Response from Department of Education to Lib Dem motion on age-appropriate sex and relationships education

At the Full Council Meeting on 30th March, the Liberal Democrat Group moved a motion calling for the government to provide appropriate support to schools to deliver age-appropriate, LGBT-inclusive, comprehensive relationships education (in primary schools) and sex and relationships education (in secondary schools).

The council have now heard back from the Department for Education. Whilst they are not committing to all of the things we called for – for example, ensuring faith schools and academies deliver this to a common standard – they do set out the government’s current thinking in this area.

The message is attached below.

Correspondence received from the Department for Education 30th-Mar-2017 18.00 Council Meeting

Stockport Lib Dems bring Vince Cable to visit Stepping Hill Hospital

Mark Hunter & Lisa Smart bring Vince Cable to Stepping Hill Hospital to see the pressure our local health services face

Liberal Democrats have called for a 1p rise in income tax to properly fund our NHS and provide the services we need.

Stockport Liberal Democrat Councillors Mark Hunter & Lisa Smart brought Vince Cable to Stepping Hill hospital at the weekend to find out first hand from NHS staff about the pressures they face. Lisa, Mark and Vince toured the A&E, Acute Medical & Surgical Units at the hospital where Lisa and Mark previously led the campaign against ward closures by delivering 6,000 petition signatures from local residents and delivering them to No. 10 Downing Street.

Commenting, Lisa Smart said: “I am always in awe of the amazing work our health professionals do and it’s such a privilege to be able to hear from them first hand. However, it’s clear from the pressures they are under that the NHS is struggling to provide the services we expect without additional funding. That’s why I and the Liberal Democrats are campaigning for an additional penny on income tax so that the NHS can continue to provide the level of service that we need.”

Mark Hunter added: “I am pleased we have had the opportunity to show the Party Leader around our local hospital where so much good work is happening despite the financial challenges they face.”

Vince Cable, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, added: “It was an honour to meet so many dedicated professionals at Stepping Hill who are doing a terrific job despite the very difficult financial circumstances the NHS is in. The Liberal Democrats are the only party willing to have an honest conversation with the British public about the level of funding the NHS requires.”

Vince added; “Local residents are lucky to have such determined campaigners as Lisa Smart and Mark Hunter standing up for local services such as Stepping Hill hospital and putting local people’s needs first.”

Lib Dem Council Motion calls for Police 101 Action

Stockport Liberal Democrats will call for action to make it easier to report non-emergency crimes in a motion at Stockport Full Council on Thursday. If passed, the motion will see Stockport Council writing to Mayor Andy Burnham, who is responsible for policing in Greater Manchester, calling for a review into how the system can be improved.

Cllr Iain Roberts, proposing the motion, said “Every week I am contacted by residents who have witnessed crimes or even been the victim of crime, but have not been able to report it. In 2017 it can’t be right that our only option for reporting non-emergency crimes is to call 101 and wait on the phone – sometimes for an hour or more. As the person in charge of Greater Manchester Police, Andy Burnham needs to get a grip on this.”

Greater Manchester Police’s own figures show that 23% of 101 calls were abandoned in June of this year, up from 17% in May.

Cllr Mark Weldon, who is seconding the motion, said “Every call that the Police are unable to answer is a crime that goes unreported and intelligence that the Police miss out on.”

One in two areas in North West, including Stockport, to see cuts to pupil funding this year

One in two areas in the North West will see school spending per pupil fall this year in real terms, analysis of government figures by the Liberal Democrats has found.

  • 11 of 23 local authorities in the North West will see per pupil funding fall in real terms (i.e. once inflation is taken into account) during 2017-18.
  • Local authorities hardest hit by the cuts include Blackpool (losing £93 per pupil), Salford (£84 per pupil) and Bolton (£78 per pupil)
  • Stockport will see a real-terms cut of £18 per pupil.

Layla Moran MP, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson, commented:

“Conservative school cuts are putting the futures of young people across the North West at risk.

“After the election the government promised to protect per pupil funding, but these figures show many areas are still set to lose out in real terms.

“We need an education system that broadens young people’s horizons and equips them with the skills they need to be part of the workforce of the future. This is something our government should be proud to invest in.

“Instead we are seeing school spending slashed, resulting in a narrowing curriculum and in dedicated, hardworking teachers being forced out of the profession they love.

“Ministers must urgently reverse these damaging cuts and invest to protect school budgets in real-terms.”

Motion calling for lifting the public sector pay cap passed by Stockport Council

Stockport’s Liberal Democrats were delighted to see their motion calling for a lifting of the public sector pay cap gain support at last night’s council meeting.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Mark Hunter, Leader of the Lib Dem Group at Stockport Town Hall and presenter of the motion, said: “An overwhelming majority of councillors voted to accept our motion, which called for the public sector pay cap to be lifted and for the costs associated to be met by government.

“With public services facing a recruitment crisis and public sector workers seeing their real wages slipping as inflation increases, we have sent a message to government that they need to act now to support our nurses, police, fire fighters, local government employees and the others we all depend upon each day to keep our country running.

“Despite their own Prime Minister indicating movement on this in recent days, it was very disappointing to see that the local Conservative councillors failed to support our motion and, indeed, spoke out against our proposals to give public sector workers a fair deal.”

Championing bisexual awareness

Stockport Liberal Democrats are working to ensure that the needs of bisexual employees and residents are reflected in council training and that the annual Bi Visibility Day is marked by flying the bisexual pride flag and by lighting up the town hall in its pink, purple and blue colours.

Cllr Lisa Smart, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Stockport Council, is delighted to propose a motion to this effect at the next Full Council meeting, written with support from members of BiPhoria, Manchester.

Cllr Smart, said, “As a society, we have definitely made progress on LGBT+ Equality over the past few decades but there is still a distance to travel.  On Thursday evening we will be talking about the barriers still faced by those members of our community who are bisexual.

“More than one in four bisexual employees hide their sexuality at work, compared with one in six among gay and lesbian employees. Bisexual people are more likely to experience mental health problems in general and are twice as likely to experience depression and/or anxiety.

“Often in the council chamber we can have robust debates and strong disagreements about issues. My hope is that we can unite and come together to support the bisexual members of our community, take some steps to celebrate the bisexual community and let them know that they are valued in Stockport.”

In the photograph below are Cllrs Lisa Smart and Mark Hunter along with Jen Yockney MBE, who received her honour for services to the bisexual community, with other Liberal Democrats, all holding the bisexual pride flag.