Brian McDaid, Labour’s former parliamentary candidate for Skipton and Ripon, has been chosen by the party to contest both the Ribblesdale county council and the Penyghent district council seats in by elections to be held on May 6.
These will be the only council elections to be held in Craven this spring, following the government’s decision to postpone both the scheduled county council and district council elections because of the current consultation on the re-organisation of local government in North Yorkshire: elections are only taking place here because of the death earlier this year of sitting councillor Richard Welch.
Brian McDaid has lived and worked in Craven for most of his adult life. He is Assistant General Secretary of Aegis the Union, where he represents workers employed by Skipton Building Society, Computershare and other financial organisations across the UK. He is also a school governor and his two children attend local schools. His wife works for the NHS as a Paramedic.
Brian said: “The next year will be a crucial one for this area and the whole of North Yorkshire. The way in which local services are delivered will change with very little consideration given to the views of residents. It is vital that people of this area have a strong and independent voice both on North Yorkshire County Council and Craven District Council.
“The past ten years have seen drastic cuts in the resources provided by central government. We were promised a total reform of social care but council tax payers here are still having to bear the increasingly heavy burden of funding a system that, as the coronavirus pandemic has shown, is not fit for purpose.
“I will work with Labour colleagues on both councils to see that local people’s voices are heard and the councils are not just there to implement the will of central government.
“This is a special place that must not be ignored. I will encourage sustainable tourism and work to ensure visitors are respectful of our unique environment and communities. I will work closely with communities to protect our county from flooding, fracking and wildlife crime. I will work closely with our local police service and other vital community organisations to ensure our communities are safer and inclusive for everyone, and I will press for improved public transport to counter rural isolation and improve links across the region. The past year has shown the importance of education, and I will do all I can to ensure greater support for young people and their mental health.”
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The Labour group on North Yorkshire County Council has reluctantly supported the proposed 3.49 per cent increase in the county’s share of council tax for 2021-2022. This will add just over £45 a year to the amount paid by the average band D property.
The group supported the raise proposed by the controlling Tory group in light of the pressures on adult social care and young peoples services throughout the pandemic.
Group Leader Eric Broadbent said: ““The last thing we want to see is any reduction in critical services that the council provides. We have voted for the increase so that we can continue to support those that need it most.
“It remains our belief that services should be adequately funded from central government and not through the structurally unfair council tax system . Council tax is a regressive tax that penalises the lowest paid more as they pay proportionally more of their income to their council .
“Indeed the Institute for Fiscal Studies calculates that the poorest 10 per cent of the population (even after taking into account council tax support for low income families) pay 8 per cent of their income in council tax, while the next 50 per cent pay 4-5 per cent and the richest 40 per cent pay only 2-3 per cent.
“We clearly need an over haul of this antiquated system for funding essential services . The county’s share of council tax will rise by a 1.99 per cent supplemented with a 1.5 per cent social care precept leading to a total council tax increase of 3.49 per cent. In addition to the amount levied by the county council, council tax bills also include amounts charged by the district and parish/town council for each area.
Skipton and Ripon Labour Party has viewed with dismay government proposals to reform local government in North Yorkshire, moving away from the mix of a county council and seven districts to one of unitary authorities.
Whilst not opposed in principle to the change from a system where services- are provided by different authorities and residents are often unclear as to which authority is responsible for instance for recycling services, we do not believe that now is the right time for a major shake-up which will require considerable resources that would be better devoted to dealing with Covid 19 and the regulations introduced to tackle the pandemic. We also believe that the consultation, which precludes any moves to engage with neighbouring unitary authorities is far too narrow.
We further regret the uncertainty about whether the 2021 county council elections will take place.
The Skipton and Ripon Labour party suspended all meetings and campaigning activities throughout the early part of 2020, in line with the national party guidance on measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
We considered it unfortunate, though entirely understandable and absolutely right that this year’s local elections in Craven have been postponed , as they have across the rest of the country, because of the coronavirus crisis.
It is an essential part of our democracy that local councillors are accountable to the electorate and have to decide at a time not of their choosing whether to stand down or seek re-election. But in times of national emergency such as those that we now face all our attention has to be on protecting the vulnerable, assisting the health and caring services and following the guidance of experts.
The coming weeks and months will put great pressure on local authorities that are already stretched as a result of years of budget cuts and it is right that officers and resources should not be diverted by the task of organising elections, that not only require time and effort but also involve use of schools and public buildings and considerable interaction, not least by candidates and political activists engaging with the public.
Meanwhile, those of us who would otherwise have been out conducting election activities will be devoting our time and using our contacts to ensure that those in need receive the help and support they require; that we do all we can to help both voluntary organisations and the health and caring professional cope with all the additional pressures; and that we do all we can to see that official guidance is followed, no matter how much that disrupts our individual lives.
In summer 2020 meeting resumed on line and throughout the autumn our branches and constituency party have held a number of meetings, some with guest speakers. We are campaigning on line but at present door-to-door leafletting and canvassing are suspended.
Skipton and Ripon Labour Party has nominated Keir Starmer for the new leader of the Labour Party and Angela Rayner as deputy leader.
The nominations were made at a meeting in Ripon on February 4, 2020. It was attended by more than sixty members of the party from across the constituency, with some travelling from Skipton and Settle to take part. Members heard speeches in support of all four leadership contenders but in a secret ballot Keir Starmer won support of the majority present on the basis of first preferences alone.
Following the completion of the national nomination process later this month, ballot papers will go out to party members and the result of the election for leader and deputy will be announced in April.
