Independent Community and Health Concern
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|Leader||Dr Richard Taylor|
|National affiliation||National Health Action Party|
|European Parliament group||None|
|Colours||Red and Black|
|Worcestershire County Council||
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|Wyre Forest District Council||
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Independent Community and Health Concern, previously Independent Kidderminster Hospital and Health Concern (often known by the shorter name Health Concern and abbreviated as ICHC) is a political party based in Kidderminster, United Kingdom. It grew out of the campaign to restore the casualty unit at Kidderminster Hospital, and the National Health Service is still its primary focus, but the party has since diversified. Since 2015 it has also been known as the Wyre Forest Independent Party and has successfully contested local elections within the Wyre Forest local government area, which includes Kidderminster.
Dr Richard Taylor
The party had one MP in the House of Commons, Dr Richard Taylor, who won a surprise landslide victory in the 2001 general election standing for the Wyre Forest constituency, which includes Kidderminster. He was the only person not from a major London-based or national party elected as an MP in the 2001 Parliament. Taylor was re-elected as member for Wyre Forest in the 2005 election, albeit with a considerably reduced majority. On both occasions, Health Concern benefited from a decision by the Liberal Democrats not to put up a candidate of their own. However, the party lost its only seat in the 2010 election to the Conservative candidate, Mark Garnier, by a margin of 2,643 votes; on this occasion the Liberal Democrats did put up a candidate who attracted 6,040 votes.
ICHC is also active in local government, although it has lost much support in recent years. Before the 2004 local elections it held 16 seats on Wyre Forest District Council, making it the largest party, but in those elections it lost half of these seats to the Conservative Party. The 2005 local elections to Worcestershire County Council, held on the same day as the general election, also saw Health Concern perform poorly, losing five of its six seats. However, in the 2006 local elections for the district council, it held its own, making one net gain to take its representation from eight to nine. In the 2007 local elections its representation again increased, from nine to 10 members. The party has since gradually lost further seats on Wyre Forest District Council, with just 7 seats after the 2014 elections.
After the May 2014 local elections, Health Concern lost two district seats, reducing the overall number to seven, but managed to gain control of Bewdley Town Council, taking seven of the 13 available seats, a gain of three.
Health Concern has four councillors at the county level: three on Worcestershire County Council, having recently won a seat in Kidderminster and regained a seat in Stourport, and one on Shropshire Council (for Cleobury Mortimer, a town just over the border) who sits as part of that council's Independents group.
According to the Electoral Commission's register of parties, its leader is Dr Taylor, Peter Young is the nominating officer, Keith Robertson is treasurer, and Gerald Wheeler is campaigns officer. The party does have a formal membership. It had expenditure of about £12,000 and income of about £9,000 in the 2005 calendar year.
- Keith Edkins (24 November 2013). "Local Council Political Compositions". Retrieved 26 January 2014.
- BBC News (23 May 2014). "BBC News - Wyre Forest District Council". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
- "Shropshire Council elections: How the results came in". Shropshire Star.
- Tory MP Andrew Hunter joins DUP BBC News, 10 December 2004
- "Wyre Forest council". BBC News Online. Retrieved 31 December 2009.
- Shropshire Council Councillors by Party Grouping