Q1 Oldham Council Leaders Questions – Who decides on the GMSF Plan?
Mr Mayor, my first question to the Leader tonight returns to a subject that I asked him about in September – who will be responsible for taking the decision in this Council whether to adopt the final proposals for the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework.
I make no apology for asking this question again as circumstances seem to have changed on this issue since we last spoke in this Chamber about it.
On 1 October 2018, the Mayor of Greater Manchester and the ten Council leaders who are the Greater Manchester Combined Authority issued a media release which stated categorically that:
Leaders also commit to ensuring that the formal draft plan is put before each Council to ensure real democratic debate and scrutiny.
The draft Greater Manchester Spatial Framework must be approved by each and every local council next summer.
The Mayor and Leaders have today made clear that regardless of the requirements, they are committed to ensuring that the formal draft Plan is put before each Council to ensure real democratic engagement, debate and scrutiny.
Local ward councillors will have their say on this plan.
Throughout this process we have always committed to taking the GMSF through local councils.
On 30 November 2018, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority issued a further statement which stated categorically that:
“Before we go out to consultation for a second time (in the summer of 2019) the revised Greater Manchester Spatial Framework will be taken to all the local authorities and councils within the city-region for discussion, debate and ultimately sign-off.”
As I read these two statements, they would appear to imply that all Greater Manchester local authority leaders, including yourself, have agreed to bring the draft GMSF plan before a full meeting of their local Council for scrutiny and debate and for ward members to vote on whether their local Council chooses to adopt the plan?
This appears to be a contrary position to the one that you outlined in your response to my question on the matter at the September meeting of full Council. Here you indicated that you as Leader would make the final decision.
Please can I ask the Leader of the Council to clarify the current position as he sees it?
Q2 Oldham Council Leaders Questions – Coping with Brexit
Mr Mayor, for my second question to the Leader tonight I would like to turn to Brexit, more specifically the serious threat a No-Deal Brexit will pose.
The last Council presented a report which stated that: “It is looking increasingly likely that a ‘no-deal’ Brexit is the most likely outcome…”
This would result in a downturn in economic productivity and growth in our region as the EU accounts for almost sixty percent of our export market.
The cost of imported raw materials and components are already increasing, in part because of the falling value of the pound. This will also impact on employment and on wage rates which will be devastating as Oldham working families are already amongst the poorest in the UK.
But this is NOT the worst of it. Former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab admitted the Government was preparing to stockpile food.
Health Secretary Matthew Hancock admitted discussions on building up NHS reserves of vaccinations, blood products and medical supplies had been held.
But it is impossible to stockpile advance supplies of fresh food, as by their nature they are perishable, and many patients rely of medicines with a short shelf-life.
Essentials will therefore have to be flown into the UK at great expense, while stuff rots at our ports which become gigantic truck parks with no drivers to drive them!
I say flown, but this is of course assumes that the Government can obtain the necessary export permits, complete the necessary new bureaucracy and obtain the flight-certified aircraft to do the job.
Frankly this sounds like a scenario akin to the Berlin Airlift of 1948 rather than Great Britain in 2018.
Seventy years ago, the Western allies had to overcome the Communist Soviet military blockade of that city to prevail.
Here common-sense has yet to prevail against the bigotry, narrow-mindedness of Little Englanders and the swivel eyed loons determined to break faith with our European neighbours.
Mr Mayor, this is frightening stuff, made more so in a borough where we already have so many poor citizens reliant on emergency Food Bank supplies, a great many with chronic and long-term health conditions.
I am sorry to say that this is not the script of a post-Apocalyptic movie this is just weeks away.
The people in charge of this mess and our country; in the middle of the most important constitutional change since Henry 8 or Oliver Cromwell; now decide to have a leadership contest and oust the Prime Minister!
They have done more to damage our reputation in the world; and the Union that is the United Kingdom; at a single stroke than any event in modern history!
Words fail me.
Firstly please could the leader tell us what is being done by this Council, in conjunction with our partners in the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, to plan measures to mitigate for a possible No-deal Brexit?
Secondly would he be willing to join with me in sending a joint letter to the three Members of Parliament who represent our Borough asking them to support a second people’s referendum, with the option on the ballot paper to remain in the European Union and retain the many benefits accruing from membership, before any move by this Government to take our nation over the abyss into Brexit?