Council Leaders in Greater Manchester have voted to introduce a £10 a year charge for pensioners to travel for free on Metrolink and trains.
The charge will come into effect in 2020 and is expected to bring in in around £1.2 million, straight out of the pockets of Greater Manchester’s pensioners. This was supported by the nine Labour Council Leaders (including Bury’s), the Labour Mayor and the Conservative Leader of Bolton Council.
Bus travel will still be free, but for us this extra charge for pensioners at the worst possible time. Free TV licenses for the over 75s end next year, and many older people being hit by increasing fuel and Council Tax bills.
Liberal Democrats in Greater Manchester have announced their candidate for the election for Greater Manchester Mayor in May 2020.
Councillor Andy Kelly, who is the Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Rochdale Council will take on Labour’s candidate, Andy Burnham.
Andy said: “The Tories are playing parlour games with people’s lives and Labour are betraying those they profess to represent I felt the need to step up to the plate.
Greater Manchester voters deserve better representation, we need someone who is not afraid to be frank about our future. That person is me.
This year the Liberal Democrats made huge gains in the local elections, with 700+ gains nationally – the party’s best local election results. Many of these gains were in the Greater Manchester region. Three weeks later we gained two members of European parliament in the North West as voters turned away from both Labour and the Conservatives.
I am keen to take Burnham on his three years of delivering nothing.”
Andy Kelly’s first pledge has been to scrap the GMSF: “We need to find REAL solutions to the housing crisis. To provide the right homes, in the right places; reversing Labour’s local obsession with socially cleansing our community.”
More than 300 children face becoming homeless during the school holidays this summer as a result of the housing crisis, the equivalent to a primary school’s worth of children, councils have warned.
The Local Government Association estimates 320 homeless children in England could be placed into temporary accommodation over the next six weeks, based on trends for the last two years.
The number would exceed the size of an average primary school, which has 282 pupils.
The LGA, which represents councils, is calling on the new Prime Minister to make tackling homelessness an urgent priority.
According to latest government figures, there are more than 124,490 children living in temporary accommodation.
The severe shortage of social rented homes available to house families in mean councils have no choice but to place households into temporary accommodation, including bed and breakfasts.
Not only is this financially unsustainable for councils, it is also extremely disruptive to the families and children involved.
Placements in temporary accommodation can present serious challenges for families – from parents’ employment and health to children’s ability to focus on school studies and form friendships.
As part of its Councils Can campaign, the LGA wants the new Prime Minister and his government to introduce a range of measures to help councils tackle homelessness and to give them the tools and powers to resume their historic role as major housebuilders of good, quality affordable homes for social rent.
It says councils should be allowed to keep 100 per cent of receipts of council homes sold under Right to Buy – to reinvest in new replacement homes – and to also be able to set Right to Buy discounts locally.
With councils facing a £421 million funding gap by 2025 to tackle homelessness, the LGA is urging the Government to use the Spending Review to give councils long-term sustainable funding to prevent homelessness from happening in the first place.
It is also calling on the Government to adapt welfare reforms so local housing allowance rates go back to covering at least the lower 30 per cent of market rents.
LGA Liberal Democrat Group Leader Howard Sykes said:
“While for many children the summer holidays will be a break from school to be enjoyed with family and friends, for others they face the tragedy of becoming homeless.
“It is not right that hundreds of children risk enduring the disruption of being placed into temporary accommodation.
“Councils desperately want to find every family a good, quality home, but the lack of available housing is making this an almost insurmountable challenge.
“This is why we are urging the Prime Minister to make tackling homelessness a priority.
“While it was good the Government lifted the housing borrowing cap to give councils more freedom to build new homes, the new Prime Minister should take this even further and in the Spending Review give councils the tools they need to resume their historic role of building the homes the country needs.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. Methodology: The calculation of 320 children potentially being placed in temporary accommodation is based on a two-year trend, from December 2016 to December 2018, the most recent period for which data is available, which shows an extra 231 children are being placed in temporary accommodation every month.
In December 2016 there were 118,930 children living in temporary accommodation, which increased to 124,490 in December 2018. A difference of 5,560 amounts to 231 each month over a two year period. Calculated across six weeks – the length of the school holiday – this would make 320 children.
2. Councils in England face an overall funding gap of £8 billion by 2025. The LGA’s #CouncilsCan campaign calls on the new Prime Minister to ensure the forthcoming Spending Review secures the future of vital local services and the long-term financial sustainability of councils. Visit our campaign page for more information – https://www.local.gov.uk/spending-review-2019
Bury’s team of Liberal Democrat councillors have been successful in getting Bury Council to sign up to a ambitious target of 2030 to be a carbon neutral Council and borough, as our part in tackling the climate emergency.
The agreement came as a Liberal Democrat Group amendment to a Labour Group motion on climate change, which had proposed a more modest target of 2038. The Liberal Democrat proposal was accepted and is now the policy of Bury Council.
“2038 is not ambitious enough. This is an emergency because we have not done anything about it.
In 1979 this might have been a worry. In 2019 it is an emergency. In 2030 it is game over because this is when scientists tell us that climate change is irreversible damage. It is ridiculous to think that people not even born yet have to wait to be adults before we can achieve this.
What do you do in an emergency? Greta Thunberg tells us that we need to act like our house is on fire. What you don’t do in an emergency is set up a Working Gropu! We are making decisions every day that affect our climate and we need to change policies immediately.
You can see Councillor Pickstone making the proposals here.
