With everything currently happening in Westminster, people are rightly frustrated by politics and politicians. Whatever side of the argument you’re on, it feels like in recent years we’ve spent more time in the voting booth than ever before without seeing results. While national politics grinds to a halt, what we do locally becomes more important.
Central government continues to cut and cut, making providing the excellent services Oldham deserves harder than ever. We’re managing reductions in our budget for the tenth straight year. Since the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition launched austerity in 2010 Oldham residents have had £208 million taken from them. £208 million that can’t be used to fill pot holes. £208 million that can’t fund training to help get people into better paid jobs. £208 million taken from libraries, youth centres and care for older residents.
We need a strong vision to fight against this, and to make Oldham the place we all want it to be. Over the last year your Labour Council has been working with residents to create a great future in education and employment, for our towns and for our countryside.
By 2020 we will have invested over £30 million increasing capacity at our many good and outstanding schools, so that every child in the borough can have an excellent start. We’re also improving mental health services in schools to help our young people cope with the stresses of a system that focuses too much on examination and not enough on education and wellbeing.
We’re getting back to basics, with more street cleaners and £12 million to improve the quality of our roads. Clean and safe streets are the least people should expect. We’re also going to hire over 300 officers for Greater Manchester Police to replace some of those lost by cuts to police budgets.
Our town centres are undergoing a rejuvenation, with places like Royton and Uppermill thriving, and we’re about to start consulting on our plans for Oldham town centre. The future of the town will bring together retail, leisure and culture – including the Odeon, our forthcoming Arts and Heritage Centre, Gallery Oldham and the theatre – alongside much needed apartments. Building in the town centre is key to reducing pressure to develop homes on our greenbelt.
Your local council can’t deliver Brexit, and we can’t end the austerity policies that have done so much damage, but with a strong vision we can make a huge difference on the things that really matter – quality schools for our children, health and social care in our communities, clean streets, successful and safe town centres, well paid and secure jobs, decent homes, and support for those who are struggling.
Oldham can and should be a great place to learn, to work and to live. Only Labour has the ambition and committed local councillors to make this a reality, and to stand up for our borough. Please vote for us on 2nd May.