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Archive for June, 2014

Show your support for Armed forces Day

Friday, June 27th, 2014

Armed Forces Day has a special poignancy this year. The date, Saturday, 28 June, is 100 years to the day since the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne, was assassinated in Sarajevo. Five weeks later, the First World War had begun.

Many thousands of Tameside men joined the colours between 1914 and 1918. After the outbreak of hostilities they volunteered in huge numbers and after 1916 were conscripted. In 1939 the process began all over again. The Second World War started and the people of our borough were not found wanting.

I’m sure that you, like me, are deeply impressed by the service our men and women have shown for so many years and which they have continued to display on more recent operations in the former Yugoslavia, Iraq and Afghanistan. Sadly, a great many of them made the ultimate sacrifice, a fact to which our many war memorials attest.

For these reasons I would like to invite you to show your appreciation by attending our Armed Forces Day events in Victoria Park, Denton, which have been organised with support from the Ministry of Defence.
They start at 11am tomorrow (28 June) when there will be a short service of remembrance at the war memorial. Then, from 1pm, there will be a huge variety of free family-friendly activities around the bandstand including live music. Military vehicles will be on display in the near-by civic square.

There will also be a chance to see Joey, from the National Theatre’s production of “War Horse”, who will oversee the awarding of the Veterans Badge to WO2 Andrew Headen (103 Regiment, Royal Artillery) who has been in the army for 22 years.

Hopefully the recent good weather will continue until Saturday, so please come and join us in Victoria Park and show your support for Tameside’s servicemen and women – past and present.

Tameside’s on the up!

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

Next week is the first Executive meeting of the cabinet since the election. Amongst a number of important agenda items (which I will touch on in my next week) is my report which sets out Tameside’s approach to economic growth, which outlines an investment strategy for the next 20 years. 

As a borough, Tameside and our people have been hard hit by the recession. Since the start of the financial crisis in 2008 we have looked at every opportunity to attract investment and create growth in our communities.  While central government has withdrawn support to the tune of millions of pounds, we remain steadfast in our approach to active government.

Our approach and determination has already resulted in change you can see before your very eyes, good examples being the investment in Metrolink and inward investment from companies such as Ikea. Very recently we have attracted Ritrama, a manufacturer of self-adhesive materials, who were looking for new premises to expand their operation. This deal has led to the largest industrial letting in the North West this year at Tameside Industrial Park, Dukinfield.

My Deputy and Dukinfield councillor Cllr John Taylor , met with the Ritrama team this week. He informs me that 80 jobs will be created for local residents, putting even more spend back into our local economy. Overall, over the last two years my administration has been instrumental in securing:

•             1320 jobs

•             £25 million of public funding

•             £25 million of private funding

•             550 new homes

Looking forward, at the heart of our 20 year growth and investment plan will be “Vision Tameside”. A gamechager and once in a lifetime opportunity to drive growth and transform the Ashton town centre. This will see the relocation of Tameside College into the town centre area, along with new customer focused council offices (that will reduce our building-running costs by £1.5 million a year) and associated town centre redevelopment. The increased footfall from thousands of students, lecturers, and support staff will bring even more spend into our local economy benefiting local shops and services.

As an added bonus, the new state of the art buildings will complement our heritage buildings such as the town hall and the new market square will create an even nicer centre to visit and shop.  

http://www.visiontameside.com/news/visiontameside-major-investment-bringing-new-jobs-economic-prosperity-and-better-skills/

Why Tameside’s a sporting capital

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

THIS borough has a great sporting tradition and has been home to an impressive number of internationally renowned sports stars.

Most recently, Droylsden gymnast Rebecca Tunney competed at the 2012 London Olympics, but she was following in the footsteps of Hyde’s Lillian Preece, who swam at the 1948 games and captained the GB women’s team four years later.

Ron Hill, also from Hyde, won gold in the marathon at the 1969 European Athletics Championships.

