Oldham Labour Group Friday Briefing (26/06/2015)

Oldham Labour Group Friday Briefing (26/06/2015)

Weekly Leader’s Blog


Let’s not waste this opportunity….

blogPictureRecently I spent a morning with the waste collection team at our Moorhey Street depot. Our waste and recycling crews have a tough job and I’m grateful they could spare some time to talk me through how the service operates and the challenges the borough faces in collecting and disposing of our waste.

The team deliver what is probably our most high- profile service – used by every resident and many of our businesses. Every day our team of 28 bin trucks collect around 40,000 bins from across the borough – heading out before most of us are awake and whatever the weather.

The UK as a whole generates around 200 million tonnes of waste every year. The majority is sent for landfill.

In Oldham each household produces around a tonne of waste every year with 40 per cent being recycled. This is a figure we are always looking to improve on.

Over the last few years we’ve worked hard to reduce the amount of waste we produce as it costs us £290 per tonne to send for disposal – money that could be used to fund services elsewhere in the borough.

The team talked me through their ‘changing behaviours’ work – where they work with residents in neighbourhoods to improve how local people use the service (putting bins out correctly and recycling where they can) and to take action where residents dump waste or routinely put waste in the wrong bins (which costs us more as the waste has to go for disposal.

Since this work began in August 2013 we’ve seen some great results, such as:

• 11,882 households have been informed action will be taken if they do not dispose of their waste responsibly
• 3,560 people spoken to and educated regarding their waste disposal and its impacts.
• 2,000 more recycling bins delivered.
• 1,281 more Fixed Penalties served for littering and dumping.
• 66 prosecutions for fly tipping and dumping (i.e. more serious cases or where people have not paid their fines).

Overall this has led to a 10 per cent increase in recycling in targeted areas and a significant decrease in fly tipping too.

(Read More)

News From Oldham Council

Oldham Education and Skills Commission: Schools stronger when we work together

Plans for a new and revolutionary school led system to raise education standards for all local children were launched today (June 25).

The recommendation is the first to be revealed by the Oldham Education and Skills Commission (OESC), which is chaired by former Education Secretary, Estelle Morris.

Launched last summer, the independent commission was tasked with developing a shared, ambitious vision for our children that will result in a step change in their education.

Its final report will be published in September but this first recommendation – to be outlined in a keynote speech today by Estelle Morris to headteachers at the Oldham Schools Alliance (OSA) summer conference – will lay down clear foundations for the future.

The schools led system would be a new type of partnership based upon sharing responsibility equally between the council, schools and the community. We would take on collective responsibility for driving up aspirations and achieving better outcomes for young people by setting and achieving ambitious targets for improvements.

Oldham has a number of excellent schools, but there is also too much underperformance. The Commission believes that headteachers are best placed to understand how to drive up standards and that this can be best achieved if schools work together. But they cannot do this alone so the Commission is recommending the commissioning of a new independent body to make the collaboration a success.

Estelle Morris believes all local schools and staff – from head, teacher, practitioner and governor – can each make a vital contribution to wider and sustainable education success.

“This would see a fundamental change for the responsibility for education across Oldham – and it’s the start of a crucial journey,” she said.

“This plan is about all schools coming together regardless of age-group, governance, sponsorship or denomination, or whether you are an academy, local authority-maintained or free school.

“We’re saying that what really matters here is that shared vision for every child to reach their full potential. What also really matters is that if you’re an educator in Oldham you’re now saying that you have a responsibility for the education of every local child – not just those you are directly responsible for day to day.

“How we all fulfil that challenge is by working together on genuinely equal merit and in a new culture of collaboration where each school shares data, accepts and offers best practice, where targets and progress are shared, where all learn and improve together – and where children reap the benefits.

“It’s about agreeing what our ambitions for all young people are and then saying:‘What are WE all going to do to improve this?’”.

