Lib Dem Alternative Budget 2012/13 Final Proposals Published

“The thinking behind the Liberal Democrats’ alternative budget could not be more straightforward”, says their leader, Howard Sykes. “The public have told us again and again what they want from the council: ‘Forget the gimmicks and get the basics right.’ We’ve listened and delivered it.”

The alternative budget, entitled “A Citizen Led Budget” proposes investment in repairing roads and cleaning up the borough – the top two priorities by a substantial margin in the council’s public consultation and the top two from the Lib Dems’ own extensive surveys.

The other big consultation – the Leisure Review – also meets with a positive answer. The Lib Dem budget identifies money to replace both Royton and Crompton pools – there or elsewhere. “It is the will, not the money, which is lacking”, says Howard.

“It must have been the biggest response and most decisive result of any consultation in the borough’s history. Labour was not open about its intentions and was deaf to democracy. We will put that right.”

Lynne Thompson, Liberal Democrat Finance Spokesperson, describes the proposals for the roads. “It has become citizens’ number one concern yet Labour ignores it”, she says. “It is obvious that spending the winter filling huge potholes is ineffective. Much better and cheaper to fill the new ones before they can become craters. The Lib Dems propose a ‘summer pothole blitz’. A quarter of a million pounds invested would save not just a fortune but the public’s bent wheels and fraying nerves.”

“We were also struck by the pent-up need in the local resurfacing schemes councillors put forward. We propose a large one-off cash injection to clear the most dangerous borough-wide.”

Eight extra street cleaners, backed up by two neighbourhood enforcement officers, would make an immediate difference to street cleanliness. A new enforcement pilot project would see six more officers detecting culprits, trying out new techniques of deterrence and targeting dog fouling. With £2m a year spent clearing rubbish, they would pay for themselves.

Community Payback stays. The public likes to see people make amends; the work is useful; and it reduces reoffending.

Youth services get a boost, with the emphasis on filling gaps and diverting young people at risk of antisocial behaviour. Go!Oldham’s success proves it works.

The popular Sunday opening of the central library and gallery would continue under Lib Dem proposals. A different clientele from weekdays includes families, full-time workers and students.

Labour’s plans to slow Housing and Council Tax benefit claims are axed as risky and unfair.

And how is it paid for?

The Lib Dems would squeeze the back office harder to boost services and it would not fritter away money on the gimmick projects we are sure to see over the coming months. Windfall reductions in transport and waste levies should be invested to reduce future costs, as should £1m provision kept ‘up the sleeve’ until final government confirmation that it was not needed.

The document can be access on Oldham Council’s website at:$

Sykes welcomes achievements of Affordable warmth initiative

 Date: 7th June 2011


Sykes welcomes achievements of Affordable warmth initiative

Councillor Howard Sykes, Liberal Democrat leader of the opposition on Oldham Council is delighted with the success of the Affordable Warmth initiative.

 Councillor Sykes said: “This was one of many initiatives which we brought in during the three years we ran Oldham Council from 2008 -11.  We decided that rather than just accept that more than 10,000 families were suffering fuel poverty and that thousands of homes had sub standard insulation, we would do something about it.”

 He added: “To us in the Lib Dems it all made sense, better insulated and warmer homes improves the quality of life for our residents, improves health and reduces pressure on NHS services. It ticks all the boxes and is win win as far as we are concerned.”

 He continued: “Our only disappointment was that the economic climate made it difficult to put more money in, but the extra £53k we found in the budget last year helped bring in over £6M of new money to Oldham allowing 3,000 energy efficiency measures to be installed and 200 residents advised on how to get out of fuel poverty”.

 Councillor Sykes concluded: “Despite being only the first year of a three year programme, this scheme was already hugely successful at targeting the elderly, the less well off and the vulnerable in our Borough, all of which makes it even more surprising that the new Labour administration want to cut the extra funding and want to dismantle the scheme.”           


Community waste fund – cash could be better spent – claims Lib Dem Sykes

Date: 19th May 2011    


Community waste fund – cash could be better spent – claims Lib Dem Sykes

Councillor Howard Sykes, Oldham Liberal Democrat Group Leader expresses his dismay at the recent announcement that the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority (GMWDA) is to re-launch the Community Waste Fund.

Councillor Sykes said: “I don’t doubt that there is merit in the Community Waste Fund and I wish those groups bidding for it well; however, it does nothing for tens of thousands of residents of Oldham, Shaw, Royton, Crompton and Saddleworth who are going to lose their rubbish and recycling facility at Beal Hey in Shaw.  The £100K for this scheme would go a long way to keep this valuable facility open.”

“The GMWDA are spending considerable time, energy and money on an advertising campaign to encourage Community groups to bid for grants to improve recycling when my local community already has a hugely popular and very well used facility owned by the GMWDA at Beal Hey,” he added.

