No housing for social rent built in Oldham for seven years

No housing for social rent built in Oldham for seven years

Borough news, housing and development
After Oldham Council has accepted that no houses have been built for social rent in the borough in the last seven years, Shadow Cabinet Member for Housing Sam Al-Hamdani called it ‘a betrayal of the needs of the poor, and the Government’s claims about levelling up’. He said: “When people talk about what is needed in Oldham, they want housing that people can afford. Unfortunately, the Government has hijacked the term ‘affordable housing’, which they have defined as anything that is rented or sold at 20% below the market rate for that area. “What most people actually want to see more of are the homes defined as for ‘social rent’, in Government language, which in Oldham would normally be at around 50% of the market rate, and which is retained…
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Protections for cash machines announced in Queen’s Speech

Protections for cash machines announced in Queen’s Speech

Borough news, Parliamentary news
Oldham Liberal Democrat Group Leader and Shaw councillor, Howard Sykes MBE has been campaigning against cash machine closures in recent years and has welcomed the recent Queen’s Speech announcement about cash machines (ATMs). According to analysis from consumer researchers at ‘Which?’, since 2015, almost half of the UK’s bank branch network has closed. In addition, a further 12,178 free-to-use cash machines have vanished since 2018. During yesterday’s Queen’s Speech, the government pledged to introduce a Financial Services and Markets Bill, which will contain measures to protect cash machines and keep them readily available to businesses and members of the public. “Access to cash is vital for businesses and individuals, even in today’s environment where so many transactions are cashless. We have already lost several cash machines in Shaw and Crompton.…
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Making democracy more accessible

Making democracy more accessible

Borough news, fairer council
Oldham Council chief executive Harry Catherall has agreed to a review of the arrangements for the counting of the election vote next year to ensure that all is being done to ensure it is accessible for people with varying disabilities. After local Liberal Democrat Councillor Sam Al-Hamdani wrote to him following this year’s count, highlighting some of the positive aspects, but also some of the weaknesses, he agreed to discuss what could be done next year to make it better. Sam said: “We want as many people as possible to be involved in politics, whether that is increasing the numbers of people voting, or making it easier for people to stand to be elected. “Making the process more accessible is just one of those steps.” Unlike many other counts, results…
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Liberal Democrat leadership team pledged to be Real Opposition to Labour on Oldham Council

Liberal Democrat leadership team pledged to be Real Opposition to Labour on Oldham Council

Borough news, environment, fairer council, road safety
At a Group meeting held on 7 May, the Oldham Borough Liberal Democrat Group elected councillor Howard Sykes MBE as their Leader and councillor Chris Gloster as their Deputy Leader. Councillor Howard Sykes said: “I am grateful once more to my colleagues for their support for my work as Group Leader and delighted that Chris will continue to serve as my Deputy. It was great to welcome newly elected councillor Alicia Marland from Saddleworth West and Lees to the team, and to welcome Dave Murphy and Hazel Gloster back for Crompton and Shaw Wards. After Friday’s results, the Liberal Democrats are up one to nine councillors and I know that all of us will continue to make a difference.” “Liberal Democrats will be the only real opposition party holding Labour…
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Liberal Democrats housing lead takes fight on HMOs and brownfield to Minister

Liberal Democrats housing lead takes fight on HMOs and brownfield to Minister

Borough news, housing and development
The fight against low-quality HMOs and for more brownfield development has been raised with the Minister for Housing Stuart Andrew MP by local Liberal Democrat Shadow Cabinet Member Sam Al-Hamdani. He said: “We keep seeing HMOs appearing on our streets, many of them using the loophole that allows smaller ones to bypass the planning system altogether. Too often they are terribly low quality, crammed in to make the most money out of the smallest space. “At the other extreme, we keep seeing developers pushing for more and more four- and five-bedroom developments on green spaces. Councils rarely get the financial support to drive brownfield development, and have little or no legal powers to force development to take place on brownfield first.” Councillor Al-Hamdani wrote to the Housing Minister to demand…
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Ban water company bosses’ bonuses until sewage discharges end say local Liberal Democrats

