Liberal Democrat Shadow Cabinet and team announced for 2018/19

The Leader of the Opposition and of the Liberal Democrat Group on Oldham Council, Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, has today announced the appointment of his Shadow Cabinet Team and membership of outside bodies and committees for 2018/19.

Councillor Howard Sykes said:  “I am looking forward to once more leading the opposition team on Oldham Council. The Council will have a new Labour Leader and a reshuffled administration.”

“Voters can rest assured that the Oldham Liberal Democrats will remain constant in opposing waste and inefficiency and in always speaking up for fair treatment for our citizens and for value-for-money and common sense,” he added.  “As ever, the Liberal Democrats remain the only party holding Labour to account on Oldham Council, and we shall continue to take that responsibility seriously.”

Shadow Cabinet Members: 

Name of Councillor Portfolio
Howard Sykes MBE Economy and Enterprise (Opposition Leader)
Hazel Gloster Education and Culture
Julia Turner Children’s Services
Garth Harkness Employment and Skills
Derek Heffernan Health and Social Care
Dave Murphy Neighbourhood Services
Diane Williamson Policing and Community Safety
Diane Williamson Housing
Chris Gloster Finance and Corporate Resources (Opposition Deputy Leader)

 Official Spokespersons / Lead Members on Boards and Committees: 

Name of Councillor Board / Committee
Howard Sykes MBE Transport for Greater Manchester Committee
Chris Gloster Audit Committee
Diane Williamson Overview and Scrutiny Board
Garth Harkness Performance and Value for Money Committee
Hazel Gloster Planning Committee
Chris Gloster Licensing Committee
Diane Williamson Standards Committee
Howard Sykes MBE Health and Well-being Board
Dave Murphy Petitions and Traffic Regulation Orders
Howard Sykes MBE Commons Registration
Howard Sykes MBE Selection
Hazel Gloster GM Scrutiny Pool

District Executives: 

Name of Councillor District Executive
Diane Williamson Chair, Shaw and Crompton
Garth Harkness Official Spokesperson, Saddleworth and Lees


Liberal Democrats back Moves to curb Addictive Gambling

The Oldham Liberal Democrat Group has welcomed news that a move to cut the maximum stake on addictive gambling machines from £100 to £2 that could be announced soon.

The government is understood to have accepted recommendations that stakes for Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) should be reduced to £2, and a final announcement is expected shortly now the local elections are over.

Commenting, Leader of the Opposition and of the Oldham Liberal Democrat Group, Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, said: “Bringing the stakes down to £2 would help prevent vulnerable players from losing £100 in seconds in a single play, which many people simply cannot afford to lose.  It is an issue that Liberal Democrats have been campaigning on for a while now, and we back Government action being taken on this issue.”

“The harm to individuals, and their family members, caused by addictive gambling is becoming an issue of growing national concern.  Research has shown that problem gambling, often linked to FOBTs, leads to debt, anti-social behaviour, crime and poor mental health.  This creates huge costs for the NHS, councils and the criminal justice system.  People losing money through Fixed Odds Betting Terminals often turn to payday lenders and loan sharks to pay off debts or fund their gambling habit.”


Fixed Odds Betting Terminals or B2s are touch screen roulette machines found in betting shops across Britain, on which gamblers can play casino style games, currently with a £100 maximum stake per spin.

Oldham Council Liberal Democrat Opposition Leadership Team announced for 2018/19

At a Group meeting held on 9 May, the Oldham Borough Liberal Democrat Group appointed, unanimously and un-opposed, Councillor Howard Sykes MBE as their Leader and Councillor Chris Gloster as their Deputy Leader.  The Group also elected its other officers for the year.

Councillor Howard Sykes said:  “I am grateful to my colleagues for their unanimous support once more for my work as Group Leader.  Sadly the former Deputy Leader John McCann lost his seat in last week’s local elections and I shall miss his expertise and enthusiasm, but I am looking forward to working with our new Deputy Leader, Chris Gloster.”

“I am also pleased to welcome my new ward colleague, Councillor Hazel Gloster, to the group, and to welcome back Councillor Dave Murphy.  They both have proven records of working for the people of Crompton and Shaw and I know that they will make a real difference.  The Liberal Democrats remain the only real opposition party holding Labour to account on Oldham Council.”

“The voters who backed us can reassured that, under my leadership, we will continue as a Group to speak out and to work as a united team.  We will offer common-sense solutions to the Borough’s problems and challenge the Labour Administration to cut waste and provide the value-for-money services that the public wants.”

“As the Liberal Democrat Opposition, we shall also oppose further central government cuts to Council finances and fight plans by the Greater Manchester Mayor and Labour leaders to build thousands of houses on our irreplaceable Green Belt. And green spaces.”

The Liberal Democrat Group: Leader – Howard Sykes; Deputy Leader – Chris Gloster; Group Chair – Dave Murphy; Political Secretary – Garth Harkness; Treasurer – Hazel Gloster; Group Secretary – Diane Williamson.

Shaw and Crompton election results 3 May 2018

Many thanks to those who supported us in the elections on May 3.

Shaw Ward

Result: LIB DEM Hold

Turnout: 30.57%

Name of Candidate Party Number of votes
The Conservative Party Candidate 427
The Liberal Party Candidate 217
  Liberal Democrats 1,023
Labour and Co-operative Party 672

Crompton Ward

Result: LIB DEM Hold

Turnout: 32.25%

Name of Candidate Party Number of votes
Labour Party 628
The Conservative Party Candidate 541
  Liberal Democrats 1,359
Q Independent 102

Let no primary school child go hungry, say Liberal Democrats

Healthy school meal

The Leader of the Opposition and of the Oldham Liberal Democrat Group, Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, has contrasted the recent attempt by the Conservative Government to curtail the entitlement to free school meals from children from the country’s poorest families to his own party’s policy.

Councillor Sykes said: “The Conservatives seem to be on their own in wanting to change the rules to prevent children from households receiving Universal Credit from getting a free hot meal at school every day.  This would hit Oldham especially hard as Oldham Borough has the single greatest number of Universal Credit recipients in the UK.  Many of these will be parents with children and, as I highlighted in a question to the Council leader at our last full Council meeting (28 March), Oldham features at the top of national figures for child poverty and food poverty.”

He added:  “The Conservatives mean spiritedness is in marked contrast to the generosity of the Liberal Democrats.  It is our policy to provide free school meals to every child in every state primary school, whatever their age or their family’s financial circumstances.  This will remove the stigma that is sometimes wrongly attached to claiming a free school meal and it will mean that no child will attend classes hungry, so they will be able to focus on their studies and not on their stomach.  This will help to tackle Oldham massive under performance in education.”

Liberal Democrats back real help for the homeless

The Oldham Liberal Democrats are backing real help for the homeless and those applicants who remain stuck on housing waiting lists.

Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, Leader of the Oldham Liberal Democrat Group and Leader of the Opposition on Oldham Council, has recently discussed the matter at the party’s spring conference in Southport where housing policy was debated.

Commenting, he said:  “I am pleased to report that Liberal Democrat councillors successfully tabled a motion that was accepted by conference as party policy allowing Councils to be able to scrap the ‘right to buy’ and the housing borrowing cap.”

Councillor Sykes added: “Scrapping the automatic ‘right to buy’ will mean that no more council and housing association properties will be sold.  Scrapping the housing borrowing cap will mean that Councils can borrow more to build a greater number of homes for rent, replacing some of those sold under ‘right to buy’.”

He concluded:  “The adoption of this conference resolution demonstrates once again that the Liberal Democrats have practical, achievable policies on housing that will help ensure everyone has an affordable place to live that they can call home.”