One Constituency, two governments



Confidence in our political system is low. Many people believe politicians just aren’t interested in the real issues which affect them.  They don’t trust politicians to be straight with them.  Beliefs like “They’re all the same” and “Nothing changes, anyway, lead to apathy –Why bother voting?”

There are huge issues at stake in this election.  Voting does matter.  In its last period in power, Labour made things better.  Those improvements and our economic recovery have been undermined by irresponsible Tory spending cuts.  But we would say that, wouldn’t we?  We understand why you might feel that way.  Politicians need to earn your respect.  The best way to earn it is to give it.

That’s why this has been put together.  It’s evidence for you to use when deciding how to vote.  It looks at just those “real issues” which affect our everyday lives – mainly our hospitals, schools and the other services we depend on.  You can use it to remind yourself what things were like before 1997 - or find out, if you aren’t old enough to remember.

This survey covers just one Constituency.  But we’re sure you will find the same story in EVERY Constituency.  It’s a local example of a national picture. 

It’s not party-political evidence.  We’d expect you to take party-political stuff with a healthy pinch of salt.  The first part is from the newspapers which serve the Colne Valley Constituency.  These are word-for-word headlines and extracts from articles in those papers.  Names of individuals acting privately have been left out.   Only people acting in an official capacity have been named. 

The second part gives picture of the situation under the Labour government.  It uses some news articles, and other non-party-political evidence, to show what changed under Labour.  It is an historical survey, but which continues to stand up to scrutiny.

Voting does matter.  Labour has made a big difference to our lives.

Don’t take our word for it.  See for yourself.

Colne Valley Constituency Labour Party



Part One.  How the local newspapers reported life under the Tories in the Colne Valley Constituency.





27TH Page 1. Chronicle and Express.  

Flashpoint for cash-cut schools.   Struggling valley high schools will be in deep water if their budgets are slashed again, headteachers have warned.

Express……With more than 1,000 pupils, Holmfirth High School would face a “crisis year” if the cuts went ahead, Mr Macpherson (head) told the Express.  Compulsory redundancies would be “a certainty” at the hard-pressed school – already three full-time and one part-time teacher down since last Summer….spending on maintenance and books – already a cause for concern – would have to be pruned back further. We will no longer be approaching parents to help pay for desirable extras – we will be approaching them for the basics.” Barry Conchie said the 1,205-head Honley High School ……..had already lost staff…and made swingeing cuts to books and equipment.  

Chronicle……struggling Colne Valley High School will be in deep water…..according to headteacher Allan Newton.

Page 9. The main cause of the cuts has been the reductions in central government grants to Kirklees as part of a plan to reduce public expenditure……added up to approximately 15% of the council’s budget over the last four years.  Kirklees has tried to protect schools, but school budgets have nonetheless been cut by a total of 10% since 1990.  We are told that cuts are set to continue in future years.   


13th Page 2.   ( University) Students leave with debts of £12,000

18th Page 5.  Call from GPs. Funds row over future of NHS.

22nd Page 8.  NHS Trust must meet £3m targets  ( for cuts over 5 years)



 9th Page 7. Force prepares to lose millions. Police braced for massive budget cut…….”…will again be hit by spending cuts in 1996.”

 10th Page 4. (School) Governors call crisis meeting on school funds…”each year the grants are going down.”

Page 7.   Building industry hits crisis levels……axe could fall on 20th jobs in next 6 months.

13th Page 5. Probation service warns about cash crisis.

16th Page 1. Cash shortfall could hit vital local services.

Page 5.   Former chief launches attack.  Classes too large for curriculum..”More than 1m primary children are in classes of more than 30 - and  some returned to school last month to find the latest educational spending squeeze had pushed their classes to more than 40.”

18th Page 5.   Diet, warmth and water competing for cash (National Consumer Council) Volunteers plea against government social security cuts.

19th Page 1.  Mortgage worries mounting.  More than 160 people are seeking help with their mortgage every month in Huddersfield.  The Citizens’Advice Bureau also fears that repossessions will rise more steeply due to cuts in state aid for homeowners introduced this month.

21st  Page 5.  Most primary classes have over 30 pupils. ( 58% in Kirklees ).

23rd  Page 2.    Public meeting slams education cash cuts.  Governors from schools across Kirklees packed a public meeting.

24th  Page 2. Widespread waste and inefficiency, says watchdog. Police chaos hits fight against crime….”..only 5% of police strength is on patrol at any one time.”

26th  Page 8.  Crime sparks big demand for shutters.


