Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington

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Councillor Brenda Warrington, Executive Leader of Tameside Council

Archive for May 2018

Honouring the Past and Looking to the Future

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Last Monday we held the latest meeting of Full Council, moved from the usual Tuesday so as to not interfere with the commemorations around the first anniversary of the Manchester bombing.

During the course of the meeting it was my pleasure to second the nomination of former Councillor James Middleton to the position of Honorary Alderman of the borough, in recognition of his services to Tameside over the decades. James, or “Jim” as he prefers to be known, served the people of Droylsden East tirelessly for 27 years until his retirement in 2017. During that time he held an extraordinary number of other positions, including serving as Deputy Mayor from 1992-1993 and Mayor from 1998-1999. Dedicated and committed to Tameside to a fault, but always ready to come out with that little bit of mischief to keep things interesting, I cannot think of anybody else more deserving of the title of Alderman.

Monday’s meeting also saw the handover from the previous year’s Mayor and Deputy Mayor, Councillors Joyce Bowerman and Andy Kinsey respectively, to the new Mayor, Councillor Denise Ward, and Deputy Mayor, Councillor Leigh Drennan. Councillor Drennan’s appointment is of particular significance, as he becomes the first openly LGBT individual to serve the borough in a civic capacity. Neither has wasted any time in getting to grips with their new commitments, and having worked with them closely over the years, I know that both possess in abundance the qualities that will allow them to represent the very best of Tameside.

I also took the opportunity to announce the finalised changes to the portfolios of the new Executive Cabinet, as well as naming the councillors who will take the lead on delivering our priorities for Tameside over the next year. Councillor Bill Fairfoull will take on the role of Deputy Executive Leader, and the remaining Executive Member positions have been allocated as follows; Councillor Oliver Ryan to Children and Families, Councillor Ged Cooney to Economic Growth and Wellbeing, Councillor Leanne Feeley to Lifelong Learning, Skills and Employment, Councillor Allison Gwynne to Neighbourhood Services, and Councillor Warren Bray to Strategic Development and Transport. There have also been changes made to Assistant Executive Members, committee panels and other posts. A full list can be found on the meeting paper, which is downloadable from the council website here.

At this most critical time for the borough, I am confident that we have the right team, with an ideal balance between experienced heads and fresh thinking, to drive forward the changes and plans needed to make Tameside a place that anybody would be proud to call home. My new team and I will be immediately getting to work on the main priorities that I identified in the meeting and in previous blogs; improving the private rented sector and bringing empty homes back into use, moving on with Vision Tameside and our integration of health and social care, continuing the journey of improvement in our children’s services, and safeguarding our streets against fly-tipping and anti-social behaviour. Together, and with your help, we will not only transform Tameside’s present, but secure Tameside’s future as well.

Let’s not have any illusions, this is but the first step in a long journey, but we have started as we mean to go on. Let’s keep going on forward together.

 
 

Posted by: Executive Leader


Standing Together in the Face of Terror

Monday, 21 May 2018


Tomorrow, 22nd May, marks the first anniversary of the terrorist bombing in Manchester. The attack, which was carried out during an Ariana Grande concert in the Manchester Arena, killed 22 people and injured a further 800, making it, in terms of casualties, the deadliest incident on British soil since the July 7th 2005 bombings in London.

Those are the dates and numbers, but they cannot possibly convey the true horror of what occurred. I know that I, and probably everybody else, can still remember the shock, revulsion, and uncertainty that we all felt as the news of the attack filtered through. So many people; sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, had their lives ended or irrevocably damaged, simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. There is not a single part of our great city, Tameside included, that was left untouched by the atrocity carried out in our midst. There are so many people who lost someone, or who knew friends, neighbours or colleagues who lost someone. 

But as clearly as we remember that, I know that we all remember something else as well. We all remember how, in the face of almost unbearable violence and tragedy, Manchester came together as never before. In the immediate aftermath of the attack, we saw people open the doors of their homes and businesses to offer a helping hand, without fear or favour, to men and women that they had never met before in their lives. We saw taxi drivers offering free rides and so many individuals queuing up to give blood that the hospitals had to turn some of them away. And, as always, we saw the incredible work of our emergency services, whose total willingness to put themselves in harm’s way was paid tribute to by both everybody at the scene, and in the report on the response to the attack that was published afterwards.

At a time where we could have so easily given in to grief and despair, a clear and unmistakable message was sent. A clear and unmistakable message that, when faced with the spectre of terror and hatred, Manchester will respond with the best values of our city and our country; respect, tolerance, love, unity and community. It is these values that will always provide us with the greatest response, and the greatest defence, to those who would wish to do us harm.

Tameside has played its full part in that task. Since September last year, Ashton Old Baths has hosted a hub of mental health advice and support for those affected by the attack. To ensure that there is no interference with the tributes and memorials being held across Greater Manchester to commemorate the anniversary of the bombing, we have also made the decision to move May’s meeting of Full Council, which would normally be held on a Tuesday, to this evening instead. On the day itself, we will be holding a minute’s silence on the steps of Dukinfield Town Hall at 2:30pm, led by the Civic Mayor Denise Ward. I encourage anybody who wishes to show Tameside’s support and solidarity to join us there.

We also need to remain vigilant against those who would seek to sow division and hatred within our communities. The Council’s website contains a comprehensive page at, https://www.tameside.gov.uk/hatecrime, explaining what constitutes a hate incident or hate crime, and how you can report it. Whether you’re a victim or a witness to a hate crime, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. Hatred thrives where it goes unreported and unchallenged, and I have no intention of allowing that to happen here in Tameside.

As we remember what happened last year, it falls to us to continue to promote and defend the values that we saw given form on Monday 22nd May 2017. Then, now, and in the future, we stand together with the rest of Manchester and its people.