The new body would agree shared values and collaborative working arrangements –including a new borough-wide approach to data management and information – and would also agree new guarantees of education standards for students, parents, teachers and leaders.

(Read More)

New Youth Mayor sworn in

Teenager Saskia Edwards Korolczuk has been sworn in as the new Youth Mayor of Oldham.

The 18-year-old officially took on the role at the Youth Mayor-making ceremony on Wednesday, June 24 in the Council Chambers.

Saskia is from Springhead and is currently studying for her A-levels at Oldham Hulme Grammar School.

Once she has completed her exams she plans to take a gap year to concentrate on her youth mayor role.

After this she will hopefully take her place at university to study music and theatre.

Since being elected onto Oldham Youth Council four years ago Saskia has been passionate about giving young people a voice and engaging them in politically.

During her time as a youth councillor Saskia has been involved in as many aspects of Youth Council life as possible, this includes work on the priority campaign “I love Me”, which aims to promote resilience and positive mental health and well-being in young people.

She has also sat on the Co-operative Oldham Fund Panel and, more recently, was a member of the British Youth Council’s 2015 Select Committee.

(Read More)



“Fulla” praise for new “Olympic” Royton Leisure Centre

An Olympic legacy pool at Royton’s new £8 million sports centre, obtained by Oldham Council as part of a deal with Sport England, has been welcomed by GB swimmer Jessica Fullalove.

The Royton starlet, who competed in the 2014 Commonwealth Games and won three silver medals at last year’s Youth OlympicJim McMahon, Oldham Council Leader and Jessica Fullalove, GB swimmer and Royton resident (pictured front), are pictured inside the new Royton Leisure Centre.s, was impressed when she swapped her swimming cap for a hard hat when visiting the site of the new leisure facility – set to open later this year.

Joined by Jim McMahon, Oldham Council Leader, both took a close look at the Byron Street redevelopment.

As part of the Olympic Facilities Legacy Fund the new centre was awarded a pool tank and a grant of £134,000 from Sport England to support the pool’s installation.

The new pool is the same design as one of the Olympic training pools.

Jim McMahon, Oldham Council Leader, said:“The opening of this wonderful facility is just around the corner and this funding from Sport England is giving Royton a lasting Olympic legacy for the area – a commitment we made when we announced the new leisure centres for Royton and Oldham.

“The centre will not only be a great place where parents can bring their children to swim –it will also be a place where swimmers, like Jessica, can come and train in an environment suited to top competitors.

“Our team have been working hard with Sport England to make sure we have state-of-the-art facility residents and future generations will be proud of.”

Jessica, aged 18, said: “As a swimmer and a local resident it was amazing to be shown around the centre which will be great for Royton and the surrounding areas.

“I’m thrilled that Royton will get an Olympic legacy pool and I hope it will inspire more people to swim when it opens.”

Charles Johnston, Sport England’s Property Director, said: “Legacy pools have the potential to benefit thousands of people and we know that creating top-class sporting facilities will help provide a good sporting experience.

“The new pool, similar to ones used at the Olympics, will ensure that the local community have the chance to enjoy swimming in such an inspiration facility, and will help to create a lifelong sporting habit.”

As well as the new six-lane pool with spectator seating, the new centre boasts an 80-station fitness gym, two exercise/dance studios, 60-space car park and a new separate learner pool.

Working in partnership with Oldham Council, the site is being constructed by Willmott Dixon and once open, Oldham Community Leisure will run the facility.

News from Westminster


Cuts hit low paid hardest

Date published: 19 June 2015

OLDHAM MP Michael Meacher fears Government plans to slash the welfare budget will hit low paid workers the hardest and force more people out of work.

The Oldham West and Royton MP believes tax credits and disability benefits will be targeted in the £12 billion cull to be announced in next month’s Budget.

Mr Meacher said: “As Government regards pension benefits as out of bounds, the welfare cuts will be mainly concentrated on tax credits and disability benefits. But this will have perverse results.