16th Page 10.  Hard-up school gets fully booked……Head said….finding cash for equipment was a constant battle.  A cash-strapped school has been given a boost thanks to an Examiner campaign.  Outlane Junior School has been presented with new books.  Bhullar Brothers Supermarket….has come up with the cash for the desperately-needed books.

21st  Page 3.  Warning of crumbling Kirklees highways.  Cash for road repairs cut by 75%.

23rd  Page I.  Hospital Scrooges. Staff hit out at bosses after being told of jobs axe on eve of Christmas.




4th  Page 1.   Beds crisis at hospital. ( Huddersfield Royal Infirmary cannot cope with flu outbreak.)

5th  Page 9.   Crisis meeting over school cash cut fears.

 6th  Page 11.  19 % fewer NHS beds in our region.

8th Page 3. Local schools amongst worse off in country.

9th  Page 5.   HRI has too few beds to cope. GPs blame health service cuts for crisis at hospital…..”vast reductions in bed numbers.”

11th  Page 8.  Schools face hard choices to balance books.  Warning for Governors on £6m cash cuts.

12th  Page 1, Holme Valley Express.  Schools in new cash cuts fear.  Holmfirth High School head Ian Macpherson said he was speaking for most secondary school heads who were at “rock bottom” already.  “I don’t think we could contemplate running as we would want to run.”  Honley High School head Barry Conchie said: “I’m very concerned indeed about the potential cuts that are in the pipeline because it follows five years of successive cuts.

13th  Page 2.  Record numbers seek help from ( debt advice ) agencies. Millions suffer hardship.

Page 5.   No Intensive Care Bed available for attack victim. 6 hour wait for seriously ill man……”no Intensive Care Bed available at HRI.”

Page 13.  Campaigner slams massive payouts. (NHS) redundancy payments reaching £110m a year.

16th  Page 1.  Strike looms at Tech as jobs go.

20th Page 11.  Blow from slashing of funding bid. Special Needs Schools again denied cash….will receive £1.4m of £8.3m bid…was not allocated any money from last year’s bid

22nd  Page 1.  Cash strapped schools now rely on fund-raising. Half of Heads had had to cut staff.

25th  Page 1.  11 -year-olds failing Maths and English, shock report discloses. School Tests spark anger….more than half the 11-year-olds who sat this year’s Nat Curriculum tests failed to reach the expected standard.

29th  Page 7.  Bosses fume at qualifications and attitudes. “Many leaving school are unemployable.”

30th  Page 1. Half of dentists to refuse new NHS patients…..only 49 out of the district’s 95.


1st  Page 1.  “Dangerously low” staffing levels in hospitals- nurses’ survey. Patient care is under threat and hospital staffing levels “dangerously low” an RCN survey says.

3rd Page 3.  ( Fire) Brigade SOS over essential services. Forced to raid reserves……..warns its desperate financial plight will worsen unless the government rethinks its spending regime.

Page 11. “ Staffing tightrope at Royal Infirmary,” claim……”because of the government’s health reforms.”

7th Page 5.     Families plunged into debt. 100’s seeking advice on finances. “..around 400 inquiries are made at the Town Centre CAB every month.”

8th Page 8.  Anti-drugs project killed off.  Plea for cash rejected.  A pioneering anti-drugs programme in Kirklees primary schools is to be killed off through a lack of cash.  The government came under fire today for ending its grant to what parents and teachers say is a highly successful scheme.

21st Page 5.  Students protest over rising debt.  Students angry about proposed cuts in education funding and rising debt held a protest rally.

23rd Page 5.   Shock as record number of Tecs lose money.  MP says cuts pose threats to training.  Government cuts are putting the survival of some Training and Enterprise Councils at risk.

28th Page 1.  Kirklees sets budget but warns of trouble because of government cuts.  Axe threat to council jobs. “…..government grant cuts announced last year…..further substantial spending cuts amounting to 10% were in prospect over the next 3 years.” 

MARCH 1996

1st Page 1.  University reeling over £1m cash cuts…..makes Huddersfield one of the most severely hit Universities in the country.

Page 2.  Supporters tell of returning in cars or taxis from Leeds operations. Probe into claims by heart patients.  Health chiefs in Huddersfield have promised to investigate claims heart patients are being left to make their own way home after surgery.  Representatives of Huddersfield Coronary Support Group claimed…patients referred to Leeds for operations were being left to make their own way home by taxis or private cars.

2nd Page 2.   Elderly living in poor conditions may suffer.  Housing grants cash crisis fears.  Elderly householders in Kirklees could be hit by government plans to end mandatory grants for people living in the worst housing conditions.

