Greater Manchester Agreement Over Devolution

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Greater Manchester Councils have agreed an historic devolution settlement with the Government.

stockport town hallThe agreement, reached with the Chancellor who has called for a ‘Northern Powerhouse’ to maximise the economic potential of the north – and building on the work of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) established in 2011 – will give greater powers to the combined authority working in partnership with a directly-elected Mayor.

The agreement, which will need to be ratified by all ten Greater Manchester Councils in due course, signals a step change in the willingness of government to devolve power within England.

Greater Manchester has long been recognised as being at the forefront of the debate with government on devolution in England. This is the first such deal struck with a city region and this is a recognition of the fact that Greater Manchester has established better and stronger collaborative arrangements than any other city region within the UK.

These will open up new opportunities for increasing economic growth and improving the quality of life of Greater Manchester residents by replacing an over-centralised national model, imposing ‘one size fits all’ solutions – with greater local control over certain budgets and powers.

For example, they will unlock huge public transport improvements and help tens of thousands of Greater Manchester residents into work.

Councillor Sue Derbyshire, Leader of Stockport Council, said: “The agreement over devolution for Greater Manchester with the Government is a positive and historic step for the region. By devolving more power to a localised level it will allow us to better serve the people of Greater Manchester by basing decisions on local priorities.

“In Greater Manchester we have been fully aware for a long time that the over-centralised national system being operated was simply not delivering the best results for residents and businesses in the area. This agreement will give us the opportunity to show what a city region with greater freedoms can achieve and contribute to the growth of the country.”

Under the settlement, a directly-elected Mayor for Greater Manchester will be created. The first Greater Manchester Mayoral elections are expected to take place in 2017.

Some powers will only be devolved to Greater Manchester once the Mayor is in place but a significant number of initiatives will be taken, starting in the New Year, in advance of the election of the Mayor. These will include the establishment of a new funding deal which will enable Greater Manchester to invest in further extension and strengthening of the city regions transport infrastructure. The deal is worth £900 million over the next 30 years.

Powers to be devolved to Greater Manchester include:

  • Transport
  • Planning
  • Housing
  • Public Service Reform
  • Health and Social Care
  • Earn Back
  • Skills and Business support
  • Governance arrangements

The existing Police and Crime Commissioner’s role will also be merged with the Greater Manchester Mayor’s role.

For more information about the agreement visit the Greater Manchester Combined Authority webpages

Stockport Local Elections 2014 – Full candidate list

Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council – Election 2014 – Candidate list.

Bramhall North

Pauline Banham               Lib Dem
Ray Jones                            UKIP
Elizabeth  Marron            Labour
Lisa Walker                         Tory

Bramhall South and Woodford
Anita Johnson   Tory
Ruth Kaiser         Labour
Jeremy Meal      Lib Dem
David Perry         UKIP

Bredbury & Woodley
Roy Driver           Labour
Richard Ellis         UKIP
Chris Gordon     Lib Dem
Sue Howard       Tory
Andy Webster   BNP

Bredbury Green & Romiley
Sally Bennett     Tory
Tony Dean          BNP
Mags Kirkham   Lib Dem
Brian Stayner     UKIP
Brian Wild            Labour

Brinnington & Central
Michael Buxton                UKIP
Colin Gell                             Lib Dem
John Heginbotham          Independent
Pat Leck                               Tory
Maureen Rowles             Labour
Brenda Waterhouse       BNP

Cheadle & Gatley
Grahame Bradbury         UKIP
Natasha Brooks                Green Party
Graham Haslam                Tory
Colin Owen                         Labour
Iain Roberts                        Lib Dem

Cheadle Hulme North
Sue Carroll                          Tory
Yvonne Guariento           Labour
Tony Moore                       UKIP
Michael Padfield              Green
June Somekh                     Lib Dem

Cheadle Hulme South
Stuart Bodsworth            Lib Dem
Chris Carter                        Labour
Paul Davies                         Tory
Cyril Peake                          UKIP

Davenport & Cale Green
Doreen Hopkins               UKIP
Phil Shaw                             Green
Ann Smith                           Lib Dem
Elise Wilson                        Labour
Julie Wragg                         Tory

Edgeley & Cheadle Heath
Philip Harding                    Labour
Danny Langley                   Lib Dem
Camilla Luff                         Green
Chris Pamp                         UKIP
Morag White                     Tory

Hazel Grove
Stuart Corris                       Lib Dem
Janet Glover                      Labour
Oliver Johnstone              Tory
Tony Moore                       UKIP
Rob Turner                         Green

Heald Green
Ann Moore                         UKIP
Adrian Nottingham         Independent Ratepayers
Kathryn Priestly                Labour
David Roberts-Jones      Lib Dem
Yvonne Salmons               Tory

Heatons North
Janet Cuff                           Green
Jenny Humphreys           Lib Dem
Rosalind Lloyd                   Tory
John Taylor                         Labour

