The recent scenes in Gaza have been appalling. We urgently need the Government and the international community to take stronger action to bring the bombing to an end and seek a lasting resolution. The news of a ceasefire is welcome, but doesn’t change the underlying situation. Oldham Labour Group has this week agreed to endorse the letter sent by Lisa Nandy MP to the Foreign Secretary, calling on him to:

  • demand an end to the forced evictions of Palestinians in East Jerusalem
  • insist that sacred sites of all faiths are treated with the utmost respect
  • insist upon the immediate halt to all new settlements and adherence to international law
  • accept the need to recognise Palestine as a state.

You can read the full letter here:

Labour councillors across Oldham have been contacted this week by concerned residents regarding Ferranti Technologies in Waterhead, suppliers to the aerospace and defence industry. As a local authority, Oldham Council are limited by the law and our statutory responsibilities as to what action we can take to stop the production or export of weapons. We cannot, for example, inspect a site or demand information about the nature of their manufacturing. As a manufacturing site, it is the Health and Safety Executive rather than the local council that is responsible for inspection, and the Export Control Joint Unit of the Department of Trade who licenses firms to export weapons overseas and who would therefore hold information on where products are sold and used.

Our contact with Ferranti Technologies is limited to the functions we are responsible for, such as collecting business rates, or distributing Covid support grants on behalf of the government. Compelling Ferranti or other manufacturers to change their practices would require a change of law in Westminster. That is why we have supported Lisa Nandy’s letter, as have Oldham’s Labour MPs.

As has been our position for some time, we would very much welcome the opportunity to work with and support Ferranti to transition to working in green technology or other similar industries. Oldham has a proud manufacturing history, and we’re working hard to attract and retain high skilled jobs in the industries of the future like green technology. It would be fantastic if Ferranti were to move into that space, and we stand ready to help them take that positive step.

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