7th Page 9.  “Risk of more accidents in the home.”  Waiting lists hit elderly, says Age Concern. Long waiting lists for occupational therapy put elderly people at risk.

11th Page 1.   Call for action to tackle spate of violent attacks.  Bus drivers’ safety fears.  Violent attacks and verbal abuse of bus drivers is rife. .

14th Page 7.  National Ombudsman brings out special survey.  New report shows Child Support Agency’s failings……..”…new faults have emerged on top of failings identified a year ago.”

16th Page 9.  Government attacked about falling numbers of officers.  “Promises over police not met.”  Promises to put more bobbies on the beat are not being met.  Between 1991 and September 1995, West Yorkshire had 49 fewer police.  Chief constable Keith Hellawell has now confirmed the figures are correct.

Page 5. Patient’s operation cancelled 3 times.  “It’s not the Hospital’s fault.  It’s just that there are not enough intensive care beds.” (Says patient).

21st Page 8.  Watchdog report highlights delays and disruption on line.  (Local ) Railways need urgent cash boost… a matter of urgency. 

23rd Page 2.  Transport Minister “unaware of devastating statistics.”  Accidents on roads hit a record level….worst-ever level in West Yorkshire …11,923 injured last year…a rise of 7%.

Page 5. Millions more needed for repairs in Kirklees, says official.   “Council schools getting worse.”  The state of school buildings in Kirklees is getting worse each year, says an Education Chief…..the decline is because the government does not provide enough money for repairs.  Many of the Council’s 201 schools need re-wiring, re-roofing, windows replaced and boilers.   Last year Kirklees asked the government for £8.5m but got £1.5m.  “We have 150 temporary classrooms, but it costs £100th to build a replacement.”

APRIL 1996

5th Page 9.  “ Beds crisis during 10-hour wait.”  A beds crisis at HRI caused a patient to wait for 10 hours in the new Casualty Department. Up to 19 patients at a time have also been kept lying on trolleys in the Department.  And Casualty doctor Michael Clayton says the situation blights the functioning of the £1.6m Unit, which he designed.

16th Page 2. More teenagers opt out of education.  Percentage falling says latest survey.  The percentage of teenagers opting out of Further Education has increased for the first time in 7 years.

17th  Page 3.   “One third of children living in poverty.”   ….a massive rise on that of 1979, when just one in ten youngsters lived in poor surroundings.

18th Page 2.  High crime rate hits West Yorks.  West Yorkshire has one of the highest crime rates, says an in-depth report out today…..4th highest crime rate in the country….detection rates……all below the national averages.

19th Page 1.  Figures show big rise in cancelled operations.  88 more operations were cancelled in Kirklees and Calderdale during the run-up to Christmas than last year.

22nd Page 5.  Fears of more unclaimed benefits as advice service cut. “Budget cuts to hit the poor.”  Benefits advice services in Huddersfield to be slashed as a result of huge funding cuts.

MAY  1996

18th  Page 2.  Major problems at Royal Infirmary, says jobs guide.  Junior doctors slam hospital management. ….cases of “major problems” in finding beds for acute admissions

27th Page 4.  Worry as money for lessons goes directly to schools.  Parents fear music threat.  Kirklees Music Service is under threat once again, fear members of Holme Valley Music Centre’s parents support group. In the past year the service had seen its……peripatetic music teachers cut by 4 to 19 because of funding cuts.

JUNE 1996

4th Page 2.   Better pay 90 years ago, says independent report.  The workers who earn 15p an hour.  The wages council which set minimum working rates was scrapped by the government 3 years ago.

18th Page 4.  Bigger classes bound to follow after Governors forced to accept budget cuts.  Teachers’ jobs to go as junior school loses fight.  2 teachers are to go at Crosland Moor Junior School ……….forced to accept a £17,000 cut.

19th  Page 1.  Council and police search for sponsors as government withdraws cash.  Plug pulled on drug projects.  The government has turned its back on 2 pioneering drug education schemes in Huddersfield .     

25th Page 1.  Superhighway cost scares off schools.  An ambitious plan to link all schools to the information superhighway…has fallen short of its aim.  The main reason for the slow take-up has been cost…..the £12 a month subscription fee for the internet…together with telephone bills were an additional burden on schools’ budgets.

. Page 5.  1 in 7 gets poverty wages.  1 in 7 workers in Yorkshire is paid poverty wages….worst in the country.

