Stockport Liberal Democrats were proud once again to be the largest political presence at Stockport’s Annual Pride event in the Town Centre last Sunday.
Speaking after the event, Cllr Frankie Singleton, Cabinet Member with portfolio responsibilities including Equalities and Diversity, said: “Despite the threatening weather there was a great turnout to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community in the borough. I was really pleased to see such a high turnout from local groups and residents, but especially from my Liberal Democrat colleagues, all showing our support and enjoying such a friendly atmosphere.”
Cllr Jake Austin, organiser of the Liberal Democrat stall and presence on the day, added: “It was great to see so many people embracing Pride as an opportunity to stand up for their own identities and to demonstrate their support for and solidarity with others. Our stall had a poll asking passers-by to show how well the current government is addressing LGBTQ+ issues. The overwhelming response was that they are doing terribly, and so many people wanted to vote that we ran out of stickers! The day was a complete success and I really look forward to taking part again next year.”
The Stockport Lib Dem group will be out in force this Sunday in Stockport Town Centre for the town’s annual Pride celebration and parade. Last year the Lib Dems were the largest political presence at Stockport Pride, and we plan to continue the trend this year.
The Lib Dem stall has activities such as face painting, Lib Dem LGBTQ+ literature and a ‘have your say’ ballot box that will allow attendees to make comments and suggestions for the council on LGBTQ+ issues.
Speaking ahead of the event, Cllr Mark Hunter, Leader of the Council, said: “The group are looking forward to celebrating the LGBTQ+ community in the borough. I want to thank my colleagues who have organised our stall and all those who are taking part in what will be a great day.”
Portfolio Lead for Communities, Culture and Sport Cllr Frankie Singleton said: “ In what is a particularly challenging time for LGBTQ+ community, we stand with them against all forms of discrimination.”
A selection of pictures from group members at last year’s Pride event can be seen below.
Following the launch of a consultation which would see all of the ticket offices across Stockport closed, Liberal Democrats remain opposed to their closure and call on the government to think again.
Speaking after the train operators launched their consultation, Cllr Grace Baynham, Cabinet Member with responsibilities including transport, said: “We are dismayed by the proposal to close all ticket offices across Stockport. Ticket offices are a vital resource – they are were our residents can speak to someone for guidance with their travel plans, especially for those who don’t have easy access to the internet and other e-ticketing options. They are also the place people seeking wider assistance know that they can find a staff member, rather than searching across the various platforms of a station.
“The Lib Dems on Stockport Council successfully moved a motion opposing these proposals back in October last year. As a result we wrote to the Secretary of State, making clear our objections, and called various stakeholders to a Scrutiny meeting last November, but the government are still pressing ahead.
“We now urge residents to make their feelings known by responding to the consultation via www.northernrailway.co.uk/consultation-2023 or by writing to Transport Focus, the independent watchdog for transport users, at Freepost RTEH-XAGE-BYKZ, Transport Focus, PO Box 5594, Southend on Sea, SS1 9PZ, so that we can try to save all of our ticket offices.”
At this week’s meeting of Stockport’s Liberal Democrat Cabinet, a report was received from the Werneth Area Committee following a local scrutiny review they conducted into sewage discharges into rivers and waterways. The Cabinet welcomed this report and endorsed its findings and recommendations.
Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Lisa Smart, Parliamentary Spokesperson for Hazel Grove Constituency and Chair of the local review, said: “There are local people who want to swim in our rivers, who want to allow their children or pets to paddle in our rivers and they are simply not clean enough for that to be encouraged or for wildlife and nature to thrive. The state of local rivers and the situation being allowed to”persist where it is acceptable for water companies to pump sewage into them – as a norm rather than just as an exception – is a disgrace.
“National government must change the law to stop this and it must enforce the laws that already exist.”
Cllr Tom Morrison, Parliamentary Spokesperson for Cheadle Constituency and Councillor for Cheadle West and Gatley, added: “This is an issue that impacts Cheadle as well as Hazel Grove and we share the same concerns as our Liberal Democrat colleagues on the other side of the borough.
“Water companies should be transparent with the data about sewage pollution, and that includes letting local people know that their rivers aren’t safe to swim in and when there have been sewage outflow events locally. They need to invest, and invest quickly, in building a water system that is fit for today.”
At the meeting the Cabinet welcomed the report and fully endorsed its findings and recommendations.
As part of their budget proposals in February 2023, the Liberal Democrat administration at Stockport Town Hall promised to deliver additional Free School Meals over and above the national scheme during the next school year. Details of how this scheme will operate were announced by the council today.
Speaking after the announcement, Cllr Wendy Meikle, Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education, said: “We know that the national scheme falls short and misses some young people whose families do not qualify for the trigger benefits that give access to the national Free School Meals scheme.
“We hope that by providing this additional support we can ensure more children get a decent meal in the middle of the day and are able to focus on achieving their potential in school.”
Cllr Jilly Julian, Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, added: “In the face of the ongoing cost of living crisis, this additional support will mean Stockport children from a family that receives Local Council Tax Support and/or Housing Benefit but do not already qualify for Free School Meals, will now get support from the council.
“This is in addition to the Family Support Vouchers, which the council will continue to issue through the government’s Household Support Fund. All eligible families are being contacted directly with clear information about how to request these meals.”
Speaking after a meeting with the Chief Fire Officer, Cllr Mark Hunter, Leader of the Council and of the Liberal Democrats at Stockport Town Hall, said: “I have made it very clear to the Chief Fire Officer that we have grave concerns about the proposal to reduce the service at Offerton Fire Station by removing full-time firefighters overnight, particularly as this could lead to delays in attending incidents across the east side of Stockport Borough.
“I have asked the Fire Service to think again and find other ways of making savings which will not have such an impact on residents in Stockport. We simply cannot support what is proposed.”
Cllr Lisa Smart, the local Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate, added: “I’m really concerned for local residents. Every minute counts in a fire or road traffic accident.
“This is a gamble on no serious incidents happening when teams are responding elsewhere.”