Lib Dem Council Leader condemns inaction by zombie government over rail crisis

Speaking after an interview on national radio, Cllr Mark Hunter, Liberal Democrat Leader of Stockport Council, said: “Stockport has been hit by a massive reduction in rail services and our zombie government, focussed entirely on picking their new party leader, is completely failing to act. We have seen our usual service decimated, with Avanti seemingly unable to staff their trains. That is on top of the disruption caused by the rail strikes on 18th and 20th August, which will mean no services at all in the Stockport area across four days.

“This is a disaster for Stockport and for the North West, at a time when our local economy is trying to recover from Covid and cope with the adverse impacts of Brexit, at a time when we are supposed to be encouraging people to use public transport to help tackle air pollution and climate change, and at a time when the council is investing £1bn in town centre regeneration based around our rail infrastructure.

“In a joint letter with the leaders of other political groups at the Town Hall, I have called on the Transport Secretary to intervene to ensure that our residents have access to the rail services they both need and deserve. To date he has not responded but his public comments seem to suggest he sees no role for the government in this latest transport crisis. This simply would not be allowed to happen in London and the South East and the government should not allow it to happen here.”

Stockport Lib Dems celebrate Lionesses’ historic win

Speaking after last night’s historic Women’s Euro 2022 win, Cllr Mark Hunter, Leader of Stockport Council and of the Liberal Democrats at Stockport Town Hall, said: “What an amazing and truly historic performance by England’s Lionesses to beat Germany in the final of the Women’s Euro 2022 tournament. The spirit they showed throughout is an inspiration to all and it was great to see some of the stars of our local teams contributing to this win. I hope this performance enthuses girls and young women to participate in sport, particularly football.

“I’m sure all our hearts sank as Germany equalised and forced extra time but the Lionesses then won in extra time, saving us all the stress of yet another penalty shoot-out against our oldest rivals. Let’s look forward to the Women’s World Cup, being held ‘down under’ for the first time next year.”

Lib Dems out in force to support Stockport Pride

As has become a tradition, the local Liberal Democrats were out in force last Sunday, supporting Stockport Pride and marching with the parade.

Speaking after the event, Cllr Mark Hunter, Lib Dem Leader at Stockport Town Hall, said: “I was delighted to see this year’s Stockport Pride was an even greater success than it has been in previous years. It’s always a fabulous event and important to show solidarity with our friends in the LGBTQ+ community at a time when some of their hard-earned rights and freedoms are once again under challenge.

“Thank you to my colleagues who manned the Lib Dem stall in the market hall and congratulations to all who arranged or took part in the event – it was a fabulous day.”

A selection of pictures from the event can be seen below.

Cllrs Lisa Smart and Jilly Julian, key organisers of the Lib Dem presence, at the Lib Dem stall
; Cllr Wendy Meikle, Deputy Leader of the Council, with one of the amazing Drag Queens
; Cllr Mark Hunter, outside the market hall
Cllrs Smart and Julian along with colleagues Cllrs Grace Baynham, Malcolm Allan and Aron Thornley, all joining the parade

Stockport Lib Dems take action to address housing worries

At the last full meeting of Stockport Council, Labour councillors moved a motion calling for consideration of a technical measure to control any increase in Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) if their number or concentration rises to levels which may cause problems for residents. Whilst Stockport currently falls well below the levels where such concerns might arise, all councillors agreed that vigilance over this is important.

Ahead of the meeting, which ended before a full debate on this issue was possible, the Liberal Democrat administration had arranged for the latest draft of the Local Plan to be updated to include such a provision.

Speaking after the meeting Cllr Helen Foster-Grime, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Housing, said: “If the draft Local Plan is agreed after public consultation, this simple change will enable communities to have their say. We’re also determined to tackle rogue landlords whether in the smaller homes which aren’t licensed or HMOs where several households live. We urge anyone facing concerns contact our Housing Standards Team. The council is keen to help.”

Leader of Stockport Council, Cllr Mark Hunter added: “The Local Plan guides development in Stockport and sets out the long term future for the Borough. We’ve been working hard behind the scenes in drafting our new Local Plan and we hope it will really set the scene for many improvements in the years to come. The new Liberal Democrat administration have listened on this particular issue and we have already acted.”

Stockport Lib Dems call for urgent action on the cost of living crisis

At last night’s meeting of Stockport Council, the Liberal Democrats successfully called for urgent support for residents facing an unprecedented cost of living crisis.

All councillors on the Council eventually voted together to support the Lib Dem motion calling for measures including a reinstatement of the pensions triple lock and a windfall tax on electricity generators, as well as seeking to freeze council tax next year.

However a Conservative “wrecking amendment” was tabled but this was roundly dismissed as nothing short of political game playing and negligent by parties across the chamber.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Tom Morrison, parliamentary spokesperson for Cheadle, said: “I’m glad the council could come together on this issue. The cost of living crisis is now an emergency and it’s vital that Stockport Council uses all its power to support those that need help. Whilst the Conservative government continues to fail our communities, the Liberal Democrats have stood up and once again delivered for our residents.”

Cllr Lisa Smart, parliamentary spokesperson for Hazel Grove, added: “Breaking their manifesto pledge of honouring the pensions triple lock means the Conservative government have kept over £11m from retired residents across Stockport at a time when food and fuel bills are soaring. We must do all we can to support our residents of all ages and ensure real actions are taken. The government must urgently focus on this and not their own, internal problems.”

Lib Dems confirm future secured for Stockport Central Library

At last night’s meeting of Stockport Council, the Liberal Democrat Cabinet confirmed that library services will be retained at Stockport’s Carnegie-endowment Central Library, despite the previous administration’s decision to ignore overwhelming public demand for this.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Grace Baynham, Cabinet Member with responsibility for the Library Service, said: “We have listened to residents and worked hard to find an affordable way to unpick Labour’s decision to remove library services from Stockport Central Library without undermining the viability of the new Stockroom provision and whilst still offering a new base for Stockport’s Adult Education service.

“Renovation and sensitive remodelling works will be needed to improve accessibility, to ensure there are appropriate learning spaces for Adult Education and allow the use of Open+ technology to maximise opening hours, so there will be a brief closure of the Central Library once Stockroom opens. That is well over a year away.”

Leader of the Council, Cllr Mark Hunter, added: “In the eight weeks since I was elected as Leader of the Council this has been one of our main priorities and we have worked tirelessly to find a way to honour our promise of keeping the Central Library open to the public. The Liberal Democrats promised to listen and to act, and we will deliver a great new resource in the town centre within one of our heritage jewels.”