Stockport Liberal Democrats mark International Women’s Day

Stockport Liberal Democrats have committed their support to International Women’s Day, which celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, whilst also marking a call to action for accelerating gender equality.

Cllr Lisa Smart, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group and Councillor for Bredbury Green and Romiley, said: “International Women’s Day is an important date on the calendar, celebrating progress towards equality but also highlighting the inequalities which still exist. In 2020 we should not be seeing so few women in senior roles, nor should those who do make it as being extraordinary. We should not be having to fight for basic rights and recognitions, exemplified by the BBC’s recent difficulties with equal pay. This year the theme is ‘Each for Equal’, highlighting how a gender equal world can only be created by each of us individually choosing to challenge stereotypes and fight bias and acting collectively to create a gender equal world.”

The photo below shows Muna Hull (left), school crossing patrol for the past 25 years at St Christopher’s School in Romiley, who was invited by her ward councillors (Cllrs Lisa Smart and Angie Clark, middle and right) to represent the ward at the International Women’s Day event held at Stockport Town Hall on 10th March 2020.

Stockport Liberal Democrats hit out at ‘shambolic’ Stepping Hill parking plans

Liberal Democrats in Stockport have hit out at the Labour-led Council over its ‘shambolic’ consultation on parking proposals around Stepping Hill.

There have been unacceptable delays to papers being sent out, along with proposals that have been drawn up and presented to residents with little consideration of residents’ wishes or consultation before plans were put to people in the area around the hospital.

Local residents have suffered years of chaos as a result of the lack of available parking at Stepping Hill hospital and Lib Dems have had many meetings and discussions with local people, council officers and the health service in that time.

Cllr Will Dawson, Liberal Dem Councillor for Offerton ward, said: “Many people have told me that the information has not reached them in the post and because of the delays we have worked with residents so that although the closing date is published as 6th March, the Council will accept responses until March 13th.”

Cllr Mark Weldon, Liberal Democrat Councillor for Stepping Hill ward, added: “We have written to the Council and the Labour Cabinet for an explanation as to why packs were delayed. We believe the proposal is flawed and if we run the Council in May we will work hard with residents to find a positive solution to this ongoing problem.”

And Cllr Charles Gibson, Liberal Democrat Councillor for Hazel Grove ward, stressed the need for “as many people as possible to express their view and get their voices heard so that the Council is clear about what people think of this proposal”.

Stockport’s £6.4m Climate Emergency Fund blocked by Labour and Conservative Councillors

At last night’s Budget Council Meeting, the Liberal Democrat proposal to establish a Climate Emergency Fund of £6.4m in the coming year was blocked by the combined votes of Labour and Conservative Councillors, leading to further delays before the Council starts to take real action on the Climate Emergency.

In a non-partisan and well-argued proposal, the Liberal Democrat Councillors sought to commit an amount equal to the dividend the council receives from its shareholding in Manchester Airport Group, and the proposal included a requirement that future windfalls should be committed to tackling the Climate Emergency first so that we can transform the borough.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Lisa Smart, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group and proposer of the amendment, said: “The biggest single issue facing us all is the climate emergency. Almost a year ago there was all-party agreement that we should declare a climate emergency but the Labour administration has been asleep at the wheel, taking months to even send a letter to the Prime Minister, let alone actually deliver any meaningful actions. It is really disappointing that opposition members refused to support an action plan to tackle this simply because it came from our side of the chamber.”

Cllr Mark Hunter, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, said: “We are disappointed that the other Groups voted together to block action on the Climate Emergency and that we must wait even longer before we can set to work on vital priorities, such as tackling recurrent flooding in places like Bramhall and Romiley. Many people will be surprised to see that the minority Labour administration is now propped up by a small number of Conservative Councillors who supported all of their budget proposals. My colleagues and I will revisit this and many other Labour decisions if we have the opportunity to do so.”

Cllr Malcolm Allan, Liberal Democrat Councillor for Marple North, added: “Part of the money was to be determined at a ward level, so that the local community could bid for projects to tackle the Climate Change emergency in ways specific to their areas via their local councillors. The remainder of the money would have been used strategically on bigger projects and those that cross wards, like improving flood protection or working up business cases for better transport connections such as tram train to Stockport from Marple and Cheadle. We don’t want to wait for a project and then find we have no money. We should allocate cash now so we can act quickly – otherwise we’ll wait another year for anything to get done.”

You can read the full proposal here:
Liberal Democrat Budget Amendment 2020

Stockport Liberal Democrats mark Holocaust Memorial Day

On the 75th Anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Nazi concentration and death camp, Cllr Mark Hunter, Leader of the Lib Dem Group on Stockport Council, attended the memorial event held at Stockport War Memorial today on behalf of all residents and his council colleagues.

Speaking ahead of the event, Cllr Hunter said: “It is vitally important that we never forget the appalling events of the Holocaust and that we take this opportunity to remember the victims of this and subsequent genocides. I remember well my visit with the Holocaust Education Trust to Auschwitz-Birkenau, the site of the largest mass murder in history, when I was Cheadle’s Member of Parliament. What I saw there will stay with me always.

“On Holocaust Memorial Day we reflect on the tragic, deliberate taking of lives on an unimaginable scale and resolve to do all we can to fight against prejudice and intolerance, to challenge antisemitism and to oppose all forms of bigotry.”

Stockport Lib Dems wary of renewed promise of ‘tram tomorrow’

Stockport Liberal Democrats cautiously welcome the announcement made by GM mayor Andy Burnham that progress is being made towards the delivery of a business case for Metrolink to bring trams to Stockport, but with no work starting until 2025 and no trams running until some years after this.

Speaking after the public announcement, Cllr Mark Hunter, Leader of the Lib Dems on Stockport Council, said: “Of course we welcome any sign that Metrolink will finally come to Stockport. This was what was promised back in the early 1980s and, as Stockport has continued to financially and politically support the expansion of the Metrolink network into other boroughs, it is what has been repeatedly promised time and again over the decades since.

“This announcement is little more than a re-statement of what has been agreed before. In 2015, joint work between then Lib Dem-led Stockport Council and Transport for Greater Manchester set the aim to bring Metrolink in to Stockport in the funding period 2020-25, so this is actually just an announcement that the ambition has been pushed back to the end of the queue yet again. Frankly this feels like déjà vu, I remain to be convinced that any work will have started on installing tram tracks by 2025, and funding has to come from central government to make this happen.

“Stockport residents are tired of being given crumbs off the table and won’t settle for more promises of ‘tram tomorrow’.”

Stockport Lib Dems welcome appointment of high profile Chair to key Development board

Stockport Liberal Democrats have welcomed the announcement that Lord Bob Kerslake is to become the Chair of the board of the new Stockport Mayoral Development Corporation (MDC).

Cllr Mark Hunter, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Stockport Council and Board Member of the MDC, said “I am delighted to welcome Bob Kerslake to Stockport. He is a man of great experience in both national and local government and I look forward to working with him. We are all excited by the potential that the MDC offers to transform Stockport and provide new jobs and homes into the bargain.

“It is important to note that this initiative has all-party backing, so potential investors and developers can plan ahead with confidence despite the finely balanced political situation on Stockport Council. This is a key message as Liberal Democrats and Labour both have 26 seats each, the Conservatives 8 and the Independent Ratepayers 3. Whatever political fortunes may dictate over the next few years, we are all committed to making the MDC work. It is the first of its kind and it gives Stockport a tremendous opportunity to forge ahead”.