Instead these local elections are about electing councillors who, instead of posturing, will face the challenges in local government head on – delivering services you expect whilst squeezing better value from your Council Tax.
When the Liberal Democrats ran the council, we delivered award-winning local services whilst averting imminent financial disaster; in opposition, we have acted responsibly, challenging Labour where necessary and working with them whenever we can.
In contrast, what have the Conservatives done as an opposition party? The answer is simple: nothing – apart from voting with Labour!
We believe that the council must:
Get the basics right.
• Oldham people want clean streets, potholes filled and bins collected.
• Under the Liberal Democrats, Oldham officially had the cleanest streets in Greater Manchester – under Labour they are only getting dirtier.
• Under the Lib Dems, £10 million was found for highway improvements – under Labour only £2 million.
Save money on bureaucracy whilst protecting front-line services.
• In our last two alternative budgets, we found money to keep the Bulky Bob household collection service free, for more gully cleaning, and for better care for our elderly and looked-after children – ideas all dismissed by Labour and Conservatives.
Devolve real power and budgets to local communities
• Lib Dem councillors have always championed independent district partnerships. We also serve enthusiastically on two Parish Councils.
Find ways to generate new income.
• Liberal Democrats want council investment in renewable energy projects. This is good for our environment and the council’s finances too – bringing in sustainable income for at least the next quarter century.
Labour will no doubt blame the Liberal Democrats for ‘the cuts’.
They won’t tell you that cuts were only necessary because they left the country in financial ruin or that Oldham Liberal Democrats successfully lobbied minsters to stop further cuts in our finances.
Labour say they support the poor and make great play of their Council Tax freeze (paid for by Coalition Government money).
Labour last year hit everyone with a 3.7% Council Tax increase and forced our poorest citizens to pay Council Tax for the first time.
And they have only spent a third of the extra money given to them by this government to help the poor.
Liberal Democrats championed a plan to reduce the impact of welfare reform on the disabled and proposed a Council Tax hardship fund paid for by the airport dividend.
Labour say they support workers.
Yet they imposed a three year pay freeze on lower-paid Council workers
Instead the Liberal Democrats demanded that council jobs went to local people and that the council should become a National Living Wage employer.
Voting Liberal Democrat means supporting sound finance and reliable public services, and a party putting people and communities first.
It means you will elect a local councillor who will champion your community and area, and be on your side!
Cllr Howard Sykes
Lib Dem Group Leader Oldham Council
16th May 2014