He continued: “Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority instead of spending time and money on needless advertising campaigns should focus on repaying the commitment to recycling shown by the citizens of this Borough and overturn the short-sighted and frankly ludicrous decision to close Beal Hey.  That closure will result in longer journeys and a much increased carbon footprint for those prepared to travel the extra distance to Arkwright Street on the other side of Oldham.”

“My fear is fly-tipping will go through the roof locally and as a result Shaw & Crompton will become a much dirtier place,” claimed local Lib Dem Councillor Howard Sykes.

He concluded: “Beal Hey ticks all the boxes when it comes to getting the community involved in meeting the recycling target of 50% by 2020; it really is time the Waste Disposal Authority got its act together and proved they are as serious about recycling as the people of Shaw and Crompton are.”


Copy of original GMWDA media release on this matter.

Community Waste Fund

Back by popular demand! -The GMWDA Community Waste Fund 2011

For 2011-12 the Community Waste Fund is bigger. Due to the success and oversubscription of the fund last year the Authority has agreed to increase the amount available to community groups to £100k, so this year we will be allocating the fund over two rounds.

We hope this will encourage more groups to apply and give groups more time to consider whether their project idea is relevant for the Fund. All of the criteria for applicants remain the same. However in the first round this year we want emphasise increasing our recycling rate across Greater Manchester.

Important dates for your funding calendar

The first funding round for 2011 will be open on 9th May 2011 and will close on 17th June 2011. The second funding round for this year will open on 5th December 2011 and close on the 20th January 2012. Just the same as last year applicants will be able to access the guidance for applicants online and will need to complete an initial online Expression of Interest Form.

 Help us exceed a 50% recycling rate by 2020!

The aim of the fund is to provide funding for projects that will make an impact on the amount of waste produced in Greater Manchester. We are supporting projects that will positively impact on our Municipal Waste Management Strategy (MWMS) targets and help reach our goal of zero waste to landfill.

This year we are encouraging applications from projects that we help us increase recycling rates in Greater Manchester. Our aim is to get local groups such as tenants and residents groups and community groups to think of innovative ways to help residents to recycle right and to recycle more. Please note that applications for other projects that meet our criteria will still be considered.

To view the press release please click here.

Community Waste Fund NEWS UPDATE
2010 funded projects

Last year we supported 6 community organisations to help us reduce waste in Greater Manchester, however we had applications from more than 37 groups and so we had to make some very difficult decisions. All projects have started and are well underway.

Pearls Scrap Store – Rochdale: To increase the number and range of business donating ‘waste’ items and increase scrap store membership and activities with schools and community groups.
Project co-ordinator Tina Wright 01706 861811

Wesley Community Furniture Project Manchester: The project aims to increase the value of some ‘antique’ items donated for reuse through restoration and refurbishment, develop volunteer skills and increase revenue.
Project co-ordinator: Richard Lockwood 0161 232 0631

Rebuild – Bury: The project proposes to work with Rochdale Council  to pilot a furniture re-use service in neighbouring areas of Rochdale.
Project co-ordinator Liz Jackson 0161 764 0444

Nationwide Cycling Academy-Bury: The project aims to develop a sustainable method to reuse unwanted bikes to provide affordable safe reconditioned bikes to increase access to affordable bikes for local communities and to enable volunteers to gain certified cycle maintenance training.
Project co-ordinator Julie Woodruff 0161 7739566

Monton Community Association- Salford: To undertake a 12- 24 month programme of waste prevention activities with Monton residents, community groups and businesses to reduce waste increase recycling and reuse by working directly with local people. The programme will also aim to increase recycling rates, reduce waste and develop community cohesion and involvement.
Project co-ordinator Joy Dent 07779608203

Emerge- Manchester: To develop a community champions volunteering project that will, over 12 months, recruit and train at least 10 reduce, reuse and recycle community champions in each district.
Project co-ordinator Denise Lambert 0161 2238200

 You told us how we could improve the Fund

This is only the second year of the fund and we are still learning and improving how we manage the Fund. In April we contacted every group that applied for funding in 2010 and asked them to tell us what they thought of the Community Waste Fund application process. We sent out 37 feedback forms and got a 13.5 % return. We received some very positive comments which suggested that we are going in the right direction. As a result of this feedback we have kept the application process the same as last year.

We have considered comments about the feedback process for unsuccessful applicants and, as a result we will be speeding up our feedback to unsuccessful projects and making our comments much clearer.

Some applicants wanted more support with completing the application form, so we will now ensure that all CVS’s in Greater Manchester are aware of the fund and able to support groups through the application process. 

If you have any enquires regarding the Fund or Community Groups, then please email