in Sowerby Bridge

I write to object in the strongest possible terms to planning applications 17/00113/WAM and 17/00114/VAR. Like many of my constituents, I am extremely concerned about the environmental and health impact...

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I have received a lot of correspondence about Green Belt land over recent weeks. I appreciate the particular importance of this issue to many residents in Calderdale who have expressed concern at the scale of development in the Council’s proposed ‘Local Plan’. Given the strength of feeling on this issue locally, I have been following the process extremely closely.
 
I will outline my understanding of the current situation which I hope will provide some clarity over how we have ended up where we are.
 
The Council were initially told by Conservative Central Government that they needed to produce a plan for allocating around 17,000 additional homes in Calderdale by 2032. Faced with such a large housing requirement it wasn’t possible for the Council to avoid planning for development on some Green Belt land.
 
Following lobbying by Calderdale Council Labour leader Tim Swift, and other councils across the country, the Government have decided to revise their formula for calculating housing need in an area. For Calderdale this means that the Council must now find space for under 10,000 homes which, although still a large level of development, will mean that much less Green Belt land will need to be included in revised plans. The Council leadership have asked council officers to draw up a new plan based on these numbers and I understand that they expect to publish these revised proposals in February. This will identify how the reduced housing numbers can be allocated across each area of Calderdale, before a final plan is produced for formal consultation in early summer.
 
In a further complication, last month the Government made a surprise statement and announced their intention to intervene in this process. There are concerns that under an ‘intervention’ the plan could be drawn up by civil servants based in the Department for Communities and Local Government rather than by Calderdale Council. I am asking the Government a number of questions on this matter to urge them to make clear their intentions towards the planning process in Calderdale.
 
The Government cited delays in the process as the main reason for its intention to intervene, however the delays locally have been as a result of lengthy and extensive consultations with local communities. It is my fear that Central Government intend to push ahead without conducting such consultations if they wish to conduct the planning stages at a faster pace.
 
On the wider policy in this area, the Conservatives have made a number of changes to our planning system to the detriment of the Green Belt. In 2012, the Coalition Government replaced all existing planning guidance - except on waste - with the publication of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and National Planning Practice Guidance. I believe these reforms weakened the National Brownfield Strategy, promoted in 2003, which actively prioritised building on brownfield sites.
 
The Government published its housing white paper in February, along with a consultation seeking views on amending the NPPF to allow local authorities to amend Green Belt boundaries in "exceptional circumstances". The consultation ran from 7 February to 2 May 2017 and the Government said it expects to announce its conclusions "in due course".
 
I am concerned that the Government's planning reforms have failed to do enough to promote brownfield development. The Government rejected a Labour amendment to the Housing and Planning Act during its consideration in Parliament which would have ensured automatic planning permission would be limited to housing on brownfield land.
 
I believe it is important that the Government fully considers the responses to its consultation and bears in mind the concerns raised by groups such as the Campaign to Protect Rural England.
 

Holly's Blog: My views on the Calderdale Local Plan and Green Belt land

I have received a lot of correspondence about Green Belt land over recent weeks. I appreciate the particular importance of this issue to many residents in Calderdale who have expressed...

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