Liberal Democrat Opposition Leader councillor Howard Sykes MBE has hit out at Oldham council’s Labour leadership after they voted down vital cash-injections, set out by the Liberal Democrats for safer streets, road maintenance, children’s social care and district funding.
Councillor Sykes said, “We have a Labour controlled council which fails to get the basics right on road safety and maintenance, environmental crime and cleaning up our green spaces. Time and again, they choose to prioritise vanity projects in Oldham Town Centre at the expense of fairer funding for all our districts and communities across Oldham Borough.”
Speaking after the Liberal Democrat plan was rejected by an alliance of Labour and Independent councillors, Sykes said, “Our Liberal Democrat proposals would have prioritised the things that residents want to see from the council. We’ve gotten used to this Labour administration voting down our ideas. It was extremely disappointing to see the so-called Independents vote down money which would have been used right in the heart of our local communities.”
At the budget setting meeting on March 1, councillors also debated proposals from the Conservative Group which drew criticism for proposed cuts to district grants – the funding that is given to each ward in Oldham for localised projects. The Conservative Group was split and divided on its own budget proposals, with Councillor Barnes (Con) deciding to abstain on his own party’s plans, after a series of blistering interventions from Liberal Democrat members.
Councillor Sykes, who represents Shaw, said, “It beggars’ belief that the Conservatives have tried to axe cash for things like Remembrance Sunday events, Christmas lights and even Royal occasions like the Jubilee.”
“How Conservative councillors will be able to look the people they represent in the eye after this is beyond me.”
The Conservative amendment failed to pass, with Liberal Democrat councillors voting against.