Stockport Liberal Democrats proud to fly the Progress Pride flag

Friday, 17th May 2024 is International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia and so there is no better day for the Stockport Liberal Democrats to reaffirm that we are proud allies of our LGBTQIA+ community.

We’re acutely aware that many in public life have made the deliberate decision to conduct campaigns that have the purpose of creating division and discrimination directly targeted at the LGBTQIA+ community. This only encourages wider discrimination and violence to a marginalised community in already challenging times. That’s why we want to reaffirm our support for this part of our community, their rights and our commitment to being a welcoming and inclusive borough for all.

Cllr Frankie Singleton, Cabinet Member for Communities, Culture and Sport stated her support: “Being a ’Fair and Inclusive’ borough goes well beyond party politics.  I want all LGBTQIA+ residents and council colleagues to know that they are seen and valued. There’s no room here for division, ‘othering’ and discrimination.”

Cllr Jilly Julian, Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources added: “Every Stockport resident, business and colleague is a valued and unique part of our community.  The fantastic contribution of our vibrant LGBTQIA+ community is a vital part of what makes Stockport a great place to be, and no-one has the right to diminish that with fear or hate.”

Cllr Mark Hunter, Leader of the Council said “The Conservative Government have decided that it wants to make the rights of human beings into a culture war issue, the Liberal Democrats are clear both nationally and locally on our stance- Biphobia, Transphobia and Homophobia are unacceptable. The fight for the rights of these communities is ongoing and there is no room for complacency, we are proud to fly the Progress Pride flag on our Town Hall today.”

Stockport Liberal Democrats mark Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2024

This year on Thursday the 16th May, it’s Global Accessibility Awareness Day. The purpose of which is to create discussion surrounding digital access and inclusion, recognising there are more than 1 billion people across the world facing digital exclusion due to disability and other barriers.

In the UK, the Good Things Foundation report that for every £1 invested into digital inclusion, there is a £9 return back into the economy. It is not only vital that people are provided with access to the digital services to get along in day-to-day life, it also has tangible benefits to the UK as a whole.

Meanwhile, closer to home, the Liberal Democrat Cabinet on Stockport Council knows all about the importance of breaking down barriers for people entering the digital world, with incredible leaps being made in the last two years, and no signs of stopping. Cabinet Member Cllr Jilly Julian said-

“It is vital that everyone has access to the wide range of digital services that this Council has to offer. That’s why over the last year we’ve seen success of a number of schemes that are all about providing accessibility to our digital platforms for our residents. We’ve started this effort from home, the Council website uses both ‘Recite Me’ accessibility software alongside a language translation tool which has opened up our services to so many and is used thousands of times a month.

“We also recognise that for many, there are significant barriers to getting online at all, that’s why we’ve set up DigiKnow; a fantastic partnership that provides regular sessions across the borough empowering people with or without disabilities, to develop the skills and confidence to get online and make the most of the digital world.  We’re also working to combat data poverty here in Stockport”

“As more and more of daily life is conducted online, it’s crucial that we bring people along with us. Residents with sight loss, dyslexia or from a range of different circumstances have access to our online services thanks to Recite Me.  Meanwhile, residents with no experience of using technology, struggle to learn or people simply lacking in confidence online can join our community sessions and get the skills and support they need.”

Stockport Lib Dems buoyed by Election Results!

Stockport Liberal Democrats are celebrating after topping the poll in last Thursday’s local council elections. The Lib Dems gained two seats from Labour and increased their numbers to 31 councillors in total – just 1 short of an overall majority. Meanwhile Labour’s losses reduces the size of their council group to just 22 councillors. The Heald Green Ratepayers have 3 seats, the same as the Green Party and the Edgeley Community Assoc. There is one other independent, and the Conservatives currently have no seats at all on Stockport Council.

Cllr Mark Hunter, re-elected as Lib Dem Group Leader at their AGM on Friday evening commented “This was a very good night for the Liberal Democrats in Stockport. As ever, our focus was on a positive campaign based around our service and action in the community. Our track record of delivery over the last couple of years has obviously not gone unnoticed and we are grateful that the public have put their trust in us once more. We will continue to work as hard as we can, in partnership with others, to ensure that all parts of the borough are supported and Stockport remains a great place to live and work.

