Lib Dems lead campaign to support local newspapers in Stockport

The Liberal Democrats are leading a cross-party campaign calling on the Government to support local and independent media through an increased share of public health communications spending.

Writing to the government, Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael had warned that although the “All in, All together” campaign had provided public health information as well as advertising revenue for major media groups, local press organisations and individual journalists had raised the Government’s lack of support for them.

In a letter to the Government, the cross-party campaign is calling for the Government to pledge a proportionate share of public health advertising spend to local press, meaning both a short-term boost to the Government’s public health communications as well as a long-term investment in protecting and maintaining local media across the United Kingdom.

Lisa Smart, Liberal Democrat Councillor in Stockport, said:

“Local journalism is an important part of the community across Stockport. Local outlets such as the Stockport Express and Manchester Evening News play a crucial role in not only keeping us all informed about the news in our area but they also are part of the fight against coronavirus.”

Tom Morrison, Liberal Democrat Councillor in Stockport, said:
“The Government must take action in pledging a proportionate share of public health advertising spend to local media. This will not only provide financial support to ensure these outlets don’t go under during this crisis, but step up the public information available to the public which is imperative to delaying the spread of the virus.”

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Lib Dems launch campaign for ‘Frontline Support Package’

The Liberal Democrats have launched a campaign calling for a ‘Frontline Support Package’, a five-point plan to give frontline workers the support they need and the recognition they deserve as they get us through this appalling coronavirus crisis.

Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey thanked the “army of workers protecting us” in hospitals, care homes and hospices and asked the Government to support these “coronavirus heroes” properly. The package proposed by the Liberal Democrats includes measures to scale up the procurement of PPE, a frontline service reward and a deployment allowance of £29 per day in line with the Operational Allowance Armed Forces personnel deployed to dangerous areas.

Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said: “In our hospitals, care homes, hospices and in the wider health and care sector, an army of workers are protecting us in this national struggle. Liberal Democrats believe the Government must support these coronavirus heroes properly.

“The top priority for frontline staff is protection. We should never ask our military to risk their lives without the proper kit, and we shouldn’t be leaving health and care workers without sufficient protective kit either. It is simply unacceptable that so many key workers do not have the equipment they need to protect them from coronavirus in the line of duty. The Government must do far more.”

Mark Hunter, Liberal Democrat Group Leader at Stockport Town Hall, added: “When the country emerges from this crisis, we must properly recognise those who were willing to serve and make a sacrifice, just as we do with military forces. The Government must look at creating a frontline service reward, similar to the deployment allowance frontline troops receive.

“Quietly, key workers on the frontline every day undertake acts of bravery both big and small, to save lives. Liberal Democrats are campaigning so they get the protection and support now – and get the recognition and thanks they deserve when the epidemic has passed.”

The Frontline Support Package proposed is as follows:

Protection – PPE kit for all key workers NOW. Ministers have had since January to sort out proper protective equipment for frontline staff, yet still too many workers aren’t getting safe protection. Bureaucracy is stopping manufacturers and importers getting more PPE to our NHS and social care staff. NHS procurement must be strengthened and Ministers should require delivery firms to support the army in their huge logistical effort to distribute kit.

Practical help – food deliveries, accommodation & transport. With NHS and care staff working long hours and worried about their own families, they deserve extra help and support with the practical things in life, if and when they need it during the pandemic. So, for example, the government could partner with more hotels to offer accommodation to key workers who are self-isolating or who have vulnerable people in their own households.

Frontline service reward – a new “frontline service reward” to recognise the risks frontline staff face. Just as military service personnel receive a deployment allowance of £29 per day on active duty, the same principle should apply to NHS and care staff putting themselves in danger during the coronavirus epidemic.

Bereavement and funeral support The NHS has a “death in service” scheme – but it is not as generous as the military’s and many key workers on the coronavirus frontline aren’t eligible. Ministers must ensure every NHS and care worker becomes eligible. The Government should fund it – and Ministers must agree to pay for all the funerals of key workers who died trying to protect others from Covid 19.

Coronavirus Service Medal All key workers on the coronavirus frontline should get recognition for the risks they have faced, with a new “Coronavirus Service Medal”. They are playing a major role to keep our country safe and it should be properly and formally recognised.

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Stockport Lib Dems call for Household Waste Recycling Centres to re-open

Stockport Liberal Democrats have today called for the Greater Manchester Combined Authority to urgently review its policy of temporary closure of all the local tip sites across the borough. With less regular normal refuse collection services currently operating, many residents are concerned about possible increases in fly tipping creating a health hazard. Local council tip sites in Stockport were a well used facility in the community but were closed overnight as a result of the Coronavirus lockdown.

Cllr Mark Hunter, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group at the Town Hall, said “We are calling for an urgent review of the tip closure decision. While the health and well-being of all staff members remains our first concern, other local authorities have been able to re-open their tips for public use and we believe that – with proper safeguarding measures in place – it should be possible for Stockport to do the same.

“This would be a massive boost for gardeners and those with additional household waste alike”.

Cllr Helen Foster-Grime, Shadow Cabinet member for services including waste collection, added: “Whilst we supported the decision to close the Household Waste Recycling centres as a temporary measure, it is now clear that the government’s lockdown is going to remain in place for some time to come and there has been ample opportunity for the contractors to find safe ways of operating our recycling centres, as is the case in other places such as Sheffield, and there has already been a huge rise in fly tipping across Greater Manchester.

