Make GP clusters an opportunity for Saddleworth say Liberal Democrats

Borough news, Campaigns
Saddleworth Liberal Democrats have called on Oldham council and the NHS Oldham Clinical Commissioning group to work together to enhance Primary care health services in Saddleworth Liberal Democrat Councillor for Saddleworth North, Garth Harkness, said: “The NHS Oldham Clinical Commissioning group in Oldham are splitting the GP surgeries into clusters. Saddleworth would be in cluster 4 which would see it linked in with some practices in East Oldham.” John Eccles, Liberal Democrat campaigner, said: “The Cluster that Saddleworth sits in has nearly 55,000 patients. Saddleworth Medical Practice has the most patients. The staff are great  but it is bursting at the seams. The Clinical Commissioning groups should look at Saddleworth as the place to host more specialist services and provide a new larger health centre.” Councillor Garth Harkness added: “We…
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Out on a limb – Metrolink zone proposal will cost Oldham, Shaw and Crompton residents more!

Borough news, Campaigns
The Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Oldham Council, Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, has urged caution re the recent announcement by the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham that he intends to introduce a zonal charging policy on the Metrolink tram system from next year. The Greater Manchester tram network will be split into four zones, with passengers charged one fare for travel within a single zone and a different fare for travelling across one or more zones. Shaw and Crompton is in Zone 4, whilst all of the remaining stations in the Borough will be in Zone 3. Derker is on the boundary. “This is just barmy,” stated Councillor Sykes. “Common sense says that Shaw and Crompton should be in the same zone…
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Liberal Democrats back moves to curb addictive gambling

Campaigns, Parliamentary news
The Oldham Liberal Democrat Group has welcomed news that a move to cut the maximum stake on addictive gambling machines from £100 to £2 that could be announced soon. The government is understood to have accepted recommendations that stakes for Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) should be reduced to £2, and a final announcement is expected shortly now the local elections are over. Commenting, Leader of the Opposition and of the Oldham Liberal Democrat Group, Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, said: “Bringing the stakes down to £2 would help prevent vulnerable players from losing £100 in seconds in a single play, which many people simply cannot afford to lose.  It is an issue that Liberal Democrats have been campaigning on for a while now, and we back Government action being taken on…
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Liberal Democrats back real help for the homeless

Borough news, Campaigns, Parliamentary news
The Oldham Liberal Democrats are backing real help for the homeless and those applicants who remain stuck on housing waiting lists. Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, Leader of the Oldham Liberal Democrat Group and Leader of the Opposition on Oldham Council, has recently discussed the matter at the party’s spring conference in Southport where housing policy was debated. Commenting, he said:  “I am pleased to report that Liberal Democrat councillors successfully tabled a motion that was accepted by conference as party policy allowing Councils to be able to scrap the ‘right to buy’ and the housing borrowing cap.” Councillor Sykes added: “Scrapping the automatic ‘right to buy’ will mean that no more council and housing association properties will be sold.  Scrapping the housing borrowing cap will mean that Councils can borrow…
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Let no primary school child go hungry, say Liberal Democrats

Borough news, Campaigns
The Leader of the Opposition and of the Oldham Liberal Democrat Group, Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, has contrasted the recent attempt by the Conservative Government to curtail the entitlement to free school meals from children from the country’s poorest families to his own party’s policy. Councillor Sykes said: “The Conservatives seem to be on their own in wanting to change the rules to prevent children from households receiving Universal Credit from getting a free hot meal at school every day.  This would hit Oldham especially hard as Oldham Borough has the single greatest number of Universal Credit recipients in the UK.  Many of these will be parents with children and, as I highlighted in a question to the Council leader at our last full Council meeting (28 March), Oldham features…
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Liberal Democrats call for Oldham to become a plastic-free borough

Borough news, Campaigns
Liberal Democrat Shadow Cabinet Member for Housing, Transport and Planning Councillor Dave Murphy will be proposing a motion at the next full meeting of Oldham Council (Wednesday, 28 March) calling for Oldham to become a single use plastic-free Borough. Councillor Murphy said: “300 million tons of new plastic is made across the world every year, around half of this is turned into billions of items, such as drinking straws, cups and utensils that are used once and discarded.  Much of this waste goes to landfill, more sadly still some of it ends up in our oceans.” “I think all of us will have been shocked by the recent images on our televisions and on social media of the world’s oceans being smothered by discarded plastic and sea birds and mammals…
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Oldham Liberal Democrats call for ban on new hot food takeaways near schools to help curb childhood obesity

Borough news, Campaigns
Crompton Liberal Democrat Councillor Diane Williamson will be proposing a motion to the next full meeting of Oldham Council (Wednesday 28 March) calling for Oldham Council to prohibit new hot food takeaways within 400 metres of schools and is appealing to the Borough’s schools to apply a ‘stay-on-site’ policy at lunchtimes and ban takeaway deliveries to school gates.   In October 2017, the medical journal, The Lancet, reported that one in every ten young people, aged 5 to 19, in the UK was classed as obese. In Oldham, the situation is even worse. The Public Health England profile for the Borough, published July 2017, reported that one in five, 21.9%, of children at Year 6 were classed as obese. Commenting, Councillor Williamson said: “Childhood obesity has risen to epic proportions…
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Liberal Democrat Leader dismayed by smoking increase

Campaigns
The Leader of the Opposition and Liberal Democrat Group, Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, has expressed his dismay at the latest report showing an increase in smokers in Oldham Borough. The latest GP Patient Survey, run independently by Ipsos MORI on behalf of NHS England, which has just been published shows that the proportion of smokers in Oldham rose from 17pc to 19pc between 2015/16 and 2016/17.  The Greater Manchester average is 17.5pc. Councillor Sykes said: “These figures are shocking.  A two percent rise is a move in the wrong direction, we should be seeing a decrease in smoking not and increase - it is simply not good enough.” “Smoking is known to be one of the biggest killers in our Borough and also blights the lives of many more of…
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Fighting Labour’s land grab

Campaigns
Liberal Democrat Councillors Alan Belmore, Garth Harkness and John McCann warn that Saddleworth is at major risk from massive over-development of open spaces for housing under Labour’s plans in their Greater Manchester Spatial Framework.  LABOUR’S LAND GRAB is in two phases. PHASE 1: large strategic sites like Fletcher’s Mill and neighbouring Green Belt PHASE 2 : dozens of local sites that have been offered by landowners for development and profit across Saddleworth for up to a total 1000 new houses.  Cllr Alan Belmore says “Local residents need to wake up to the massive threat to our Saddleworth villages before it is too late.” Many of these sites are in really sensitive open spaces and would have a devastating effect on our local communities if developed.  “We think that most new houses…
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