“Reducing the value of tax credits may well make it no longer economically worthwhile for people on the lowest paid margins to work.”

People claiming out of work benefits is at a 35-year low, and there is not a culture of welfare dependency as the Tories claim, he added.

“There has been significant gain by providing financial support for working households but this is in danger of being eradicated if Government gets its way and victimises those on in-work benefits.”


Call to end food waste

Date published: 19 June 2015

Michael Meacher is demanding the Government acts on supermarkets wasting food.

He wants surplus and close-dated food to be given to food banks and charities.

The Oldham West and Royton MP said large amounts of waste are unjustifiable, given a desperate need for food.

He said: “More and more people are turning to food banks and more than 5,300 emergency food parcels for three days were handed out in Oldham last year. This is at the same time as supermarkets are throwing away vast amounts of food.”

Mr Meacher is among a group in Westminster urging government to act. He wants legislation to ban supermarkets from throwing away food approaching its best-before dates.

Legislation was recently enacted in France to make supermarkets hand over food taht would otherwise have been destroyed, even though perfectly edible.


Meacher: Tory favouritism is insulting

Reporter: Richard Hooton
Date online: 26 June 2015

A GOVERNMENT minister has refused to explain why Oldham has faced more cuts than Tory areas.

Oldham West and Royton MP Michael Meacher said this year alone, Oldham has had a 4.3 per cent cut in its spending power – while Oxfordshire is seeing an increase.

He said: “This is the most blatant politically partisan favouritism of Tory areas.”

Speaking in a Westminster Hall debate on local finances, Mr Meacher added: “Oldham is having to take a £200million cut by 2017. In the current year it is having its spending power cut by 4.3 per cent, whereas Oxfordshire, which happens to contain the Prime Minister’s constituency, has an increase of 1.3 per cent – and Cheshire East Council, which contains the Chancellor’s constituency, is having a 1.5 per cent increase.”

Other MPs from across the area demanded answers during the 30-minute debate led by Ashton Labour MP Angela Raynor, whose constituency covers Failsworth.

Local government minister Marcus Jones said despite challenges “most local authorities have coped well,” and that coping with the regional transfer of powers is “one of the most exciting agendas in local government at the moment.”

Oldham has faced the second highest cut across Greater Manchester. Mr Meacher added: “The non-answers from the minister show he has no idea about the difficulties our area faces.

“I do not think my constituents who are visiting food banks, are out of work, paying the bedroom tax and seeing services cut by these austerity measures imposed by the Tories will describe any of it as exciting — it is insulting.”


News From Districts


A ground-breaking parenting course – created by Action For Children, Oldham Council and Oldham Athletic Community Trust – is set to kick off in the borough.

Parents on the Ball is an innovative 20-week programme which aims to help mums, dads and carers gain new parenting skills and confidence, as well as promote better family health and fitness.

Leading children’s charity, Action for Children, will run the majority of the sessions from Oldham Athletic’s SportsDirect.com Park and also reach out to young people to help them gain the confidence and skills they will need to get on in the world.

The sessions take place ever Wednesday from June 24.Parents on the ball

Around a dozen parents from Chadderton have already signed up to the course.

Some sessions will be held at Chadderton Hall Park and Chadderton Wellbeing Centre.

Helen McKee, director of children services at Action for Children, said: “We believe that sports clubs are very much at the heart of the community, contributing to the well-being and self-esteem of millions of young people and parents across the UK.

“We’re proud to partner with Oldham Athletic Community Trust and Oldham Council to further our vision to improve the lives of young people and families in the region. We look forward to developing this innovative partnership in the forthcoming months.”

Councillor Graham Shuttleworth, Chair of Chadderton District Executive, said: “Members and staff within the Chadderton District team, along with support from public health, have been working hard with our partners to provide a fun and beneficial programme for families in the local community.