Labour consolidated its position as the principal challenger to the Conservatives in Skipton and Ripon following the 2019 general election.
The full result of the December 12 poll was:
The Conservative Party
Turnout: 74.9% . There were 239 spoilt papers.
Comparisons with 2017 are complicated by the fact that the Lib Dems, despite having being in second place from the formation of the constituency in 1983 until 2015, did not stand at the last general election. This time they took votes off all other parties, with, not surprisingly the highest percentage coming from ourselves. But despite that we comfortably retained second place and the overall Conservative majority fell from its 2017 high of 62 per cent to 59.5per cent.
On a bad night for Labour overall, we have good reason to believe that we put in credible local performance in a seat where the main issue has always been who will be the Conservatives main challenger.
Speaking after the count Labour’s Brian McDaid pledged that Labour would continue to fight for those who have suffered in the years’ of austerity and highlight the tragedy of child poverty and growing use of foodbanks.
The 2019 campaign also saw high levels of activity by local Labour Party members both within the constituency and in helping in near by marginals.
A Skipton-based man who represents workers in the finance sector has been chosen as Labour’s candidate to contest Skipton and Ripon in the December 2019 general election.
Brian McDaid, a father of two who lives in Gargrave, is Assistant General Secretary of the finance union Aegis. He represents workers from both Skipton Building Society and Computershare and other finance institutions across the UK.
Brian has lived in the area for the past fifteen years. He is a school governor and campaigns on health and education issues.
Brian said: “The Conservatives’ austerity policies have had a devastating effect on local services over the past nine years. My wife works in the health service and our family have benefited from the tremendous and invaluable care that it provides, but I fear for the future. The Government boasts about the funding going into the service but the real issue is whether it is getting the money it needs to provide the services in health and social care that are desperately needed.
“The country is crying out for change. Labour is committed to building both a fair society and a strong economy. The two go together. We need urgent action to tackle the climate emergency. The local commitment to make Craven carbon neutral by 2030 matches Labour’s national pledge. We owe it to future generations to build a sustainable economy, affordable housing that is energy efficient and jobs for the future.
“Labour will end the Brexit nightmare by giving people the choice between the best possible Brexit deal and sticking with things the way they are. Of course, it is important we recognise the outcome of the 2016 Referendum, but what matters is what people want now and try to resolve the detrimental divisions this situation has created within our communities. Brexit might have prompted the election but it must not just be about Brexit.”
Brian McDaid can be contacted on
Promoted by Mike Smith on behalf of Brian McDaid both of 12 The Green, Settle BD24 9HL
Labour retained the one seat we were defending in this year’s Craven District Council elections. Peter Madeley increased his share of the vote in Skipton West going from 36 per cent to over 50 percent. We also gained a seat on Skipton Town Council with Gerardo Iannaccone joining sitting councillors Peter Madeley and Alan Hickman who both retained their seats. Congratulations to them and commiserations to our other candidates who did not do as well but did at least give all our supporters an opportunity to put their x against the party name – something none of the other parties can claim.
Overall, in the 11district council seats where elections took place this year, the Conservatives went down from seven seats to four; the Independents went up from two to five. The Greens gained one and UKIP lost its only seat. This now means that the Conservatives have lost overall control of Craven District Council, with just 15 out of the 30 seats. The Independents have nine seats, we have three, the Greens two and Lib Dems one.
Turnout overall was 37 per cent but ranged from 50percent in Upper Wharfedale to just 29 percent in Skipton South. The previous time that most of these seats were contested coincided with the 2015 general election. Which parties contested which seats also varied from 2015 so it is hard to draw too many conclusions. But we were proud to be the only party contesting all the district council seats. In many cases we held or even increased our share of the vote and where it went down this was largely due to the range of opponents. UKIP and perhaps more surprisingly the Lib Dems no longer appear to be a force in Craven and the gains for Independents and Greens reflect what appears to be a national trend.
Thanks once again go to all our candidates, those who signed their nomination papers and the many activists who turned out to campaign across the borough.
Labour is the only party contesting all the 11 seats on Craven District Council that are subject to election on May 2.
As well as defending the seat of Labour Group Leader Peter Madeley in Skipton West, Labour will also be standing in the three other Skipton seats. Union officer Brian McDaid will be our candidate in Skipton South; train driver Adrian Lunn will be flying the Labour flag in Skipton North and teacher Gerardo Iannaccone will be the Labour candidate in Skipton East.
Outside Skipton, lorry driver David Grace will be contesting Bentham; Bob Holland will be representing Labour in Embsay and Eastby; former teacher Paula Derry will be standing for Gargrave and Malhamdale; author and journalist Paul Routledge will again be contesting Glusburn; whilst retired training consultant John Pope is standing in Sutton. West Craven will be contested by former union official Geraldine Reardon and the by election in Upper Wharfedale is being fought for Labour by graphic artist Virpi Kettu.
Labour will also be running a strong campaign to strengthen our team of councillors on Skipton Town Council where all 16 seats are subject to election on May 2.
Peter Madeley and Alan Hickman will be defending the seats they hold in Skipton West, where they are hoping to be joined by local residents John Pope and Gerardo Iannaccone. Brian McDaid, Elizabeth Sessford and Claire Ling are our candidates in Skipton South, whilst Virpi Kettu will be contesting Skipton North, where she performed well in last year’s by election.
Labour candidates ready for the campaign
Many of our candidates now have their own facebook pages. You can follow them through these links