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Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington

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Councillor Brenda Warrington, Executive Leader of Tameside Council

Archive for February 2021

Securing Our Finances and Building for the Future

Thursday, 25 February 2021

On Tuesday evening we held one of the most important meetings on Tameside’s calendar, as the Full Council came together over Zoom to debate and decide on the Budget for the next financial year.

This meeting was held at a critical moment for Tameside and the country as a whole. The government has begun, after a long wait, to set out a plan on how we will be able to move out of lockdown. While are still working through the details of the announcement to understand how best we can support our communities through the transition, I am pleased that we are now able to look towards the future with optimism again. However, I remain deeply concerned that the government has underestimated the long-term effects this pandemic will have on places like Tameside. Over 600 of our residents have been lost to coronavirus, and cost pressures from the pandemic exacerbated by a decade of austerity means that our budget gap has increased to £23 million.

 

 
It therefore gives me no pleasure to say that, at a time when concrete action on fair funding is needed more than ever, the promise made by the government back in March last year that we would be given “whatever it takes” has proven to be hollow words. The new Funding Settlement, which determines how much money we receive from the government each year was also an exercise in smoke and mirrors. While on paper it promises a £2.2 billion increase in core funding only £0.3 billion of this, or less than 14%, comes directly from central funding.  The remainder comes from the assumption that councils will make full use of their allowable council tax increase for this year.
 
That means that it is more important than ever that we are honest with our residents about the financial challenges we face, and what it means for them and the services many of them depend upon. As well £9 million of cuts on top of our existing savings, increasing to £14 million next year, the Budget also mandates a council tax increase this year of 1.99% and an increase in the adult social care precept of 3%. This is a choice we would much rather have not had to make, but the financial challenges from coronavirus and the betrayal of fair funding promises means that we are not the only local authority that that have had to make it.
 

 
While we may not have much control over the financial decisions made by the government, we do have the opportunity to make our own choices on investment and development within Tameside. That’s why, as well as the Budget, Tuesday’s meeting also focused on how we’re beginning to build back fairer and greener. Working in close consultation with residents and partners, we are in the process of finalising our Inclusive Growth Strategy for 2021-26. This document will form the roadmap for our ambitions for Tameside, and includes key priorities such as the regeneration of our town centres and major investments in homes, businesses and infrastructure in Godley Green and Ashton Moss. It was also agreed that joint committees would be set up to work with the relevant Greater Manchester councils to both build on the former GM Spatial Framework create a new and long-term plan for development and sustainable growth for all, and to advance to the next stage of the GM Clean Air Plan to protect our shared environment. 

With this commitment financial sustainability on one side, and inclusive growth on the other, I believe that we have produced a Budget that both manages the financial challenges we face, while simultaneously laying the foundations for a better future. We will also continue to demand that the government make good on their promise of fair funding for all. It is true that much has been lost over the past year, but if we come together with a new vision of what is possible I truly believe that there is much more that can be gained.



 

Posted by: Executive Leader


Join In Tameside's Big Conversation

Thursday, 18 February 2021

In Tameside we believe that all of our residents should get the opportunity to have their say on our projects and priorities. In the last few months alone we’ve held a consultation on our Budget for 2021-22, as well as Greater Manchester-wide issues such as Clean Air and Minimum Standards for Licensed Vehicles.

As we start looking to build back fairer and better after the coronavirus pandemic in Tameside, it is more important than ever that we make our residents feel like every decision is made “with” them instead of “to” them. In that spirit, I want to do something a little different this week and highlight the local consultations we have open at this moment in time.

Community Safety Strategy – closes 25 February 2021



The Tameside Community Safety Partnership (CSP) is a group made up of members from a number of organisations, including Tameside Council, the police and fire services, and probation and youth justice. Their job is simple; to work together to make Tameside a safer place to live, work and visit.
In order to make this a reality, the CSP has developed a Community Safety Strategy. This document sets out the five priorities that will shape their work, including; 1) building stronger communities, 2) preventing and reducing violent crime, knife crime and domestic abuse, 3) preventing and reducing crime and anti-social behaviour, 4) preventing and reducing the harm caused by drugs and alcohol, and 5) protecting vulnerable people and those at risk of exploitation.