“Parents will have a chance to learn alongside their children over a range of interactive sessions. We hope this joint-working programme will make a big difference to these families and bring them closer together.”

Martin Vose, Oldham Athletic Community Trust Community Manager, said: “We’re really pleased to be an integral part this course which will be able to make a real, tangible difference to both the parents and their children.

“Using the power of football we will be able to have a direct and positive impact on the present circumstances of these families and their futures.”


Oldham Labour Group Friday Briefing (20/03/15)


Weekly Leader’s blog

Regeneration – It all adds up

REGENERATION: The investment, benefits and impact of the five major regeneration projects planned for Oldham Town Centre.

I WANT to use my penultimate blog before the local elections to talk about one of my driving passions – rebuilding Oldham.The new edition of Borough Life is dropping onto your doormats this week and inside you’ll find a double-page spread which looks at the changing face of Oldham.

This shows a mixture of just some of the various housing, schools, retail, business and transport regeneration projects which have either been completed or are well underway across the borough – and there simply wasn’t enough space to provide the full list.

As a public body we have a responsibility to justify all of our spending and be open and transparent about it.

It is clear that some schemes have really caught the imagination and attention of residents and I’m pleased that, like me, many can see just how important these will be to changing the fortunes and perceptions of our town.

Work is now well underway on several major projects like the cinema and restaurants at the Old Town Hall and the new Oldham Leisure Centre, and – from those days of early artists’ impressions – things are beginning to feel very real.

Whether you agree with that sentiment or not, you must at least admit that I am consistent in arguing that our borough deserves better than to be simply ‘managing decline’ – a route which too many would accept as the next chapter in our future.

I believe Oldham deserves better than to watch the threads of its rich cultural and economic heritage unravelling before our eyes. It deserves better than seeing once-great buildings falling into disrepair and the loss of things that not only once made us great but are also key to our confidence as a place.

I simply don’t accept that has to be our future at all.


(Read More.)






News from Oldham Council


You’re hired! Get Oldham Working smashes 2,015 target

Oldham Council and its partners are celebrating success after smashing an ambitious target to create 2,015 employment opportunities by the end of 2015.

Get Oldham WorkingThe local authority’s flagship “Get Oldham Working” campaign has seen local employers provide 2,169 jobs, apprenticeship and trainee opportunities to local people since its launch in May, 2013.The triumph was revealed last night (Monday, March 16) at Gallery Oldham with a “thank you” event to businesses and organisations who pledged their support to the initiative.

Special guest Adam Corbally, star of BBC’s The Apprentice, shared the secrets of his own success from being a market trader to motivational coach and entrepreneur.

He praised Get Oldham Working as an “inspirational” initiative that has helped many young people and the unemployed to find work.

The dedicated Get Oldham Working team has helped facilitate the creation of 1,184 jobs, 342 apprenticeships and 643 trainee and work experience opportunities.

The council and our partners are committed to carry on the good work – with an increased focus on creating more jobs.

(Read More.)



Oldham Council Leader ‘disappointed’ by Budget

The Leader of Oldham Council has responded to today’s Budget announcement by Chancellor George Osbourne.

Councillor Jim McMahon said: “The announcement, subject to agreement, that Greater Manchester will enter a pilot for full retention of business rates growth from April 1, is another step in the devolution process and will make headlines – but this is another disappointing budget.

“Despite the business rates proposal meaning that we will be able to keep more of the proceeds from growth in this area it remains a drop in the financial ocean when you consider that around £1.5 billion has now been cut from funding to the ten GM local authorities during this Parliament.Jim McMahon

“Local government has borne the brunt of the reductions during this time and its impact has also been disproportionate. Some areas have lost just 5 per cent of their funding compared with the poorest areas, like our own. In Oldham we’ve had to find £141 million in savings since 2009 – around 40 per cent of our funding has gone.

“I see nothing in this Budget as a gamechanger to that very harsh reality for local authorities and their long-suffering residents and business.