In Formula One we can point to Dukinfield dentist Tony Brooks, described as the best driver never to win the world championship by Stirling Moss, and Ross Brawn, from Ashton, whose team provided the car in which Jenson Button won the 2009 title.

Before the war, Len Hopwood (Hyde) and Norman Oldfield (Dukinfield) both played Test cricket for England. We have Ricky Hatton (Hyde) who won the world light welterweight boxing championship, Eric Evans (Audenshaw) who captained the England rugby union team to the grand slam in 1957, and cycling champion Cyril Cartwright (Dukinfield). I could go on and on as the list is very long.

Tameside’s links to international footballers are very impressive and although this season may not have been as successful as some of our local teams may have hoped – although I must congratulate Curzon Ashton on winning the Northern Premier League first division north title – I am sure everyone will agree with me when I say I am engrossed by the World Cup which started last Thursday.

With Sir Geoff Hurst, Simone Perrotta and Jimmy Armfield all born and bred in Tameside I think we have more of a link with the tournament than virtually anywhere else on the planet, especially when you consider that Alan Ball, another of the heroes of 1966, played a few games for Ashton United when his father, Alan Ball senior, was manager at Hurst Cross.

Even those who would never dream of switching on the TV to watch a game of football, I’m sure, will be just as transfixed by England’s games and, like me, will be glued to their sets in the hope that Roy Hodgson and the team can bounce back from the Italy defeat and deliver on the biggest world footballing stage that there is.

Why apprenticeships are important

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

I recently spoke to Josh, a 21 year old lad from Stalybridge who has been told that he’s been successful in securing an apprenticeship, a job with quality training with the Council. This is just one example of why I am both passionate and determined to expand apprenticeship programmes throughout Tameside.

If our borough is to build a fair, balanced and prosperous economy we need to continue to invest in the combined resources of the Council and partners such as Tameside College.

The alternative of a low wage with a low skilled and insecure labour market will only result in economic and moral failure. I want to ensure that we make best use of the talents of everyone in Tameside and implement a new approach to how we develop technical skills.

A key component of this vision is to enhance the status of vocational education and apprenticeships. While I have welcomed the expansion of higher education under successive governments in recent years, employers have been concerned that the technical skills required for their industries have been lacking from the graduate base.

Indeed, Josh told me that initially he was considering going to university until he was made aware of the post A-Levels vocational training option. I want to see that our young and not so young have this genuine choice when it comes to career path choices.

A gold standard academic route and a gold standard apprenticeship route: under this vision we will have a highly skilled workforce, drive up productivity and underpin higher wages and importantly ensure that we have all young people either in education or employment in Tameside by 2020.

Thank you and welcome

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

The public have spoken and new and not so new faces have been elected. Thank you to all those who took part and administered the local and European elections. It is now down to the business of providing political leadership in Tameside.

While writing this blog on my way back from a meeting reviewing the Universal Credit, I wanted to pen a bit of advice for the new councillors that are joining us. Firstly I extend a warm welcome to those new members of our Council, who together with our new Mayor will be confirmed at our Full Council AGM tonight. I hope their outside experiences; enthusiasm and knowledge help shape and challenge our policies over the coming years. They should never lose sight of who elected them, balance their commitments between ward and town hall business and make space for family and friends. Serving as a councillor can become all-consuming.

Together with my cabinet and political colleagues I am humbled by the mandate given to serve. We must listen, respond and support our communities more than ever before. Over the coming months and years we will take advantage of the challenges and opportunities presented to us. One such challenge will be the additional central government cuts imposed upon our borough. I have made it clear that services and people are paramount to buildings. I want this Council to instil a culture of ambition and fairness to all, make our communities safer and stronger, create more jobs and investment for Tameside and continue to ensure that our neighbourhoods are cleaner and greener.

For a full breakdown of the election results visit: http://core.tameside.gov.uk/elections/electionresults.asp
You can also view the Council meeting live from 5pm by clicking on the following link: www.tameside.gov.uk/fullcouncil/broadcast

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