At its meeting last night, Stockport Council unanimously backed a Liberal Democrat initiative to do more to support carers.
Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Lisa Smart, Deputy Leader of the Lib Dems at Stockport Town Hall and parliamentary spokesperson for Hazel Grove constituency, said: “I was delighted to be able to draw attention to the needs of carers, who perform an invaluable role in our society but whose own needs too often go unrecognised. The council will now lobby the government to raise Carer’s Allowance by £20 a week immediately, in line with the increase in Universal Credit.
“More locally, the Cabinet have been tasked with reviewing what more the council can do to support carers and move towards being a Carer Friendly Borough. I await with interest their report, which is due to come to the relevant council committees in April.”
‘Urgent action’ was demanded last night by Stockport Liberal Democrat councillors to improve the performance of Greater Manchester Police (GMP). Highlighting the recent damning report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) which placed GMP in special measures, the Lib Dems condemned the lack of urgency in tackling the problems by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and the elected Mayor.
The HMIC report found that some 80,000 crimes had gone unreported across Greater Manchester in a single year and that reports of domestic violence being ignored were of particular concern.
Criticising the absence of any immediate scrutiny of the failings, Lib Dem Group Leader at the Town Hall – Cllr Mark Hunter – pointed out that the last meeting of the GMCA Police & Crime Panel had been held in mid-November and the next was not scheduled to take place until the end of January. Cllr Hunter said the delay in even considering such an important matter was completely unacceptable and pressed for an urgent action plan.
“This is a failure of leadership at the very top and is no reflection of the excellent job done by thousands of police officers who put their lives on the line to protect us all on a daily basis, but this is a matter of great concern to local residents and the problems need to be properly addressed now,” Cllr Hunter commented.
Cllr Tom Morrison, the Lib Dem Shadow Cabinet spokesperson, added “We have invited the Deputy Mayor responsible for Policing, Baroness Bev Hughes, to join an extraordinary meeting of the Communities & Housing scrutiny committee so that questions can be asked of the GMCA’s approach which, frankly, has not been good enough so far.”
“Policing is far too important to be allowed to fail and a more robust strategy is required to restore the confidence of the general public. I hope that all political parties can work together on this and make sure GMP is well supported and well run,” concluded Cllr Hunter.
Stockport Council’s Liberal Democrats have tabled a motion for the council meeting this Thursday which calls for more support for carers.
Speaking ahead of the meeting, Cllr Lisa Smart, deputy leader of the Lib Dems at Stockport town hall and parliamentary spokesperson for Hazel Grove constituency, said: “As part of our national campaign, Liberal Democrats are calling on the government to raise the Carer’s Allowance by £20 per week, in line with the increase in Universal Credit. More locally, we are calling on the council’s cabinet to review how we support carers and what can be done to make Stockport a Carer Friendly Borough.”
Cllr Keith Holloway, Lib Dem spokesperson for health and adult social care, added: “Carers play a vital role in our community yet they are too often taken for granted and their own needs overlooked. We are calling on the council to act to put this right by looking at what more we can do locally to support them, as well as calling on the government to increase the allowance they pay this largely undervalued group.”
The motion being debated can be accessed below:
Cllr Tom Morrison, the Lib Dem spokesperson for Inclusive Neighbourhoods, has called for a special meeting to go through the issues raised by damning report into Greater Manchester Police, by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS).
The report, which found over 80,000 crimes in 12 months went unrecorded, stated that Greater Manchester Police was one of the worst forces in the country.
Since then, GMP has been placed into special measures and the Chief Constable has resigned.
Stockport Liberal Democrats have now requested an extraordinary meeting of the Communities & Housing Scrutiny Committee be organised, to which the Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester, the person with responsibility over policing, is invited to answer questions.
Cllr Tom Morrison said, “This is a full blown crisis and people across Stockport deserve answers on what has happened and what plans are in place to make sure Greater Manchester gets the police force it deserves.
“GMP’s police officers and frontline staff have done an incredible job of keeping our communities safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it appears there has been a real failure at a senior and political level, which has meant victims of crime are not getting the justice they deserve.
“This cannot carry on, and it is only right that the Deputy Mayor comes and explains to councillors what is happening and how she is ensuring a vast improvement is going to happen.”
Reacting to the news that Greater Manchester Police have been put into special measures by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services, Cllr Mark Hunter, Leader of the Liberal Democrats at Stockport Town Hall, said:
“Whilst we all have faith in our local policing teams, who literally put their lives on the line for our communities each day, the news that Greater Manchester Police have been put in special measures is truly shocking and an indictment of both the political leadership of the Greater Manchester Mayor and the Deputy responsible for policing and the professional leadership of senior officers.
“This is only the second time a police force has ever faced such an intervention, and it only happens because HM Inspectorate believe a force is not responding to or failing to manage a cause of concern. Urgent action is needed to rectify what has been a struggling service for some years now, exacerbated by a failing new IT system which is still not functioning correctly almost 18 months after launch.
“I look forward to a clear statement from the Mayor of how he intends to turn this situation around.”
At a dramatic extraordinary meeting of Stockport Council, Councillors voted not to proceed with the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF) in its current form by 35 votes to 26.
Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Mark Hunter, Leader of the Liberal Democrats at Stockport Town Hall, said: “Finally other groups have joined with the Lib Dems and voted down GMSF, which has caused immense concern for local residents for several years, threatening the Green Belt and open spaces across the borough in the process.
“We have been arguing for a focus on Stockport’s own Local Plan for over four years now and we have until the end of 2023 to develop a plan that is robust but protects the green spaces our residents care about. We are not opposed to working with our Greater Manchester neighbours and other political parties to make a success of a new strategy. Urgent work is now needed to ensure that the Labour administration act to protect our borough from developers who want to simply concrete over the Green Belt.
“This is a clear victory for common sense and many residents will share our relief that these unloved plans have been rejected.”