Ahead of his debate on 27 June 2019 in Parliament, Brian Paddick, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson in the Lords, has launched a five-point plan to tackle the knife crime epidemic.
His public health approach which he has called on the Conservative Government to enact is outlined below:
Enabling parents to be there for their children by tackling in-work poverty & providing the support parents and their children need.
Safe and healthy alternatives to gangs: providing a positive safety net for those whose parents can’t provide the support their children need.
Healing the damage caused by Adverse Childhood Experiences by addressing the psychological impact with intervention at ‘teachable moments’ and countering the normalisation of violence through compulsory sex and relationship education.
Inclusive education: fewer excluded pupils, adaptable education that addresses every pupil’s needs, including teaching the realities of criminal gangs.
United against knife crime: restoring community policing so police and communities can work on the same side against the knife carriers.
Following the launch of the plan, Brian Paddick said:
“Knife crime claims a new life almost every day but the Conservatives are not taking the crisis seriously. We have witnessed devastating cuts to our police force as well as a piecemeal approach which fails to make any impact.
Knife crime is a public health emergency and therefore demands a public health response. Government departments should be working together to enact the changes we need to get a grip of this rise in violent crime.
The knife crime epidemic needs a cohesive and joined-up approach which is what the Liberal Democrats have put forward. Not only must we address the decimation of community policing, but we must tackle other factors driving knife crime such as in work poverty and school exclusions.
So tomorrow I will call on the Government to enact our plan. By doing so, we can move towards a society where young people are safe on our streets.”
Greater Manchester’s councils have published an update map of the ‘Bee Network’ a proposed network of cycle and pedestrian-friendly routes and areas, as well as announcing a number of new schemes across the city region.
The revised map shows the proposed network of cycle friendly routes, as well as the ‘busy bee’ routes earmarked as major cycle friendly routes in the future.
The new map can be accessed here. A a change from the previous map published last year a section of Bury Old Road and Heywood Road has been included as a ‘Busy Bee’ route as an alternative to coming through Prestwich village.
Also announced yesterday is a new set of infrastructure projects across Greater Manchester to begin to implement this strategy. When the first set of projects were announced Bury failed to have a single scheme included.
In the new proposals there is a cycle friendly scheme proposed around Fishpool, just south of Bury town centre, at a total cost of £3.6 million, which is welcome. Bury remains the ‘poor relation’ with schemes every other Borough included in the scheme getting more money – in Salford and Wigan’s case £30 and £32 million respectively.
A full list of the current proposed schemes is here.
Newly elected MEP for the North West will be speaking at an event in Prestwich on Saturday 6 July 2019 at Our Lady of Grace Church Hall, Fairfax Road Prestwich.
The event has been organised by Bury Liberal Democrats, but is open to all supporters and friends. Jane will be joined by member of the House of Lords Lord Andrew Stunell, Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Manchester Council Councillor John Leech and the writer and presenter Graham Hughes.
Stop Brexit in Bury 6 July 2019, Our Lady of Grace Church Hall, Fairfax Road, Prestwich. 4.45-8.00pm
Speakers: Jane Brophy MEP Cllr John Leech (Manchester) Lord Andrew Stunell
Moderator: Graham Hughes, writer and activist
The event will be held on Saturday 6th July at: Our Lady of Grace Parish Hall 11 Fairfax Rd Prestwich M25 1AS
16:45 Doors 17:00 Welcome (Alcoholic/soft drinks can be purchased at the bar) 17:15 Speakers 18:00 Q&A 18:45 Raffle (Alcoholic/soft drinks can be purchased at the bar) 19:55 Conclusions
Tickets: Tickets are free but please register for your free admission ticket on Eventbrite http://tiny.cc/pzle8y
The current public consultation phase on Greater Manchester’s proposals for Clean Air Zone’s closes on 30 June 2019.
The proposals are for daily charges in Greater Manchester for lorries, buses, taxes and vans that do not meet strict emissions regulations – these would be £100 per day for lorries and buses, and £7.50 per day for taxis and vans.
Before proposals are taken further, members of the public are being asked for our views. Take part in the consultation here.
Investigations by Bury’s Liberal Democrat councillors has revealed that Labour and Conservative councillors have not allocated around half of the money allocated to them for their local communities.
Only two areas – the Liberal Democrat councillors in Holyrood Ward and also the councillors in Tottington – have allocated the total of £4,500 allocated under the Elected Member Discretionary Budgets during that period.
The scheme was set up in December 2017 for councillors to support local projects and initiatives within their ward and wider township at their discretion.
More information was provided in an investigation by the Bury Times, reveal that only £41,801.96 was spent by councillors in their communities out of a possible £76,500.
Liberal Democrat Group Leader Cllr Tim Pickstone said: “We welcomed the decision to provide councillors with small delegated budgets to spend on priorities in their own wards. Liberal Democrat councillors in Holyrood ward have had no difficulty making sure all of that money has gone to the right place supporting a whole variety of community groups and initiatives.”
“There are so many good causes that need our support so I am amazed that only two of the 17 wards in Bury have spent the money that has been allocated to them.”
Councillors in Radcliffe West spent the least money at £312 out of a possible £4,5000 while Besses and St Mary’s wards spent around £700 each.
Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Councillor Tim Pickstone said: “This is the first time in a decade that the Liberal Democrats have won so many seats in Bury. Not only that but we also got significantly more votes than Labour across the three Prestwich seats.
Local people are sending a clear message that Labour’s policies around building on our green belt land, and their failure to tackle congestion and air pollution need to change”.