Kirklees Enough is Enough: Photo: Yorkshire SP
Kirklees Enough is Enough: Photo: Yorkshire SP

Iain Dalton, Yorkshire Socialist Party

Just before Christmas, Kirklees Active Leisure (KAL), announced the ‘temporary’ closure of two leisure centres at Batley and Deighton, and the swimming pool at Colne Valley leisure centre – stating that it was due to cash flow problems following the pandemic and the increased cost of energy bills. This was stated to be a temporary closure until March, when the decision would be reviewed, with no guaranteed reopening.

Campaigns in each of these areas have been set up. Kirklees Unison, representing leisure centre staff, has launched a physical and digital petition to the council demanding the centres are reopened and that KAL, a charity set up to manage leisure centres by the council, should be brought back in-house to save the jobs and services.

These demands were prominent on a recent 150-strong demonstration in Huddersfield organised by Enough is Enough and attended by some of the campaign groups, who had already held a lobby of the council earlier that month.

Socialist Party member Angie Waller spoke at the demonstration as the recently elected Secretary of Kirklees Unison. She expressed solidarity with ongoing strikes and called for a 24-hour general strike on Budget Day, 15 March. Angie also demanded that action be taken to save jobs and bring KAL back in-house. If the council pleads poverty to avoid doing so, they should send the bill to the government and in the meantime use their reserves and borrowing powers to protect jobs and services!