“Whilst some aspects of devolution are welcome opportunities for Greater Manchester this still looks very much like the transferal of financial responsibility and political blame to councils for what is likely to be the continued decline and withdrawal of vital local services which people rely on.”



Show you love where you live and take part in Community Clear Up Day

Oldham Council is taking part in Keep Britain Tidy’s ‘Community Clear Up Day’ – and we are urging residents to do their bit and get involved.

This Saturday (March 21) marks the first day of spring and we are asking people to spare a few hours so they can help spruce up our high streets, residential and business areas, villages and parks.

So whether you’re a group of friends and neighbours, a litter clean-up group, a local business, a school or on your own, what better way to kick off spring by taking part in ‘Community Clear Up Day’?

We’ve got lots of events taking place on the day – and in the weeks ahead – across the borough and anyone can get involved. Remember to dress appropriately for the activity and the weather.

Just make sure you bring a drink to keep hydrated and a snack to keep you going.

Councillor Barbara Brownridge, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Co-operatives, said: “Cleaning up our communities costs the council and residents around £1m each year, so initiatives like this not only help improve the area but also save money.

“The vast majority of people do take pride in their communities and keep them clean and tidy. But, unfortunately, there is always a small minority who continue to think they can just dump waste and leave others to clear up the mess.

“’Community Clear Up Day’ is good chance for people to work together, improve their neighbourhoods and show they love where they live.”

(Read More.)


News from Westminster


MP’s seven ways to boost living standards

BOOSTING the UK’s productivity is crucial to improving living standards, according to Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams.

Mrs Abrahams has responded to Institute for Fiscal Studies research that shows incomes remain below 2007-08 levels.

Mrs Abrahams said: “The report confirms working people are worse off since 2010. To help tackle this issue I’ve produced a report identifying seven drivers to boost UK productivity.

The report suggests incentivised business investment, universal access to high quality broadband, regional growth, innovative businesses, addressing skills shortfalls, public procurement and more exports.

Mrs Abrahams said: “Research shows small firms’ productivity levels began to turn a corner at the end of 2014, but there is still a long way to go.”


Court price-hike plan in the dock

PROPOSED increases to court fees of up to 622 per cent have been attacked by the President of the Oldham Law Association as “government profiteering”.

Steve Durham of Cuttle & Co Solicitors has criticised plans to increase the cost of issuing proceedings for the recovery of money to five per cent of the claim for all claims over £10,000.

So after it is introduced, the fee to issue a £190,000 legal claim would cost £9,500 compared with its current price of £1,315.

Mr Durham, the newly-elected association president, has called on local MPs to support his appeal to scrap the price hikes to avoid an inaccessible justice system.

He said: “This announcement has already received criticism from the National Law Society and the Civil Justice Council.

“The way the current system works is that solicitors often cover court fees knowing they will be able to recover them. With such extortionate upfront prices most firms will simply not have the cashflow to do this and will therefore not be able to take on certain cases. These fees will be prohibitive.”

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Ministry of Justice, Shailesh Vara MP said claims of less than £10,000, which are unaffected by the proposals, make up over 90 per cent of the total.

Oldham West and Royton MP Michael Meacher said: “The number of people accessing courts has gone down and I am really opposed to the imposition of higher fees.”


Speaking up for women

INSPIRATIONAL speeches about overcoming sexism and fighting for equality helped Oldham mark International Women’s Day over the weekend.

SPEAKING up for women: Debbie Abrahams, Marzia Babakarkhail and Councillor Sue DeardenDozens of women attended Gallery Oldham on Saturday for an afternoon of talks, poems and music hosted by Oldham Labour Women’s Forum.

The free event, which had a theme of “Women Make it Happen”, was opened by Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams, and hosted by Councillor Hannah Roberts.

The audience was moved by Marzia Babakarkhil, a former judge in Afghanistan forced to seek political asylum here after her life was threatened by the Taliban. She revealed a range of injustices against women in her home state.