27th Page 1.  Novel way to ease loss of teachers at Golcar.  Raffle bid as school hits crisis.  Parents are set to dip into their own pockets to cushion the teaching crisis at Golcar Junior, Infant and Nursery School.  The Parents’ Association decided to launch the (money-raising club) after discovering the school is to lose 2 teachers at the end of term.  As a result some classes will rise to 40 pupils and will include children of mixed ages.

JULY 1996

1st  Page 1. Group fights back against cuts.  Parents Against Cuts has been launched by parents of Crosland Moor Junior School and Golcar J, I and N School.

3rd Page 1.  More Kirklees teachers face the axe.  Cash call to salvage school jobs. 

Page 6.  Colne Valley junction at centre of dispute.  New blow to road safety campaigners.  A busy Slaithwaite road where an elderly woman was killed can’t get government cash because there haven’t been enough accidents.

8th Page 3. Representatives will tell Kirklees Councillors of their worries.  Schools in desperate plea for extra cash.  Parents are worried…as class sizes approach 40.

9th Page 5. School Governors forced to face cash minefield.  School governors have faced some agonising decisions….but in some cases the sums just don’t add up.

25th Page 9.  Beds crisis puts children at risk.  Children’s lives are still at risk as Yorkshire ’s hospitals beds crisis continues.  Ministers promised urgent action after a young boy died following a desperate, county-wide search for an Intensive Care Bed in December. “No new money has been promised to deliver this (promised) improved provision.”

 AUGUST 1996

7th Page 2.  “ More people will have to sleep on trolleys unless hospitals act now.”  Survey predicts Winter beds crisis.  The Royal College of Nursing claims many patients are spending uncomfortable nights on trolleys as they wait for a hospital bed.

22nd Page 1.  Number of nurses on Royal Infirmary wards cut as spending soars past budget.  Fears for patients over cash crisis…..after a cut in the number of nurses on 5 hospital wards.  The move – leaked to The Examiner in an internal memo – is blamed on financial problems.  1 nurse, who did not wish to be named, said, “The management have cut staffing levels to dangerous limits. “  She said of the 5 morning nurses now working, only 2 will be fully qualified and at least 1 of these will be involved with administration work rather than patient care.


7th Page 11.  Fight to cut class sizes goes on.  Parents’ campaign returns to action.  Spokesman Mr Mark Armitage said, “ Half the children in Kirklees – that’s over 1,000 classes – are in classes of over 30 pupils.  But in this instance we think that it isn’t the Council’s fault.  The government is not covering the teachers’ pay increase, so schools are 3-4% down on the cash they need.  Kirklees is putting more money into education than the government is allocating.”

18th Page 7.  Potential for “huge under-funding.”  Millions facing pensions shock.

21st  Page 11.  “ Pressure on to rush patients’ treatment.”  Consultants hit out at management calls for savings and “bogus figures.”  The Hospital Consultants’ Association says doctors are being urged to ignore guidelines from Royal Colleges. “Management seeks to raise revenue and produce impressive but bogus figures,” says the Association.

24th Page 1.  Shock increase in crime rate.  Chief Constable “disappointed.”  West Yorkshire has seen a rise in crime 4 times the national average, says Home Office report.


8th Page 5.  Research shows firms’ money earmarked for expansion is being swallowed up by uninsured losses.  “Crime crippling some small local companies.”

17th Page 1.   Cash boost needed to stop NHS “crisis.”  A national call for a £200m boost…was made today by the British Medical Association.

19th page 4.  Head’s pleas for more cash.  Mrs Christine Spencer was speaking at Salendine Nook High School’s annual prize-giving. “5 teachers who left in the Summer were not replaced.”

24th Page 1.  Highways chiefs spell out fears as maintenance budget faces new cuts.  Crisis warning over road cash.  In 3 years the money for the upkeep of the district’s major roads has been slashed by more than half.


23rd Page 3. Colne Valley MP receives petition from parents’ pressure group.  School cuts in the spotlight.  Parents Against Cuts In Education member Mr Bryan Williams said, “Since 1989 there have been cuts every year in the grants to Kirklees council from the government.”

25th Page 2. Pupils back more cash for teachers, nurses, pensioners and NHS.  Budget for Britain’s future. They are in a class of 37 at a school which has fewer teachers than it used to.  We visited West Slaithwaite C of E Junior and Infant School to ask children what they would do if they were Chancellor.  “I would put money into education for more teachers,” said 10-year-old  (pupil). “At our school teachers are going.  We have 37 in our class and another class has doubled.”

29th Page 3. Pupils banned as attacks of staff increase. The number of pupils attacking teachers in Kirklees has doubled over the past year.