Heatons South
Conrad Beard                    Green
Denise Brewster              Lib Dem
Natalie Fenton                  Tory
Tom McGee                       Labour
Sheila Spink                        BNP

Walter Barrett                   Labour
Daniel Hawthorne           Lib Dem
John Kelly                            UKIP
Beverely Oliver                 Tory
Buncan Warner                 BNP

Marple North
Geoff Abell                         Lib Dem
Annette Finnie                  Tory
Maggie Preston                Green
David Rowbottom           Labour
Chelsea Smith                   UKIP

Marple South
Kevin Dolan                        Labour
Susan Ingham                    Lib Dem
Bev Morley-Scott             Tory
Darran Palmer                   UKIP
Graham Reid                      Green

Dave Goddard                   Lib Dem
Bill Law                                 Tory
Harry Perry                         UKIP
Charlie Stewart                 Labour

Reddish North
Paul Ankers                        Lib Dem
Paul Bennett                      BNP
Anthony Hannay              Tory
David Wilson                      Labour

Reddish South
Alex Fenton                       Tory
Tom Grundy                       Labour
Jess Northey                      Green
Louise Shaw                       Lib Dem
Ged Williams                      BNP

Stepping Hill
Ken Pease                           Green
Janet Rothwell                  Labour
Mark Weldon                    Lib Dem
John Wright                        Tory

Stockport Liberal Democrats wishes the best of luck to all candidates taking part.

Stockport: Best value Council in Greater Manchester

Lib Dem Stockport is top of the league for value
Lib Dem Stockport is top of the league for value

Treasury figures have been published showing Stockport to be the best value council in Greater Manchester.

A league table of council’s spending per-resident gives Lib Dem Stockport a lower figure than all other councils in the area, demonstrating the effectiveness of the balanced budget working Stockport Council has worked hard to maintain.

This compares favourably to both Conservative councils like Trafford, and Labour council’s like Oldham and Manchester – a Council which imposed savage cuts despite holding back more than £100 million in town hall coffers and faced national criticism for making “politically motivated cuts.”

The “excellent” financial management of the local authority since the Lib Dems took control of the borough means Stockport Lib Dems are able to propose a Council Tax freeze for 2014/15, something that will be debated by all Stockport councillors in what is expected to be a heated political debate at the Town Hall this Thursday.

Another Council tax freeze for Stockport residents?

Stockport's Lib Dems propose a freeze in council tax for all local taxpayers
Stockport’s Lib Dems propose a freeze in council tax for all local taxpayers

Lib Dems are proposing to freeze Stockport’s Council tax for year 2014/15[/caption]Stockport’s Lib Dem councillors want to freeze Council Tax for Stockport taxpayers for the year 2014/15.

This will be the third council tax freeze the Lib Dems council has delivered in the past four years, despite the unprecedented financial challenges it continues to face.

Lib Dem councillors want to continue helping residents with the cost of living. Cllr Sue Derbyshire said: “We know local authority finances will get no easier, with almost £60m of savings made since 2010 and over £40m more savings needed between 2015 and 2017. However, we have taken the decision to accept the government’s freeze grant this year in the interests of residents, and I call on the other political groups in Stockport to back this freeze.”

The Liberal Democrat budget proposals will be debated and voted upon by all political groups at the Budget Council Meeting on 27th February.

Bridgehall Library – open for business

John, Ann and Sue donated copies of their favourite books to the library for Christmas
John, Ann and Sue donated copies of their favourite books to the library for Christmas

Following a petition campaign by Ann Smith and Stockport Lib Dems, Bridgehall Library is now open at the Community Centre after its official opening by the Mayor of Stockport at the end of January.

Not only did the Labour councillors for the area vote against the opening of the library, one of them derided it as a so-called “library” just four days after the Library was officially opened by the Mayor of Stockport.

In fact, the Library at Bridgehall offers a ‘full library service’ with more than 2,000 books and DVDs to suit all ages and tastes and free internet access, with trained staff on hand to help people get online.

It had been hoped the library would open for Christmas. Ann Smith, John Reid and Sue Derbyshire each donated copies of their favourite books to the Library as Christmas gifts to mark its opening.

“Despite Labour putting tribal party politics before local facilities, this is a real win for Bridgehall”, said John Reid.

“People are quite angry that they again couldn’t rely on their Labour councillors. They should be backing the library in the ward they represent instead of degrading it to others.

“They should show some pride in Bridgehall.”

Grand Central – development update

Cllrs Hawthorne and McAuley at a site visit at the new Grand Central development
Cllrs Hawthorne and McAuley at a site visit at the new Grand Central development

Most residents will have seen the multi-storey car park being built next to Stockport’s railway station – the first part of regenerating the Grand Central area.

The Lib Dem Council’s Executive has now approved proposals for the next phase – an office block, hotel and public square, giving a pedestrianised exit from the station.

The development creates jobs in the construction phase, but also jobs further down the line in the businesses that will be based here.