At the July full council meeting in Calderdale, it was agreed that instead of voting on the motion proposed by Councilor Mike Barnes (Lab, Skircoat), which included proposals to ask the government to changing some aspects of financial policy, the task of formalizing the wording should be delegated to multi-party advisers, as all parties had made suggestions that could be included.
But the authority’s strategy and performance review board heard that the Calderdale Tories were concerned with the way the proposal was worded, said board chairman Councilor Ashley Evans (Lib Dem, Warley).
“We have to be careful not to make this too political or carried away by who said what,” he said.
Councilor Evans said it had come under scrutiny and could tackle broader issues and hoped it could be approached from that perspective.
The leader of the Conservative group on the council, Councilor Steven Leigh (Ryburn), said he also did not want this to become political and agreed he should deal with broader issues.
“I think this is a very complex issue and it’s not just about payday loans – we wanted to raise the bar higher than that.
“A lot of the problems are due to illegal loans which are much more pernicious,” he said.
Councilor Leigh said he would be happy to meet with the different parties to define the terms of reference very quickly.
Councilor Susan Press (Lab, Todmorden) asked who would be invited to be on a task force – this was an issue she had been involved in when she held a Cabinet portfolio and was close to her heart.
As the problems were caused by poverty, it was hard not to be political and advisers were discussing it in a week’s time when increases in national insurance and cuts in universal credit, which she said would cause hardship, were in the eyes of the public nationwide, she said.
But Councilor Leigh was right the issue should encompass more than payday loans, Coun Press said.
Councilor Barnes said he was not valuable on the subject and it was true that it was a cross-party issue and that inter-party work often yielded better results.
The advisers agreed to form a multi-stakeholder working group that will report with appropriately agreed terms of reference to shape the policy.
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