Charity Christmas cards cut

Mike Smithand coun Janet Battye at the Visitor Information Centre, Hebden Bridge

Mike Smithand coun Janet Battye at the Visitor Information Centre, Hebden Bridge

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Residents and councillors have hit out at Calderdale Council for “behaving like Scrooge” and slashing the number of charity Christmas cards it sells in its tourist information centres.

The council has taken the decision to stop selling Christmas cards produced by Cards for Good Causes at Hebden Bridge Visitor and Canal Centre and Halifax TIC.

Coun Steve Sweeney, Calderdale Council’s cabinet member for communities, said: “The visitor centres no longer sell ‘Cards for Good Causes’ as to stock these cards we have to buy a set amount spending nearly half of our total budget. The return on the cards in comparison to the outlay is relatively small and they take up a large amount of our retail space. This is an issue as we are operating in difficult financial times, having to spend less and maximise return to ensure we continue to provide services.”

Coun Sweeney said the authority was focusing on supporting local charities and would stock cards from Overgate Hospice.

The decision not to stock Cards for Good Causes items, which are bought on a sale or return basis (the TICs get a donation for selling the cards), has angered residents who say the wide selection of cards attract shoppers in to the area.

Calder ward councillor Janet Battye said: “When they’re not being asked to pay any money up front it seems like a strange financial decision. It seems to me that it’s an over-cautious bureaucratic decision by Calderdale Council.”

Christine Holland, chief executive of Cards for Good Causes said: “We’re disappointed not to be selling cards in Hebden Bridge again this year but do hope to be back in the future.

l Shoppers in the upper Calder Valley who would like to buy the charity Christmas cards can call in at Todmorden Information Centre, on Burnley Road.

A spokesperson said: “The cards prove very popular. They have done quite well over the past few years. By buying the cards, people are not just supporting the charities but also Todmorden Information Centre as well.”