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Archive for October, 2011

David and I are in agreement…..of sorts!!

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

I listened to David Cameron’s closing speech the other week at the Conservative Party conference and actually found myself agreeing with some of his sentiments.

During his address he talked about the need to tell the truth about the overall economic situation and that people understand that when the economy goes into recession, times get tough. This is something I have already earmarked as a feature in my up and coming keynote speech which I will deliver to the next Full Council meeting in December: tough times, demand tough decisions.

And yes the answers may well be unpalatable, but necessary nonetheless.

I didn’t agree with him, however, when he asserted that public sector pensions are unaffordable. Recently I wrote about the Shadow Pensions Minister’s visit to address the Greater Manchester Pensions Fund’s AGM.

The Fund’s aim is, and always will be, to provide secure pensions effectively administered at an affordable and stable cost to employers. There was recognition that we are certainly succeeding in this regard.

Rachel Reeves, who has now been promoted to a cabinet post, certainly recognised this fact; now I’m waiting for others to visit Tameside and future Pension Fund meetings to give their view. The invites have gone out to Government, with Under Secretary of State for Local Government Bob Neill agreeing to meet me in London. I’ll update you all after the visit.

The problem with housing!

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

When talking about social housing in his closing speech at last week’s Labour Party conference, the leader Ed Miliband said that when we have a housing shortage, choices have to be made.

He asked the question: ‘Do we treat the person who contributes to their community the same as the person who doesn’t? ‘

He answered it himself by saying ‘no’ before adding ‘Our first duty should be to help the person who shows responsibility and I say every council should recognise the contribution that people are making.’

Social housing shouldn’t count against people who strive to hold down a job when it comes to getting a leg up on the social housing property ladder. It should provide for everyone, but certainly those from hard-working families.

There is a growing political consensus on tackling the ’something for nothing’ culture and that those who work and contribute to their local community should be given preference in the allocation of this type of housing.

Here in Tameside we have around 10,000 people who are looking for affordable social housing; that figure is obviously too high.

A recent report also highlighted that the number of households in the borough is projected to increase by 24,000 by 2031, so you can see the problem isn’t going to get any better.

That’s why I intend to work with our social housing partners to investigate why this is the case and, more importantly, search for sustainable ways of tackling this issue as we move forward.

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