The LDF - what has it got to do with me?

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I was asked last week what the Local Development Framework (LDF) was to do with me.

A good question for us all, but for me, I have a house for sale – perhaps the mess Kirklees have made of this plan is a factor in its not selling; then they have increased my council tax – blood out of a stone, and thirdly – I do not get unemployment benefit, or call it what you will. That leads me to look at the next issue.

The LDF, as I wrote last week leads on two points: housing and jobs. It is jobs that is our main issue.

Under Labour, they told us it was our fault if we were out of work, we needed training and or education – there were jobs out there. Now they have stated, they will not allow you to be out of work for over two years and receive benefit. (I am not sure what the alternative is – the work house, soup kitchens?)

The Conservatives would hardly disagree with this view. Many of you out there may say they know someone who does not want to work, but that is a diversion from the main issues.

The LDF plan stated that the number of people living in the area will increase over the next 20 years from in 2008, 238,420 to 275,800 in 2028. However, we now have to take into account the available work in the area. Kirklees said in their plan that those in work in the area will dramatically increase over time.

Over the few years the plan has been developed we have seen the character of work in the area change and we have seen the numbers in work decline from 160,900 (Kirklees Fact Sheet, 2004) to 140,000 (Office of National Statistics).

This is where it gets complicated because Kirklees, in the plan, departed from their numbers in their fact sheets as they said on page 21 of the plan that there were 129,491 working residents in 2008 and they projected 161,067 in 2028. (Though we might add that council officials in their Economic Assessment were not estimating anything like the numbers in work with only a 10,000 increase.)

One may argue that one set of figures are those living in Kirklees, who may work elsewhere to those just working in Kirklees...that would be more worrying, when you see petrol go from 38.5p a litre in 1989 to £1.34 in 2013 to a possible £25 a gallon in 2038...on these increases you won’t be able to afford to travel to another area by car. From the above figures we are really seeing static employment figures for the area to 2028.

If the council is to start all over again, will it be with a statement of those in work based on the 2011 Census, and then a realistic assessment of the numbers in work in 2028 in the area by sector.

If that is the case, will this impact on the need for any increased housing in the area? Have you realised what I am actually suggesting? If they build any houses in the area they will not be for people working in Kirklees.

Indeed, if you are out of work in Kirklees for two years or more, you will have to move out of the area to where there is work unless you can live on air. Kirklees’s previous economic assessment is that there will not be the job opportunities for people born to the area now! They wanted to be ‘aspirational’...who wants to be a millionaire?

This is another important point do you think Kirklees has declined over the last ten years? Are there more job opportunities?

What will Kirklees tell us this time? I am sure you are bored with me on these points. What has it to with me?

DEREK CARTWRIGHT

Manor Farm Drive

WOODKIRK