18th Page 1.  Government housing cash cut slammed.  Disabled people will have to bear the brunt of cuts to Kirklees Council’s housing budget….government has just unveiled the share-out of the Housing Investment Programme…£7m…..a 35% net reduction -  while the part of the sum for disabled facilities has been halved.

19th  Page 3.  Highways frustration as repairs pile up and there is not enough cash to go round.  Time-bomb waiting to explode on the roads.  Figures from the Institution of Civil Engineers shows councils received £2.2bn less than they requested for road repairs.

20th Page 1.  Huddersfield loses out as government rejects £4m plea.  Cash blow for roads revamp bid.  A major scheme to tackle growing traffic congestion in Huddersfield town centre has failed to win government cash.

23rd Page 1.  4,000 face Christmas on the dole.  Nearly 4,000 people in Kirklees are spending Christmas on the dole for at least the second time.

Page 2.  Changes already in force in cash-strapped region.  Buses disappear as cuts are made.  Funding, which largely comes from local councils, was expected to be limited next year, and the authority’s (West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Authority) ability to borrow had been cut by the government by 6%.

27th Page 4.  Books and equipment shortages affect Kirklees.  Education hit by school cuts.  A spokesman for Kirklees said government grants had been cut by 9.5% over the past 5 years. Chris Woodhead ( Government’s Chief Inspector ) confirmed that 2 years ago, in a sample survey, his Inspectors found book shortages “..adversely affected lessons..” in 13% of Primary Schools and 23% of Secondary Schools.  Margaret Morrissey, spokeswoman for the Parent-Teacher Confederation, was surprised only this number of schools were affected.  “Our Associations know this problem is far worse.  They could tell Mr Woodhead about pupils whose families live miles apart being expected to share books for homework, and about others who have never seen a book – just endless photocopied pages.”

30th  Page 7.  New row over limits on extra cash for heating bills.  Protests after pensioners miss out again.  The government is coming under pressure to change rules on cold weather payments of £8.50 a week. 





4th Page 11.  TUC says victims still await compensation. New report on pension plan cases.  TUC chief says victims of mis-sold pensions are still waiting for compensation.

8th Page 5.  “Red alert” as hospitals struggle to accommodate patients.Dire shortage of Intensive Care Beds…the entire country has been on “Red Alert”……a Leeds woman had to be transported 60 miles to Hull after suffering a heart attack.  Huddersfield Community Health Council, the local NHS watchdog, has expressed concern at the level of staffing in the Intensive Care Unit of the town’s royal infirmary.

15th Page 1.  Hospital reprieved. ( Holme Valley Memorial Hospital ’s) Linden Day Unit escapes axe. The closure, announced only last week, will now be put on hold.

16th.  Page 6. Huddersfield hospital waiting lists kept down as regional figures rise.   Patients all wait less than a year…..for operations at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary. Nationally there were 1.061m people waiting more than a year for treatment in September 1996.

28th Page7.  Call for free eye tests as report reveals danger. Warning over blindness risk…a report from the Royal National Institute for the Blind said today…revealed confusion over exemptions to eye test charges.

29th Page 1. Heads fight plans threatening to hit hundreds of Huddersfield students.  Colleges warn of cash cuts crisis.  Hundreds of Huddersfield students were warned today they will miss out on College places if cash cuts go ahead.  The Heads of Greenhead College , Huddersfield Tech College and Huddersfield New College have joined forces to protest.  Their student numbers rose by 20% last year……now they have been handed the prospect of not getting funds for the extra numbers.


1st Page 10.  Patients accept offer to travel 90 miles for heart operations…….in Leicester because of demand on local services….at Leeds General Infirmary….”…could not guarantee patients would not wait longer than 12 months.”

3rd Page 7.  Survey catalogues mealtime failures. “Hospital patients going hungry.”……survey from the Association of Community Health Councils in England and Wales said.

6th Page 1.  Huge new blow for buses.  Free travel on West Yorkshire buses is set to end for pensioners, disabled people and the blind.

11th Page 3.  Union responds to rise in physical and verbal assaults on staff.  Classroom crisis leads to helpline.  A new 24-hour telephone crisis line…...has been launched. 

22nd Page 1.  Mounties called in.  Police on horseback to tackle problem of Golcar street gangs.

Page 4. Schools fight gathers Pace.  A Huddersfield parents’ action group will join forces with a national group ……to broadcast the truth about funding in education…..”The non-party political message will be….local education authorities don’t get enough money.”