Local women’s issues were also discussed during the event. The audience was able to question two of Oldham Council’s all-female management team, chief executive Carolyn Wilkins and Maggie Kufeldt, executive director for health and well-being.


News from the LGA

n an opinion piece for the Manchester Evening News, Cllr Jim McMahon has written about the “huge challenges” for the region’s future while also celebrating powers having been wrestled back from distant Whitehall civil servants and to give Greater Manchester “opportunities to shape our destiny”.

Leader of Southwark Council Cllr Peter John has written that the recent announcement that Greater Manchester is to take control of the area’s £6bn health budget is exciting news for local government and sets an important precedent which any future government will have to adopt for London and other major city regions.

To create a step change in childcare in London, early years and education budgets should be looked at as a whole, with the Government taking a ‘0-18′ approach to children’s lives, Southwark Leader Peter John and Lambeth Leader Lib Peck have argued, following the launch of the Lambeth and Southwark Childcare Commission chaired by Tessa Jowell MP.

The Leader of Birmingham City Council Sir Albert Bore has set out that new homes developed through the Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust are making a significant contribution to housing targets in the city.

Sir Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham has argued that continuing on the current path of local government cuts will damage families, communities, and the NHS.

Camden Leader Cllr Sarah Hayward has argued that care is part of our national infrastructure.

The poor still bear the brunt of the cuts, Leader of Barnsley Sir Steve Houghton has argued.

We know the Tories are targeting Labour areas, but it’s still shocking, Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson has written.

“The biggest ideas are coming out of local government”, MP and former leader of Lambeth Steve Reed MPhas said in an interview with the New Statesman.

The Chief Executive of Doncaster Council has written a blog arguing that by empowering local leadership to deliver growth, better deals can be done quicker, at a much reduced cost to the taxpayer.

Corby Borough Council is helping some of their most vulnerable residents reduce their energy bills by the installation of clean green technologies to their property.

Manchester Council is planning to bring a 20mph speed limit to 1800 more roads across the city and Croydon Council is expected to give the go-ahead to a 20mph speed limit plan.


News from the Districts


1)       They thought it would never happen!

Young people who requested local councillors to consider refurbishing skate park in Coalshaw Green Park must have given up hope of ever seeing their hopes come to fruition, but in 7 days’ time it will be a reality.

Councillor Graham Shuttleworth said: “With the introduction of the District Investment Fund the request for refurbishment came at just the right time, and with the support of Full Circle and Viridor, the Chadderton Neighbourhood team were able to submit a package that ticked all the boxes, and a new fit-for purpose skate park will formerly be opened next weekend.

“It has taken approximately three years to get to this stage, and when a project costs over £150,000.00 you expect some hiccups as you go along, and this had a few, but we got there, and on behalf of all elected Chadderton members I would like to thank those who have put in so much time and effort to make this dream for the young people become a reality.”



Chadderton Social Prescribing Update 

The social prescribing scheme has been running since September 2014. Social prescribing enables patients to identify and access support that meets their individual needs and allows individuals to focus on issues that may not be medical or physical but still have an impact on their health.

 Since the start of the scheme, a number of patients have been referred to Lauren White (Chadderton District Engagement Officer). These individuals are now signed up to formal provision.

 Lauren said: “Recently, a patient who has previously suffered from mental health issues has signed up to become a volunteer with Oldham Care and Support at Chadderton Hall Park. Previously they lacked the confidence to attend provision independently. Another patient, has signed up to Oldham Community Leisure’s Exercise Referral scheme, and is already feeling the benefits on their health and social life.”

 Patients can refer into the scheme via their GP or self refer. Lauren also regularly meets with groups to support members and signpost to other provisions and services.

