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Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington

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Councillor Brenda Warrington, Executive Leader of Tameside Council

Leading the Charge for Change in 2018

Thursday, 06 December 2018

On Tuesday evening members and officers of the Council gathered in Guardsman Tony Downes House in Droylsden for 2018’s final meeting of Full Council. In front of the public and people watching online, it allowed us an opportunity to look back on what I feel has been an extremely challenging but momentous year for the borough.

This meeting was particularly significant in that it marks the final time that Councillor John Bell took his seat on the opposition benches before moving off to a well-deserved retirement next year. His impact on Tameside over the decades cannot be overstated. The borough itself was barely a year old the first time he was elected in 1974, and in total he served the people of Hyde for over 39 years. Nor will he be idle in his retirement, as he has already completed training to become a voluntary Fire Ranger and is looking at a number of other roles to which he can lend his expertise. Being members of different parties, I didn’t always see eye to eye with John on a lot of things, but in all the years I’ve known him I never once had reason to question either his commitment to the people of Tameside or his own integrity and character. I was therefore delighted to move that, in recognition of his exceptional service to Tameside, he be made an Honorary Aldermen of the Borough at the next Annual Meeting of the council in May next year.

Tuesday’s Full Council was also an opportunity to reflect on the progress we have made on our priorities for Tameside in 2018. When I was elected as Leader of the Council last February I identified a number of areas where I promised to make a real difference; giving our children and young people the best start in life, continuing our pioneering work in health and social care, protecting our shared environment, improving our economy and skills base, and making Tameside a better place to live. In the ten months since, despite continuing government cuts and uncertainty around Brexit, we have backed up those promises with concrete actions and achievements.

Some of the highlights this year that were mentioned at Full Council included our work with raising awareness of Child Sexual Exploitation, the ongoing improvement of our children’s services and giving young people in the borough a voice through the Tameside Youth Council. Our pioneering work in health was exemplified by the rolling out of the Digital Health Centre with Tameside Hospital and our Community Response service, and the development of our health neighbourhood model of care. The first ever Tameside Green Summit was looked back on, as the council, businesses and residents came together to pledge to take action to protect our shared environment. We also called attention to how we intend to build upon the success of the reopening of Ashton Old Baths as a technology and business hub.

We fully intend to continue with our plans to transform Tameside. From now until the end of January, we will be consulting with our residents on what they think our priorities for 2019 should be. The findings from this will be combined with the council’s own learning and the results from the next Local Government Finance Settlement to draft our Budget for February, setting up the solid financial framework that will allow us to achieve our goals. In this way, we will carry our residents, communities and businesses forward with us, making sure that anything that happens on our watch is done with them, and not to them.

In a motion moved by Councillor Feeley, and seconded by Councillor Hollinshead, we unanimously called upon the government to make fair arrangements for the women unfairly affected by increases to the State Pension Age. The plight of the WASPIs (or, Women Affected by the State Pension Increase) has been well-documented in other places, and the council agrees that no woman should have to live in hardship because of changes made to their pension that they were not told about until it was too late to do anything. We hope we have added our voice to the many others protesting this manifest injustice.

I’d like to offer my sincere thanks to everybody who helped make our successes this year possible, especially to those residents, officers, members and partners who contributed their skills, their efforts and their support in ways that often go unnoticed. We know that big things are coming, both locally and nationally. To give just one example; we do not yet have a clear idea of how Brexit, in whatever form it takes, will impact the borough. But no matter what we have to face, let us make sure that we continue to be at the cutting edge of change, becoming active shapers and makers of our own shared future.


Posted by: Executive Leader

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