As everyone knows huge financial challenges lie ahead, but our policy of sound financial management over many years means that Stockport is better placed than many to tackle  the crisis in local government funding created by this Conservative government. I repeat my appeal for all parties to work together to agree a new funding formula which would see a fairer allocation of the resources available”

The local election results here also auger well for the Lib Dems in the forthcoming general election. It’s time to send the Tories a message- should the local election outcome be replicated in a general election, the Lib Dems would gain both Cheadle with Tom Morrison and Hazel Grove with Lisa Smart, with Labour having no chance in either seat.

Tribute to Lord Stunell

With the announcement earlier today of the sudden passing of Andrew Stunell (The Rt Hon Lord Andrew Stunell OBE), the Liberal Democrats have lost a dear friend and valued colleague. Our thoughts are with Gillian and his wider family at this most difficult time.

Cllr Mark Hunter, Leader of the Stockport Liberal Democrat Group said;

“Andrew was the rare kind of person that gives politics a good name. His commitment and dedication to public service and the Liberal Democrat cause was the stuff of legend. He was famous for his clear-sightedness and humility whatever the pressure – a real ‘people person’ even before the term was invented. A great friend, colleague, and mentor to many of us – his contribution to the cause over so many years was immeasurable.

Andrew was a kind, thoughtful and courteous man, well regarded by all colours of the political spectrum and widely recognised for his knowledge of (and experience in) local government which he utilised to great effect during his time in Parliament. On a personal level, his advice was always worth listening to and – more often than not – usually spot on. He had a wry sense of humour and well understood the occasional absurdities of politics, never taking himself too seriously.

Andrew served for 18 years as MP for Hazel Grove and before then was a Stockport councillor for 6 years representing Offerton. After retiring from the House of Commons in 2015, Andrew was elevated to the House of Lords and remained active on both the national and local political scene.

His political journey started when he joined the Liberals in protest at the Kenyan Asians Act introduced by the Labour government in 1968 to take away the UK passports of Kenyan Asians. In the 1970’s he stood and won a county council seat in Chester where he also stood for Parliament three times before moving to Stockport in the early 1980’s. He narrowly missed being elected in Hazel Grove in 1992 but was eventually successful in 1997 with a majority of nearly 12,000.

A man of strong faith and principle above all else, Andrew touched the lives of so many of his constituents in such a positive way. His name will long be remembered.”

Cllr Lisa Smart, Parliamentary Candidate for Hazel Grove said;

“Andrew was one of the warmest, kindest people I have ever met. He was the kind of person you want on your team. Hard working, honest and kind. He helped me work out what it was to make a difference in public life.

One of the first times Andrew gave me some advice he said “always stay behind and put away the chairs”. He meant, always be a worker, especially when people aren’t watching because actions are what counts and that was what Andrew was about.

He was one of those people who you could count on or trust with anything at all. Few of those people exist in anyone’s life and I feel extraordinarily privileged to have known him as a friend.

He had a rare gift for cutting through the pomposity in politics with his self-deprecating and often mischievous wit and humour. He leaves a huge hole in our community, but an incredible legacy that his family, whom he loved more than anything, can be extremely proud of.”

Stockport Liberal Democrats launch local election manifesto

Stockport Liberal Democrats have launched their manifesto for the local council elections on May 2nd with the promise ‘the best is yet to come’. After just two years since assuming responsibility for leading the council once again, Liberal Democrat leader – Cllr Mark Hunter – says he is ‘optimistic’ of further success in May and points to a solid track record of achievement since wrestling power from Labour in 2022.

“While much remains to be done and there is absolutely no room for complacency, it is a fact that Stockport is well and truly back on the map for all the right reasons. And it’s not just us saying it, with so many experts seeming to agree that good things are happening in Stockport right now.

“Providing positive leadership of the council, working hard with all our partners in the public, private and voluntary sectors, is a key part of that success but we are ambitious to achieve even more. The choice in May is clear, a positive and ambitious agenda for all parts of Stockport, which puts residents first and will continue to deliver a safer, stronger, cleaner and greener community or a return to a divided and fractious Labour led council.”

A readable version of the manifesto can be found here:

Stockport Council Plan

In February, the Liberal Democrat Cabinet published its new Council Plan, “Ambitious Stockport, creating opportunities for everyone”, describing the role of the council in supporting the borough through the provision and delivery of services that are essential to everyday life.

Rather than just looking ahead one year, for the very first time this looks ahead three years and incorporates our four “Big Ambitions”:

• Investment, regeneration and creating jobs;
• Education, work and skills;
• Wellbeing in neighbourhoods; and
• Delivering for those who most need it.

Alongside these are two cross cutting themes, creating a fair and inclusive Stockport and delivering Climate Action Now.