 She added: “As part of the scheme I work alongside the NHScommissioning business partner to develop a year of care plan. The plan will outline the benefits of the social prescribing scheme and the impact that it has on a patient’s general health and Wellbeing. After regular reviews the plan will also show how social prescribing can benefit the National Health Service including, reducing costs on the NHSand also reducing regular attendees at the GP.”

Oldham Labour Group Friday Briefing (13/02/15)

Weekly Leaders Blog

Day in the life: Keeping us safe


I WAS fortunate to be able to spend time working with two of our most important frontline services – our Food Safety and Neighbourhood Enforcement teams – this week.

The phrase ‘unsung heroes’ is often overused, but in both of these cases it is probably an understatement.

Basically their overall remit is to ensure the borough is a safe, healthy and quality environment to live in and it’s fair to say a great majority of residents and businesses act responsibly and look after their communities and premises….

FOOD SAFETY: Ready to assist on my first ever food safety inspection with Lauren Wood at Country Oven Bakery, Oldham.

(Read More)




News from Oldham Council

Register to vote or lose out!

Council chamberOldham Council is urging residents to make sure they are registered to vote.

As part of National Voter Registration Day (Thursday, February 5) we are urging people to make sure their name is on the electoral register as there are just over three months to go until the General and local elections.

If you don’t think you’re registered or want to check your details are correct then we’d urge you to get in touch now.

Registering to vote is quick and easy and you can do it online in less than five minutes at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote – you just need to have your National Insurance number and date of birth handy.

Alternatively you can contact the elections office on 0161 770 4718. Council officers will check if you are on the register and, if not, will sign you up over the phone in a couple of minutes. Again all you will need is your NI number and date of birth.

Carolyn Wilkins, Chief Executive of Oldham Council and Returning Officer, said: “May 7 will see local and national elections taking place and if you aren’t on the register you won’t be able to have a say on how Oldham and the country is run.

(Read More)



Work starts on new special school

Oldham Council and sponsors New Bridge School have started work on the borough’s new £6.25m special school – Hollinwood Academy.

Contractors Extraspace Solutions (UK) Ltd is busy clearing the site, which is on the former Kaskenmoor site at Hollinwood and next to the existing New Bridge School.

Hollinwood AcademySpecialist design features and resources will be used in the construction to deliver the best possible level of education for 140 pupils on the Autistic Spectrum Continuum (ASC).

Included within the new facility there will also be a sports hall that will be shared with the community outside of school hours.

Training shops will also be available to help students find employment once they have left school.

Councillor Amanda Chadderton, Oldham Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, said: “We are delighted work has started on Hollinwood Academy.

“This new school is fantastic news for local parents and families and it will improve education for children with autism.

“We have high hopes for all our children, so making sure that we provide state-of-the-art facilities, like this new school is essential.

“Once work is completed Hollinwood Academy will increase opportunities for children and young people from early years, into further and higher education and into employment.”

(Read More)



Local businesses play their part at new Royton leisure centre

Local businesses are benefiting from the building of the new Royton leisure centre.

Willmott Dixon, Oldham Council’s delivery partner, has awarded contracts to local businesses for major elements of the prestigious £8million sports facility – set to be complete in Autumn 2015.

Today (Wednesday, February 5), Jim McMahon, Oldham Council Leader, met Andy Robinson, of Lewis Facilities at the site. This Chadderton-based firm recently won a £1.3 million contract to carry out the development’s mechanical and electrical engineering works.

Councillor McMahon also met Phil Crowther, co-owner of BJ Crowther Ltd, a bulk and groundwork contractors firm from Oldham, who is carrying out the groundwork and excavation on the site.

Last year Willmott Dixon, who are also building the new Oldham Sports Centre, signed up to the council’s Get Oldham Working Construction Charter which aims to link regeneration projects to employment and training opportunities for local people, as well as ensuring local businesses are involved in supply chain opportunities.

(Read More)

News from Westminster



‘Fat tax’ call to tackle obesity

COUNCILS should be given extra cash from taxes on unhealthy foods to fight the nation’s increasing obesity problem.