“We call on the Combined Authority to re-open the Household Recycling Centres as a matter of urgency.”

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GREEN BIN COLLECTIONS

We have been advised that the Council are able to undertake a one-off collection of green bins.

They will provide a one-off collection of the green bin to make sure that they are all empty of food. This will ensure theycollect all waste food that has been put in the bins before the rounds were stopped.

Residents are advised to continue to put food waste in their black bin until further notice.

Residents are also asked to consider composting garden waste as we understand the Council will not be emptying the green bins again until the lockdown is over. Composting is also good for the planet as it reduces the number of carbon miles garden waste is transported.

The collection will be over the next three weeks dependent on the number of staff staying much the same as it is now.

If your collection day is a Monday then please put your green bin out on Monday 13th April

If your collection day is a Tuesday then please put your green bin out on Tuesday 14th April

If your collection day is a Wednesday then put your green bin out on Wednesday 22nd April

If your collection day is a Thursday then put your green bin out on Thursday 23rd April

If your collection day is a Friday then put your green bin out on Friday 1st May

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VICTORY IN FIGHT TO SAVE 375 BUS SERVICE

The Liberal Democrats are delighted to report that, following their hard-fought campaign, Transport for Greater Manchester have announced that the 375 bus service has been saved.

More than 3,600 people signed the Lib Dem petition to save the 375 service, showing just how important the bus is to so many local people. It is a lifeline for residents across our area, not least those in our borough’s most isolated community in Mellor.

Transport for Greater Manchester have found a way to save the full route, from Mellor to Stockport via Marple Bridge, Marple, Hawk Green, Bosden Farm, Hazel Grove, and Stepping Hill. The final parts of the formal legal process need to be completed, but a replacement for the 375 has been found.

Parliamentary campaigner Lisa Smart said: “This is fantastic news. Thank you to the thousands of people who signed the petition to save the 375. Communities across our area came together to make their voices heard – and I’m thrilled that we have been successful.”

Local campaigner Shan Alexander, who lives in Hawk Green and uses the service, added: “We’re so pleased that TfGM have listened to local residents and have found a way to save the full 375 route. The 375 really is a lifeline for many people. So many residents have told me that they rely on the service to do their shopping or get to the hospital, so I’m glad our campaign has been successful.”

Cllr Charles Gibson, who represents Hazel Grove, explained: “Over 3,600 people made it clear how important this bus service is. Thank you to everyone who joined our campaign to save the 375, we are so grateful to local schools, organisations, and individuals who helped make this possible.”

Cllr Malcolm Allan, who represents Mellor, commented: “This bus means so much to many people across our area. Keeping the 375 service will mean people can get to hospital appointments, to school, to college, and to do their shopping. A huge thank you to our local communities who fought tooth and nail alongside us, speaking to the press, sharing our petition, and holding public meetings.”

Local Offerton campaigner Oliver Harrison added: “I’m pleased that common sense has prevailed and the 375 service will remain active. So many people made their voices heard on this issue – thank you so much to everyone for fighting with us.”

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Fight goes on to save vital rural bus

Despite the cancellation of two important meetings to re-examine the decision to axe the 375 bus service, a route that serves several isolated communities in Stockport borough, local Liberal Democrats have vowed to keep on fighting to save it.

The 375 service is an essential lifeline for residents in many communities including Mellor, the area’s most rural village, taking them to Stepping Hill Hospital, shopping and to visit friends and family.

A large team of local campaigners and councillors, including Cllr Malcolm Allan in Marple, Shan Alexander in Hawk Green, Oliver Harrison in Offerton and Cllr Charles Gibson in Hazel Grove, have been working tirelessly to save the service. And the campaign is also backed by Parliamentary campaigner Lisa Smart, who has seen first-hand how essential the service is to people across the area.

She explained: “The 375 is the only bus to Stepping Hill hospital for people in Mellor, is a lifeline for those living in Hawk Green, provides essential transport to the Bosden Farm Estate in Offerton and is relied upon by people in Hazel Grove.

“Many people have no alternative available. The decision taken by the committee has been challenged but meetings about it have had to be cancelled because of the Coronavirus outbreak. We want the decision put on hold until it can be properly scrutinised.”

Shan Alexander, who lives in Hawk Green and uses the 375 service – one of the communities most badly affected by the move – added: “It is so short-sighted of members of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority committee who voted for it to end. We are passionate about saving the service and are so grateful to local schools, The Marple College, community groups and individuals who have made their voices heard on this.”

Her comments were backed by Cllr Charles Gibson in Hazel Grove, who said: “For more than 3,600 people to sign our petition, both online and on paper, since it was set up on 17th February is astonishing and just shows how important the 375 bus is to so many. Please sign and share the petition if you haven’t already.”

Local campaigner Oliver Harrison from Offerton explained: “An important scrutiny meeting was cancelled because of Covid-19 and now today’s meeting, but we can’t allow the decision to scrap the 375 service to stand. We hope that common sense will prevail and a decision will not be made until the current crisis is over.”

Finally, Cllr Malcolm Allan, who represents Mellor, commented: “I have spoken to and been contacted by people who have no other way to do their grocery shopping, visit friends, attend college or get to vital hospital appointments if this bus is axed.”

With the meetings that could have saved the bus service now cancelled it is more important than ever that people keep signing and sharing the petition at lisasmart.org.uk/save_the_375_bus

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