We want to hear from anybody who lives and work in Tameside, or who has an interest in the safety and security of their communities. Any responses will be closely looked at in order to make sure our final Community Safety Strategy document addresses the needs and concerns of local residents.  

Active Tameside Survey – closes 26 March 2021



Active Tameside manages leisure services on behalf of Tameside Council.  In recent years we have invested heavily in our local facilities, including the iTrain gym in Dukinfield and the Tameside Wellness Centre in Denton. Unfortunately the coronavirus pandemic and decisions on government funding have severely impacted the finances of all local authorities, and we are now in a position where difficult choices must be made to produce a balanced budget for the next financial year.

In partnership with Active Tameside we’ve undertaken a Sport and Leisure Review, which has come back with proposals for cost-saving measures aimed at securing the financial sustainability of our leisure estate. We want to hear your views on how these cuts might affect you, and what we can do to keep delivering health and wellbeing services to residents.

Tameside Ward Boundaries Consultation – closes 5 April 2021



The Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) is an independent organisation with the responsibility for guaranteeing that every councillor represents approximately the same number of residents in each ward. This ensures that everybody has fair representation and equal access to democracy. 

A boundary review is currently being carried out in Tameside, which may end up considering proposals to change the boundaries of electoral wards in the borough. As part of this, you have until 5 April to tell us what you’d like to see happen. The LGBCE will then consider all responses with the intention of holding further consultations on their draft recommendations in June. These will be approved and finalised by November, with the new arrangements coming into effect at the local elections in May 2023.

If any of these consultations are of interest to you, don’t hesitate to follow the links and have your say. We will also be publishing details of any future consultations on our website and on social media as well, so please keep an eye out. By taking part, you will be helping to plot the course of our shared future as we move into the post-coronavirus world.  

 

Posted by: Executive Leader


Become a Tameside Community Champion

Thursday, 11 February 2021

Before I start this blog today I want to take a moment to pay tribute to one of the undisputed heroes of the coronavirus pandemic. At the beginning of this month we tragically lost Captain Sir Tom Moore, who raised tens of millions of pounds for the NHS and other charities before succumbing to the virus himself.

As well as his incredible personal achievements, no one exemplified more than him the fact that the one shining light throughout these dark months has been the way that people have rallied together. In the face of the worst pandemic in living, ordinary men and women across the country have responded with solidarity in word and deed. The unseen acts of kindness they have carried out for their neighbours and communities ensures that the spirit of Captain Sir Tom will live on even as we commit his body to rest.

 

Our vaccine rollout is continuing at an excellent pace, with five vaccination hubs in Ashton, Hyde, Denton, Stalybridge and Glossop as well as the national vaccination centre at The Etihad Tennis Club in Manchester. As of the last count on 10 February, 49,737 local people have received their first jab, and local infection rates are beginning to slowly go down. Rapid testing is also now available in Dukinfield Town Hall and Stalybridge Civic Hall for those who do not have Covid-19 symptoms, and are unable to work from home or need to come into contact with others regularly as part of their job. However, we are by no means out of the woods yet, and it is vital that we continue to follow the rules to protect ourselves and those around us.

It is in that spirit that I am inviting our local residents to become Tameside Community Champions. We recognise that the messages around the pandemic, lockdown restrictions, and what is and isn’t operating can sometimes become confusing or overwhelming. While we do our best to make sure our residents are kept informed, there are many who prefer to receive their information from people that they know and trust. By becoming a Community Champion you can be that person, ensuring that your friends, neighbours and colleagues know exactly what is going on and what they need to do.