27th Page 1.  Anxious wait from station staff as leaked document threatens jobs axe. “Cheap and nasty” rail service fear.  Documents leaked…show staffing will be cut from 3,000 to 2,000 over 7 years.

MARCH  1997

3rd Page 1.  Train carrying 10 passengers ended up on wrong line, halting local services.  Railway drama sparks inquiry…..after a train ended up on the wrong line near Stocksmoor.

4th Page 1. Report slams low pay.  1 in 4 employees in Yorkshire gets poverty pay of under £4 a hour.

Page 3.  Cost-cutting Council considers 4 options.  Swimming teachers’ pay crisis….up to 5,000 school children could be without proper instruction.

6th Page 7.  BSE crisis.  Deadly disease warning shock report “was shelved.”  A report revealing major shortcomings in hygiene in abattoirs “was never published.”  The report’s editor has expressed concern that the survey, presented to the government in March last year, was “suppressed.”

7th Page 7.  Cabinet row.  Minister moves to end public fall-out.  Rift over food scare denied.  Michael Forsyth today denied reports of a Cabinet rift over the latest food scare to rock the government….reported to be “incandescent” with Agriculture Minister Douglas Hogg, because his officials had not been shown a report warning that conditions in abattoirs could be linked to the spread of E.Coli.

12th Page 7.  Abbattoir row.  “10% of food was wrongly labelled, “ says officer. Hogg faces new claims over BSE.  Trading Standards Officers in Northumberland warned Agriculture Minister Douglas Hogg that they did not have enough resources to police anti-BSE controls…..said 10% of food they sampled was wrongly labelled as having met anti-BSE requirements.

14th Page 1.  Royal Infirmary hit by security camera crisis…...have been out of action for months. 

Page 8. School figures.  Pressure group’s shock revelation.  Large classes “have doubled in number”…in January 1994 there were 127 classes with more than 33 pupils in Kirklees.  But this January the figure was 290.

15th  Page 5.  Work plan.  Employment rights group hits out.  Row over bid to cut breaks…………….government proposal suggests workers should be legally entitled to no more than a 5-minute break after 6 hours continuous work.




MARCH 17th. Tory Prime Minister John Major calls a General Election. This survey finishes, as news coverage turns to the party political stories that dominate the election.





Part Two.  So what happened under Labour?


What about local hospitals?

The articles in Part One show what a mess our hospitals were in under the Tories.  Patients on trolleys……..fewer nurses.. …fewer hospital beds……..the articles speak for themselves.    Look at January 16th, 1997.  The HRI thought it was doing well when its patients were waiting for less than a year for treatment.  The average national waiting time was 18 months

Now, we have to wait 18 weeks at most.  If we see our GP and he or she thinks we might have cancer, we are referred to a Specialist on the same day - see that Specialist within two weeks - and get results of tests within two weeks.

There’s been a massive amount of money spent up at the Royal Infirmary.  Recent improvements include £2m on modernising Ward 7 and £2.1m on Ward 10 for bowel surgery patients.  Click here to See For Yourself  

Each of us now has £1,400 spent on health services.  If we’re lucky, we won’t need them!  Back in 1997, it was just  £568.70

The problem is that we don’t find headlines about this in our ‘papers.  If anything goes wrong (or can be made to look as if it’s gone wrong ) then we never hear the end of it.  That’s one reason for people turning off politics.

Under the Tories, Holme Valley Memorial Hospital’s future wasn’t clear.   Just last year, £2m was spent modernising The Hawthorn Ward.  Then on January 16th this year, the Examiner reported Hospital Expansion moves closer. ……£12m expansion…offer new services including X-rays, blood tests……day surgery.

So the hospital’s gone from the threat of losing facilities under the Tories to a guaranteed future at the heart of the Holme Valley.  That, surely, is what the local folk who raised the money to build it as a permanent memorial to the dead of The Great War would have wanted.



What about local schools?

There are a few newspaper articles, looking at some of Labour’s first moves to pull schools out of the mess the Tories left them in.

October 3rd, 1997. 

Holme Valley Express , page 1.  Honley scoops £100,000 windfall.  Bonanza for High Schools.  Local schools were celebrating this week after winning a massive cash boost to take science and technology facilities into the 21st century.  Honley High School will receive £100,000 to carry out long-awaited improvements on site.  A further £72,000 will be spent on computer link-ups with Holmfirth, Colne Valley and Shelley High Schools.  Honley headteacher Barry Conchie was delighted with the news after the cutbacks of the past decade.  “It will give us a tremendous boost and helps to redress the many years of neglect……for the first time in many years the students will see improvements being carried out which will give a huge boost to their learning in science and technology.” 