 

Posted by: Executive Leader


Investing in Tameside's Future

Friday, 11 May 2018

What does the word “work” mean to you? A hundred years or so ago, people in Tameside would have probably thought of the mine, the mill, or some other landmark of our shared industrial past. Nowadays, in our service-dominated economy, it’s more likely to be the office block, the supermarket, the care home or the call centre that would spring to mind first. Ask five different people what work will look like in the next hundred years and you’ll probably get six answers, but all of them will agree that it will be as different to us as our world of work would be to our predecessors.

That isn’t just a thought exercise. At a time of profound crisis in Britain; with inequality continuing to rise inexorably and wage growth at its lowest levels for 200 years, now more than ever we need to think seriously about work. Where it is, how much it pays, and how it needs to change.

It’s for that reason that a piece of research published by the Centre for Cities last week is so valuable. The research, commissioned by the BBC, investigates weekly wage rates in cities and towns with an urban area of over 135,000 or more people across the UK. Perhaps unsurprisingly, most of the places that pay above the going rate are concentrated in the South East, with the worst-paying areas clustered around the North of England. However, there are a few outliers that show this isn’t necessarily inevitable. Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Derby are beacons of high pay outside of the capital and its surroundings, having successfully carved out their own niches providing high-quality, high-paid jobs in finance, natural resources and engineering respectively.

In many cases, you can be paid different amounts for the same work depending on where you are in the country. People in what the report calls “sales and customer service occupations” can expect to earn almost £150 a week more in Crawley than they would in Wigan, while “senior managers and directors” make double the money in London than they’d make in Southend, 40 miles down the road. While differences in cost of living can shrink the gap a bit, the fact remains that over the past decade, the towns and cities that can offer the best wages and opportunities have seen the largest growth in working age (16-64) population. By contrast, towns that cannot offer the same wages and opportunities have been left to wither on the vine, sparking off a vicious circle of depopulation and further reduction of opportunities leading to more depopulation. Is it any wonder that people in the likes of Birkenhead, Barnsley and Burnley sometimes feel like they’ve left behind? 
So what does that mean for councils like us? Clearly it is yet another argument against the damage that austerity has wrought, and reversing it would allow investment, both public and private, to be directed to where it is most needed once again. But that runs the risk of downplaying the power that councils have in encouraging growth and opportunity right here and now.

That’s why, like Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Derby, we’re looking to carve out our own niche, leveraging projects like Vision Tameside and Ashton Old Baths to turn the borough into the hub for learning and jobs in digital and high-tech industries in Greater Manchester, if not the entire North of England. Add to that the environmental improvements we’re making in this year’s Budget and our innovative plans for integrating health and social care, and we’re thinking clearly about how the jobs and investment we want to attract will feed into our wider plan for Tameside. We’re making the borough a place where people, whether they already live here or have come in from elsewhere, can build a career, a life and pride in their communities.

As we move on from the local elections, let us renew and recommit to our promise to Tameside. Not just transforming our present, but securing our future as well.

 

Posted by: Executive Leader


Local Elections in Tameside

Friday, 04 May 2018

The eyes of Tameside turned to Dukinfield yesterday night as the votes were verified and counted for the 2018 Local Elections. By about 1:30am this morning, we knew the names and the faces of the people who would be helping to guide Tameside and its residents through the next twelve months.

As is usually the case at local elections, it was a time for fond farewells and warm welcomes. My sincerest thanks and best wishes for the future go out to the six councillors who left us this election; four of whom chose to retire and two of whom were unsuccessful in their campaigns. Altogether, they amassed almost half a century of combined service as councillors, and I know that their experience and personality will be greatly missed in the council chamber, at committee meetings and in their wards at large.

I offer my congratulations as well to the six new councillors who were elected last night, and the 13 who were successful in holding their seats. I know that no one can expect to be elected to a council seat unless their desire and determination to do their very best for their communities and residents is apparent to all. I fully expect that all those elected will serve their wards with pride, and I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead.

Thanks are also in order to the people that toiled from early morning to the dead of night to make sure that the whole local election day ran like clockwork. That includes the many council staff who manned the borough’s 98 polling stations and Dukinfield Town Hall where the count was held, the police who ensured that the election could be run in safety and order, and the volunteers who contributed their time and labour to all parts of the election process. Anybody who has ever been involved in an election at any level, especially in a counting centre when the votes come in, knows just how frenetic an environment it can seem to be at times, but this silent army of public sector workers and volunteers made sure that everything happened where, when and how it had to with the utmost efficiency and professionalism.

On a personal note, although I’ve been an elected councillor for 16 years, this was my first local election since I was elected to the role of Leader of Tameside Council at the end of January. In my years as a councillor, and later an Executive Member, I’ve always seen elections of any kind as an opportunity to renew and recommit to our promises to those that we represent. This one is no different. We can now go forward confident that we have a mandate from the people of Tameside to deliver on our priorities for the year.

Amongst the many areas that we’ll be working on; we will continue with our project to revolutionise the local economy through Vision Tameside, and setting aright that particular ship after the collapse of Carillion in January. We will push ahead with our plans to improve the private rented sector in the borough, an ambition that, even at this early stage, has received interest and support from both tenants and landlords. We will take the next step in our pioneering work to integrate together health and social care. We will also never lose sight of the day-to-day issues that matter to our residents, such as dealing with fly-tipping, anti-social behaviour and potholes on our streets, and securing new investments for our towns through initiatives like the Stalybridge Town Centre Challenge. 

The challenges we face are great, but the ability and desire of Tameside to overcome them is greater still. As we move on from the local elections this year, let us face what needs to be done together.

 

Posted by: Executive Leader


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