Ban water company bosses’ bonuses until sewage discharges end say local Liberal Democrats

Borough news, environment, health and social care, Parliamentary news
Water company bosses were awarded £27 million in bonuses while pumping raw sewage into England’s waterways over 1,000 times a day. Oldham Liberal Democrats demand a “sewage bonus ban” to ban future bonuses until sewage dumps stop. England’s water company bosses have awarded themselves almost £27 million in bonuses over the past two years despite pumping out raw sewage into waterways 1,000 times a day, the Liberal Democrats have revealed. Analysis of Companies House records by the Liberal Democrats shows that executives at England’s water and sewage companies were paid £48 million in 2020 and 2021, including £27.6 million in bonuses, benefits and incentives. The eye-watering executive pay packets and company profits were made despite the Environment Agency reporting nearly 772,000 sewage dumping events taking place in 2020 and 2021…
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Anger as Shaw residents wait years for working speed signs despite the cash having been found

Borough news, road safety
Shaw councillor, Howard Sykes MBE hit out at council complacency today as he called the wait for replacement Vehicle Activated Speed (VAS) signs on Buckstones Road, Shaw “an absolute disgrace”. Councillor Sykes said, “Speeding on Buckstones Road is a huge concern for Shaw residents. These signs have been faulty many years. More than two years ago cash found to replace them and yet the council are still not getting the basic jobs done, like this. Meanwhile, drivers, horse riders, walkers, church goers and children in Shaw are left with an unnecessarily dangerous road. Lives are at risk or injury every week these sign are delayed.” When in operation, VAS signs have proven to be a cost-effective way to tackle speeding in areas where speed cameras have been refused like Buckstones…
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Figures reveal Conservatives breaking police pledge as recruitment stalls

Figures reveal Conservatives breaking police pledge as recruitment stalls

Borough news, Parliamentary news
The Liberal Democrats have slammed the Conservatives for being soft on crime, as new official figures show they are failing on their manifesto pledge to recruit 20,000 more police officers. A total of 4,814 extra officers were recruited in the second year of the uplift, well short of the Government’s 6,000 target. It means the recruitment rate would have to increase by a third, to 6,424 extra officers in the final year of the policy to meet the target of 20,000 by March 2023. Senior police chiefs are starting to warn that the target won’t be met. Acting Met Commissioner Stephen House told MPs last week that “We are experiencing issues in the Met and I think other large forces are starting to experience recruiting challenges.” Responding to the figures,…
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Ed Davey demands rural cost of living rescue package including heating oil price cap

Ed Davey demands rural cost of living rescue package including heating oil price cap

Borough news, Parliamentary news
Lib Dems call for rescue package for struggling families in rural areasConservatives accused of leaving rural communities “out in the cold” after refusing to cap price of heating oilTop 25 areas most reliant on heating oil revealed The Liberal Democrats have demanded a rural cost of living rescue package, including a cap on heating oil prices to help struggling families off the gas grid. The party warned that the Conservatives are leaving rural communities “out in the cold” by refusing to help with soaring bills. Rural communities are bearing the brunt of the cost of living crisis with soaring heating bills, petrol prices and food costs all hitting struggling families. The rural cost of living rescue package would include a cap on heating oil costs to support the estimated 1.5…
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Changes to bus services for Oldham, Shaw, and Crompton from Sunday 24 April

Changes to bus services for Oldham, Shaw, and Crompton from Sunday 24 April

Borough news
Significant changes to bus services across Oldham are due to come into effect from Sunday 24 April. The alterations are claimed to improve connectivity with a focus on improving access to the Metrolink whilst adding more evening and Sunday bus services. Oldham’s Liberal Democrat Leader and Shaw councillor Howard Sykes MBE said, “It’s important that residents have access to public transport. With the cost-of-living crisis affecting people right across our community, more of us are turning to public transport as a way of keeping costs down. I give a cautious welcome to the introduction of new services covering Shaw and Crompton and I’m pleased that residents will benefit from extended service hours and weekend services.” “The loss of the 408 will impact on some people but there are at least…
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