Colne Valley Chronicle, page 6.  Colne Valley High School will receive £100,000…a further £72,000 on computer link-ups.  Colne Valley head Mrs Linda Wright said (she) was “thrilled” with the news, which came after years of cut backs. “Having been starved of cash for so long, we can now keep up with the latest technology with up-to-date equipment.” 

May 8th, 1998.

Holme Valley Express, page 4.  New Deal grants boost for three valley schools.  Improvements to three school buildings in the Holme Valley are set to take place as part of £782,422 programme…..Holmfirth High School (safety cut-off valves to mains services)…Netherthong Junior and Infants (ventilation to overcome condensation)…Honley CE Infant and Nursery (new pipes)……scheme also includes Moor End High School (fire alarm system)…Salendine Nook High (new water storage tanks ) and Crosland Moor Junior (new boilers).  Colne Valley MP Kali Mountford…said she was delighted that six schools in her constituency would benefit.   

June 26th, 1998.

Holme Valley Express, page 2. Massive cash boost for district schools.  Dilapidated school buildings in the area are to be renovated and facilities improved with the help of a £800,000 cash injection.  Around £10,000 is to be spent on improving communication technology facilities at…….Moor End High.  Other spending includes….Colne Valley High - £10,000 on equipment for a technology room….Hade Edge J+I - £25,000 to improve use of space and security…..Holme J+I  - £25,000 to build a mezzanine floor to increase teaching space.



April 30th, 1999.  

Colne Valley Chronicle, page 1.   Schools share.  Two valley schools are to receive a share of a £40m loan to improve premises and facilities.  Colne Valley High School and Crosland Moor Junior School …will benefit.  Colne Valley High School Deputy Head Jack Bretherick said, “We consider it to be an extremely positive move for the school and pupils.  We will be able to improve our Sixth Form facilities, the science and technology areas and arts facilities.  We can also develop the sports side of things, as at present we have no Sports Hall.”  Mrs Ivy Pearson, chairman of governors at Crosland Moor Junior School, also welcomed the huge cash injection.  “We are very pleased to be involved…hoping to see an increase in classroom sizes….increased provision for disabled children.”

That was just the early days.  After sticking to Tory spending plans in its first years, the government pumped money into schools (new buildings, more and better-paid teachers, more computer and other equipment, Teaching Assistants, books).  Spending on each child in school has gone up from £2,970 in 1997 to £5,000+ in 2010.

What’s Happened In Our Primary Schools?

The articles in Part One tell a sad story.  Schools losing teachers.  Schools trying to raise the money to save teachers’.  Class sizes shooting up.  Schools having to rely on the begging bowl to get enough books.  Let’s be honest, it’s shocking when a 10-year-old child can be interviewed in the local ‘paper, saying teachers in his school were going and classes doubling in size.  What sort of a country  were we living in back in November, 1996?

Click here for a list of local  Schools.  Look at some of the websites.  Where you see computers, remember that under the Tories schools couldn’t afford to join the Internet.  Where you see kids actively learning, think about what Michael Gove, Tory Shadow Education Minister, has told us, “……..most parents would rather their children had a traditional education, with children sitting in rows and learning the Kings and Queens of England.”  Does that sound like the best way to prepare kids for the modern world?  Or more like a Prep School in the 1960’s or 1950’s?

Before looking at some basic statistics, let’s follow up on some of the schools mentioned in Part One.

Golcar Junior, Infant and Nursery School parents set up a monthly raffle to raise the money to try to not lose teachers ( November 1996)..  See for yourself what the school’s like now.


Let’s home in on the letter from the Chair of the Friends of the School…….the one where she says her group “.. …..raise money to buy the little extras.” 






The Friends of Golcar J I & N School is a group of parents who organise social and fundraising events.


Everyone who has a child in school or nursery is automatically a member, and friends and relatives are also very welcome.


Meetings are held in school regularly throughout the year and you can find details of these in the school newsletter, and posters are displayed at the front entrance.


Taking part in the Friends of Golcar J I & N is a good way to make new friends, strengthen relationships between home and school, and raise money to buy the little extras to help all our children.


So please take the time to come to our next meeting.


We look forward to meeting you.


Frances Sykes

Could there be a better bit of evidence about how much has changed under Labour?

Crosland Moor Junior School parents joined up with Golcar’s to fight against cuts in their kids’ schools.  It looks a well-resourced and bright place now.  See for yourself.

