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Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington

Leader's Blog  

Councillor Brenda Warrington, Executive Leader of Tameside Council

Building a Tameside Fit for the Future

Friday, 11 October 2019

On Tuesday we held the latest Full Council session of 2019 in the familiar surroundings of Guardsman Tony Downes House in Droylsden.

As the 31st October deadline for Britain’s exit from the European Union draws closer, it is becoming clear that we are standing on the precipice of a fundamental and transformational shift as a country. No matter what our individual views on Brexit, it is likely that the Britain that emerges after the next few months is going to look very different to what came before.  This week’s meeting gave us an opportunity to begin preparations to ensure that, when the winds of change come, places like Tameside will be able to make sure that change is for the better, for all of us.

An essential part of this is guaranteeing that, come what may, we can continue to deliver and improve the vital day-to-day services that our residents depend upon. I talked in my blog last week about Tameside Council receiving formal recognition as a Co-Operative Council. Not only does this commit us to the values and principles of the wider co-operative movement, it compels us to build on the projects we have that already showcase those values and principles. This includes the Tameside Digital Infrastructure Cooperative, which brings together the public and private sector to create and share new digital infrastructure, and mutual understanding and support between local residents and our armed services community through the Tameside Armed Services Covenant. I also reiterated our support for the Local Government Association’s “Councils Can” campaign, and how I believe it can be the beginning of a wider conversation about the relationship between Whitehall and town halls. This means putting an end to austerity once and for all, and then unleashing the potential in local authorities up and down the country by making the case for devolution in England that, at the very least, matches the powers given to the Scottish government.

I think it’s important to highlight that the winds of change are blowing at a Greater Manchester level as well. At the beginning of this week I chaired a special meeting of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority to formally approve the launch of a public consultation on bringing our city region’s buses back under public control. The final goal, as laid out by the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, is the creation of a London-style bus network across our city region. This will mean more regular bus services, with more affordable fares, at a better cost for local taxpayers. It’s an idea whose time has come, and it’s an idea that could make a real difference to our residents and economy. The consultation is due to go live on 14th October, and I would encourage you all to make your voices heard.

Two motions were also discussed and passed unanimously. The first threw our support behind the abolition of Section 21 notices, which can be used (and abused) by landlords to evict tenants from their homes for no reason and with only two months’ notice. These “no fault evictions” are now the number one cause of homelessness in the country. A number of countries like Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden already have indefinite tenancies, and Scotland banned the use of no-fault evictions in 2017. The second motion called for the removal of the bedroom tax for care leavers, as well as extending their exemption from the shared rate of Local Housing Allowance until the age of 25. While I’d happily see the bedroom tax abolished completely, care leavers need our support right now to help them stand on their own two feet.

I’m sure I’m not the only person that has become increasingly dismayed at the chaos and cruelty that has entered our national politics in recent years.  I believe that it falls to us to show that there is another, better way,  putting our faith in our residents to secure a co-operative Tameside, a prosperous Tameside and a better Tameside for us all.


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