Oldham West and Royton MP Michael Meacher says councils should get a fifth of the VAT raised on unhealthy foods.

The Labour veteran said: “This money would be ring-fenced and spent on tackling obesity and the health problems it can cause.

 (Read More)


Meacher in call for straight answers, not spin


OLDHAM MP Michael Meacher is calling for a parliamentary ombudsman to be appointed to stop government hiding information it doesn’t want to reveal.

The Oldham West and Royton MP tabled parliamentary questions to uncover how many people in Oldham have had benefits stopped — only to be told the information was not available.

Weeks later, when he again asked for the figures, the details were published in the Commons library.

Mr Meacher said: “We are in a position where answers are being blocked or not answered properly because the Government doesn’t want the information in the public domain as it will embarrass them.”

Mr Meacher said unacceptable answers could be referred to the ombudsman and end selective answering or blocking.

(Read More)



Sanctions regime slanting jobless figures – MP

BENEFIT sanctions are being used to skew unemployment figures says Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams.

The MP says a new study found 43 per cent of Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants sanctioned leave the allowance system and are removed from unemployment statistics. Around 80 per cent of JSA leavers don’t do so because they have found work.

Mrs Abrahams, who sits on the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) select committee, said: “Academics have shown this Government has developed a culture where Jobcentre Plus staff are expected to harass and sanction claimants using unjust and potentially fraudulent reasons to get them off benefits.

(Read More)



News from the LGA


Jim McMahon argues its time Labour Local Government came out of the shadows.
Lancashire County Council has generated a £52m windfall from investing in the financial markets.
South Tyneside Council has granted planning permission for a new Integrated Care Hub at South Tyneside District hospital.
Haringey Leader, Claire Kober writes the job of a council has changed in recent years beyond all recognition.
Lambeth Leader, Lib Peck argues the Council cannot raid its reserves any more.

News from the District Executives


Chadderton Central based Kingfisher SEN Primary School  invited guests, including locally elected members and sponsors to join parents, staff and children to celebrate their third ‘Outstanding’ OFSTED report, which propelled them in to the top 3% of schools in the country, and not only this, but for the second time OFSTED couldn’t identify any areas for improvement!


The theme of the day was a ‘Day In The Life Of Kingfisher’ – an event which included a performance by the children and a dvd presentation, after which everyone had the opportunity to have a tour round the school.


Joining in the celebrations was Mayor Cllr Fida Hussain and Mayoress Tanver Hussain, taking the dance floor at the end of the presentation to join in with the children as the music played.

Manifesto Launch – 30 pledges for a fairer Oldham


Oldham Labour Group today launched its “30 Pledges for a fairer Oldham” as it laid out its ambitious plan for the borough beyond the 2014 elections.

Labour currently hold 44 of the 60 seats on Oldham Council and approach the local elections in May with an impressive track record. Labour’s award winning Fairness campaigns ranging from Fair Fares (bus fares) and Fair Energy have been held up nationally as best practice with plans to take on high interest retailers through a new Fair Credit campaign and unfair employment through the Fair Employment campaign.

Labour members hear from panel speakers

Labour members hear from panel speakers

Highlights of the launch include;

  • Michael Meacher MP spoke at the launch on the need for a balanced economy and investment to create greater economic benefit.
  • David Heyes MP reviewed the governments approach to ‘Welfare Reform’ and called for a new language of ‘Entitlement’ as a move to end the sigma attached to those claiming benefits who increasingly feel they are under attack.
  • Debbie Abrahams MP discussed her work in tackling inequalities through the Oldham Fairness Commission and how the privatisation of the NHS by the current government was affecting patient care.
  • Cllr Jim McMahon launched the 2014 Manifesto by outlining the challenge ahead and calling a new kind of politics in Oldham which created an ‘Oldham solution for Oldham’ and the need to set the benchmark of fairness.