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Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington

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Councillor Brenda Warrington, Executive Leader of Tameside Council

Let's Make 2021 A New Beginning

Friday, 08 January 2021

Welcome to my first blog of 2021. After the turmoil and uncertainty of last year, I hope everybody has had as good a break as possible given the circumstances, and is ready for what will undoubtedly be a very significant year for Tameside.
 

At the end of last year we heard the excellent news that the coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer was now in the process of being rolled out across Tameside and Britain as a whole. This will be supplemented by the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine, which was approved in 30 December and is easier to store and transport than the Pfizer equivalent. So far in Tameside over 9,000 people in the top priority groups have now have received their first jab, and I’m happy to say that if we continue to receive an adequate supply of the vaccine from the government we are on course to have all of our most in-need residents protected by mid-February.
 
Unfortunately, as you are no doubt aware, over the Christmas period we’ve also seen the emergence of a far more infectious strain of coronavirus. This has forced the imposition of another national lockdown to reduce infection rates while the vaccine rollout is in progress. I know that this not the way that people wanted to begin the New Year, and my heart goes out to everyone – individuals, families and businesses – who have already experienced such a difficult year but are now being asked to make yet more sacrifices.

I am also unhappy that the government left it to literally the first day of the new term to announce the closure of schools. Time and again over the past nine months local communities have been kept in the dark or had the rug pulled out from under their feet by last minute U-turns, and this is yet another example of a situation that could have, and should have, been avoided.

As was the case in previous lockdowns, we know how important our services are to local residents. Where we have to close buildings to comply with lockdown restrictions and keep people safe, we are doing everything we can to deliver these service differently and provide safer alternatives. The complete list of service changes can be found on our website here, and we will keep this updated as the weeks go on. There are also lots of help available for anyone who is struggling either mentally or with accessing food or other types of support. Further information can be found here or you can call us on 0161 342 8355. 

 

I hope that the rollout of the vaccine means that we are beginning to glimpse the light at the end of the tunnel of this terrible pandemic. If we do as we must and stick to the rules while looking after ourselves and those around us, I know that better times for us all will be coming soon. At the moment, infection rates in Tameside are below both the England and Greater Manchester average, but we are very aware that we are seeing an exponential increase and we will be keeping the situation under close and constant review. 

Looking briefly beyond the coronavirus pandemic for the moment, there are a number of other projects taking place in 2021 that will help shape the future of Tameside. In March we will be supporting local residents to fill out the 2021 Census. A national survey of all the people and households 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. We will also be progressing a number of projects at the local and Greater Manchester level, including our annual Budget, our plans for investment across the entire borough, and the rollout and expansion of Tameside’s part of the Greater Manchester-wide “Bee Network” and other cycling and walking infrastructure. With this focus on inclusive growth and financial sustainability we hope to lay the foundations to build back better and fairer in 2021.

The past nine months have been among the most difficult and traumatic in living memory, and unfortunately it is clear that we will have to continue to be vigilant against coronavirus for a little while longer. But with your help I am confident that out of a year of crisis will spring a year of renewal. Let’s work together to make 2021 a new beginning for us all.

 

Posted by: Executive Leader


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