The only qualification necessary to become a Community Champion is the desire to help in any way you can. Whether you’re somebody that everyone already knows and listens to, or if it’s your first time doing anything like this, your time and effort is welcome and wanted.

You can sign up on our website here. Once you’re registered, every Monday we’ll send you an e-mail with our key messages and any information that we want people to know. You can then share this with your community in the way that seems best to you.
In order to help you in your role as a Community Champion, our Public Health Team are holding fortnightly meetings at 10am and 6pm Monday where you can receive more in-depth information, as well as have the opportunity to get any other questions answered.  Our Communications Team will also hold informal Zoom meetings every other Wednesday at 10am and 6pm to allow you to give feedback on what is and isn’t working message-wise in your area. Further support is provided by a dedicated e-mail inbox for questions and requests, and a What’sApp broadcast to receive news, pictures and videos about coronavirus straight to your mobile.

As turbulent and difficult as this year has been, it has seen bonds of community and fellowship forged that will never be broken. We know now more than ever that the strength of our communities is judged by how we look after each other and not just ourselves. Let’s keep following the example of Captain Sir Tom and work together to build a fairer and better Tameside, now and in the post-coronavirus world to come.

 

Posted by: Executive Leader


Getting Ready for Census 2021

Thursday, 04 February 2021

In my blog at the beginning of the year, I mentioned a number of projects taking place in 2021 that will help shape the future of Tameside. The first of these, and the one that may have the biggest impact of plotting the direction of the borough going forward, is supporting local residents to fill out the Census on 21 March.
 

A national survey of all the people in England and Wales which takes place every ten years, the Census is unique in that it gives us the most complete picture we have of what our country looks like. This is because, while most other surveys gather information from a limited sample of people, in the Census everybody answers the same questions at the same time. Despite the ongoing pandemic, we have received confirmation that this year’s Census will go ahead, in part because the data we gather will help us understand the true extent and impact of coronavirus. But the Census has direct consequences on the public services that national and local government provides as well, as the results of the survey are used to allocate funding and resources for things such as new housing, doctor’s surgeries, schools and transport links.

The Census also provides a vital historical snapshot of our country, and can help us understand how it has developed and changed over the decades. When the first Census was carried out in 1801, supposedly to identify how many able-bodied men there were in the country that could be enlisted into the army to fight Napoleon, the population of England, Scotland and Wales was recorded at 9 million. By the time of the last Census in 2011 that had grown to over 63.2 million. The questions asked in the Census have also changed significantly since the 1800s. Information about names, age, sex, education, job and place of birth were not recorded until 1841, and 2011 saw the introduction of questions on civil partnerships, second homes and immigration. This year’s Census will also survey whether respondents are armed forces veterans for the first time, as well as containing voluntary questions on sexual orientation and gender identity for those aged 16 or over.

However the biggest change to the Census in 2021 is that, because of the ongoing march of technology, this will be the first where the majority of people will be expected to fill it out online. Whereas Census forms were previously delivered to people through the post, this year households will get a letter with a unique access code that will allow them to log on and complete the questionnaire on their computers, phones or tablets. That being said, we do appreciate that there will be many who can’t or won’t be able to fill out their Census form online. The Office for National Statistics, the government body that runs the Census, will be offering paper copies on request as well as assistance to anyone who needs it through their website, phone, e-mail, social media or text message. People are being encouraged to get help from their friends and family to complete the Census. The Council will also be helping to run a number of Census support centres in our local libraries. These will be by appointment only, and will provide hands-on and in-person help while taking into account all necessary precautions against coronavirus. 

Please keep your eyes and ears open for the next few weeks as we receive further information about how this year’s Census will be carried out, and please fill out your form as completely and as quickly you can when you get your code at the end of March. Not only will you be helping to inform the decisions that will shape Tameside for the next decade to come, you’ll also be taking part in a small piece of national history.

 

Posted by: Executive Leader


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