Lib Dems strike first blow in battle to save Stockport Central Library

At a meeting last night of Stockport Council’s Scrutiny Committee that covers Library Services, the Liberal Democrats successfully moved a motion recommending that the Cabinet do not proceed with moving the library services from the Central Library.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Lou Ankers, shadow cabinet member with responsibilities including libraries and mover of the motion, said: “Last night we made clear to the Labour Cabinet that they cannot simply ignore the results of their own consultation, where residents overwhelmingly supported retaining library services at our Carnegie-endowment Central Library.

“Labour must not ignore the scrutiny recommendations. The Central Library decision is being considered at two further scrutiny committees this week and residents can rest assured that the Liberal Democrat members of these committees will continue to raise their concerns and push for Labour to think again.”

Marking White Ribbon Day 2021

Speaking ahead of White Ribbon Day 2021 this Thursday, 25th November, Cllr Chris Gordon, Liberal Democrat councillor for Bredbury & Woodley, said: “White Ribbon Day is the focus of campaigning all year round to try to bring an end to male violence against women and girls by raising awareness and encouraging men to take the White Ribbon Promise to never commit, excuse or remain silent about male violence against women.

“As part of the all-party working group seeking White Ribbon Accreditation for Stockport Council to take a strategic approach to ending male violence against women, I encourage everyone to share the message that all men can make a difference. I will be wearing my White Ribbon with pride and I hope the conversations this may provoke will make others join me in making the promise.”

You can find out more about White Ribbon Day by following this link: https://www.whiteribbon.org.uk/day

Labour not listening over Stockport Central Library closure

The decision by the Conservative-backed Labour cabinet to close Stockport Central Library will be going through three of the council’s scrutiny committees this week ahead of a final decision on 7th December.

Speaking ahead of the first of these meetings, Cllr Lou Ankers, shadow cabinet member with responsibilities including libraries, said: “Labour simply aren’t listening. They reluctantly launched the recent consultation, called for by the Lib Dem motion in October 2019 because we could see a ‘stealth closure’ of the Central Library coming, and issued press release after press release trying to convince people to support this closure of library services.

“The outcome of the consultation was overwhelming opposition to the closure of Stockport’s iconic Carnegie-endowment Central Library, and yet they are choosing to ignore this and are determined to press on. Residents will rightly ask what the point of the consultation was and why they should trust the current Labour cabinet with the future of our town.”

Cllr Lisa Smart, Deputy Leader of the Lib Dems at Stockport Town Hall and scrutiny vice-chair, added: “Had local Conservatives not backed this minority Labour Cabinet in May we would not be facing this closure. Lib Dems would be doing the right thing, which is listening to the public and keeping the Central Library open as a library. We would invest the money needed to return it to being a good, accessible main library for the town.

“This whole situation is simply a lack of imagination and vision – having a substantial library presence at Stockroom using the Future High Streets funding does not require the closure of the Central Library at all and we call on Labour to think again.”

Discussion of Labour’s plans will go to the Corporate Resource Management and Governance Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday evening, the Children and Families Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday and the Economy and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee on Thursday.

All of these meetings will be accessible to the public through the council’s webcasting service, which can be found here: https://stockport.public-i.tv/core/portal/home

Labour slammed for timid response to broken rail promises

Stockport Council’s Labour leadership were condemned last night for their timid response to yesterday’s central government announcement regarding Rail investment in the North. Despite strong criticism from other senior Labour figures in the North West, Stockport’s leader would only say she was ‘disappointed’.

Following the government announcement, which received widespread cross -party criticism, Liberal Democrat Group Leader Cllr Mark Hunter had challenged Labour to agree that the Northern Powerhouse was effectively ‘dead in the water’ if the decision not to invest were to go ahead.

Speaking immediately after the council meeting Cllr Hunter commented “For all their warm words, this Conservative government have demonstrated – yet again – that when it comes to the crunch they really don’t care about the North. This decision is shameful and, as business leaders and others have said, will set us back many years. We desperately need the investment in rail infrastructure to encourage more use of public transport, yet all we have are more broken promises”.

Life-saving heart machines given a boost by Lib Dem motion

At last night’s meeting of Stockport Council the Liberal Democrats received unanimous support for their motion calling on the Cabinet to improve the information available to residents about where there are life-saving Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs), to review their deployment across the borough to ensure there is good coverage in all areas where they would be beneficial, to make training available to local sports clubs and teams, and to implement a streamlined process for community groups to install new AEDs on council property.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Will Dawson, mover of the motion and Lib Dem councillor in Offerton, said: “I was delighted to be able to bring forward this crucial motion to make sure that we have more life-saving machines in the right places all across Stockport and that people know where to find them. In an emergency the first step should always be to phone 999, but raising awareness among the public of where our AEDs are will help them find them in that crisis moment when seconds may count and help them identify any gaps in the council’s provision.”

Cllr Malcolm Allan, seconder of the motion and Lib Dem councillor in Marple North, added: “Having been involved with several community-funded AEDs I know that the council’s current process is complicated and legalistic. That will be improved immensely now that the council has agreed to implement the Community Heartbeat Trust system, which makes issues such as public liability and installation easy and without risk to the council. I look forward to the promised report on progress due in January next year.”

Stockport revealed as third worst place in country to charge electric car

80% of public charging points would take 8 hours to charge a small electric car as Liberal Democrats demand more investment needed

Stockport electric car drivers risk becoming stranded due to lack of action taken by Council


Stockport is the third worst area in the country to charge your electric car, analysis of official statistics by the Liberal Democrats can reveal.

In Stockport, there are a staggering 16,568 registered electric cars sharing just 16 rapid charging points. There are also just 20 older and slower electric chargers in Stockport, despite the above average level of electric cars in the area. Only two local authority areas have fewer rapid charging points for every electric car (Windsor & Maidenhead and Swindon).

Electric car drivers in these areas are most likely to be stranded by charging points taking at least 13 hours to charge a Nissan Leaf. Rapid chargers however, take just 30 minutes, and are proven to encourage far more people to switch to electric cars.

Just 372 new “rapid” electric vehicle chargers were installed in the UK over the last three months, as part of 1,553 new chargers installed. This is despite the Conservatives promising to dramatically increase the number of fast chargers.

These same statistics reveal that less than one in five (19%) of all electric vehicles charging points in the UK are so-called “rapid chargers”, whereas nearly 6,000 public charging points fall into the slow bracket (3KW – 5KW).

This year the Conservatives have cut grants available to new electric vehicles.

Local Liberal Democrat Councillor, Tom Morrison, said: “Stockport Council needs to take action now or risk electric car drivers becoming stranded across the borough because we have outdated infrastructure. The blame lies as much with Stockport Council, as it does with the Conservative government.

“How can we expect people to start using more environmentally friendly electric cars when there aren’t the necessary charge points in place to help people make this decision?”

“Yet again this shows Stockport Council is good at talking about climate change, but completely misses the mark when it comes to tackling it. Positive action is needed now.”

Sarah Olney MP, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Transport, said: “For all the big talk we have heard from the government at COP26 on electric cars, the reality of their lack of investment shows a completely different picture.

“Instead of vague words, Liberal Democrats are calling for a cut in VAT on the lowest cost electric vehicles and a massive expansion of rapid chargers, particularly in rural areas.”