Outlane Junior  had to rely on the Examiner’s appeal for businesses to chip in a few books.  Just down the road from there is the almost-brand-new Lindley Junior School.  ( If you’re bored with all this, treat yourself!  Go on You Tube.  Search Lindley Junior School Rhythm Of Life. You will not be disappointed ). 

So, from one school scrabbling around for the books under the Tories, to a school kids can be proud of under Labour just down the road.  The evidence speaks for itself.

For all our Primaries, the figures show what’s got better. 

Number of kids per teacher, 1997=26, 2008=22.

Number of full-time teachers, 1997=350, 2008=410. 

Teaching Assistants  ( Secondary as well ) 1997=90, 2008=310. 

Year 6 Scores Level 4 and above,

English 1997=64%, 2008=86%

Maths 65%, 84%

Science 73%, 78%

What About Our Secondary Schools?

In 1997, 46.6% got 5 A*-C grades at GCSE. 

By 2008, that had gone up to 64.8%.

How did the schools in Part One get on under Labour?

Holmfirth High School’s Head  pulled no punches in saying what a mess  the school was in after years of Tory spending cuts.  “Rock bottom,” he said.  In February, its website  ( before going offline for improvement ) talked of   “……a whole-school computer network, 4 new ICT Suites, 2 updated technology workshops, 3 new Science Labs, a relocated Music Lab, a new Maths Block, improved Dining Provisions and new link corridors.”

Honley High’s Head spoke about the “…many years of neglect “ under the Tories.  The School certainly doesn’t appear to be neglected now.

Salendine Nook’s Head told us in October 1996 that the School had lost 5 teachers.  Its website now talks about “….acres of playing fields, an indoor heated swimming pool, an athletics track, tennis courts…specialist rooms for all aspects of technology, art, music and drama….” See for yourself

Colne Valley High School’s Deputy Head said in April 1999, as Labour’s new spending began to come in, that the school could now have a Sports Hall.  That’s right – in 1999, one of our local Secondary Schools didn’t have one.  See for yourself what’s there now – “……will soon be able to offer a state of the art music technology suite and a first-class dance studio as well as our theatre.”

Moor End Technology College ( then Moor End High ) got £10,000 in June 1998 to improve ICT facilities.  That was just the start.  Now, it’s the only School in Kirklees to be called “Outstanding” by Inspectors.  That goes to show what the Head, Staff and kids in our schools can do when they get the tools to do the job.  Labour has provided those tools.

And how about those Post-16 Colleges facing a “cash cuts crisis” ( January 29th, 1997)?

They just don’t have problems like that any more.  But don’t take my word for it.  See for yourself.

Greenhead College has enough staff to give our students there proper support to guide them through their studies.

New College has had £8m of improvements under Labour

Huddersfield Technical College is now part of Kirklees College.  The government is going to spend tens of millions on a new campus in Huddersfield.


And what about our roads?

We all know what a bad Winter we’ve had.  Our roads need a lot of attention.  Local Tories have tried to blame the Labour Council and Government, of course.  They’ve grabbed as many cheap headlines as they can.  But what about their record on keeping our roads in decent order?  See for yourself.

December 21st 1995………road repair money slashed by 75%..............October 24th, 1996……….money for main roads down by more than half in 2 years………December 19th………..Civil Engineers told us Councils needed £2.2billion more than the Tories let them spend………December 20th………Tories deny Huddersfield £4m to make congestion easier ( the Tories treated “their” Councils better, of course, so they could keep Council Tax down ).

And now?  At  least the money’s there to spend on repairs!  The Labour Council is spending an extra £3.5m on road repairs.  And our local Tories?  They wanted to cut that, to £1m.

Anybody who says they want to sort out roads needs to put their money where their mouth is………..


How are our Police doing compared with under the Tories?

“Law and Order” is of huge concern. Of course it is.  But  we need to remember what Crimewatch’s Nick Ross used to tell us – it’s the fear of crime which ruins lives, more than actual crime itself.   In 2007, he said too many ‘papers “…..went hunting in packs…” for bad news on crime.

The Tories claim to be the party of law and order.  Does their record back this up?  See for yourself.  October 9th, 1995………Police braced for massive budget cut……….October 24th……….only 5% of police strength on patrol………October 26th……..Crime sparks big demand for shutters………..March 16th 1996………local police numbers down…………April 18th……….West Yorkshire has 4th worst crime rate in country……….September 24th…………Shock increase in crime rate.

There are now at least 550 more police officers in West Yorkshire since 1997.  The total’s about 5,800.

We now have Neighbourhood Policing Teams, to bring policing closer to our communities.  Find yours here.

Check out crime in your area here.









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