WE’VE all heard the joke about politicians’ promises being of the pie-crust variety – easily broken, so it may surprise one or two of you to learn that I keep mine. I take my duties as an elected councillor very seriously. My job is to serve the public.
That’s why I want to take this opportunity to give you an update on the promises I made in my annual state of the area speech to full council last November. I’m pleased to be able to tell you we’re making encouraging progress.
Take the Tameside Loyalty or TLC card. The intention is to get people into our high-street shops by offering special deals available only to members. The idea is proving popular. 170 businesses have signed up and are providing offers to nearly 1,000 residents. Watch out for the red promotional stickers or visit www.tamesideloyaltycard.co.uk
As I’m sure you’re aware, we’ve cut the cost of parking. Motorists using Tameside’s car parks now enjoy the lowest council charges in Greater Manchester at £1 for up to three hours and £2 for an entire day. As with the TLC card the aim is to get people into our town centres.
We’re cutting costs by installing LED street lighting, which uses a fraction of the power needed by standard systems, and by extending the bin swap scheme which will save us thousands in EU landfill tax.
Just to show that not everything’s about balancing the books, I can tell you that, as promised, we’re bringing in free holiday fun for children including swimming and a variety of activity days.
We’re also planning a programme of Easter children’s activities and more for the summer holidays. I believe it’s important to get youngsters outdoors and active. If they learn the benefits of a healthy lifestyle early on they will be well-served in later life.
So as you can see, Tameside Council is keeping its promises. I’ll supply another update later in the year.
Tameside 15 pledges for 2015
• Youth jobs pledge: Six months paid employment for any young person who is unemployed or not in training.
• Tameside Enterprise Scheme: Supporting small businesses that invest in Tameside and mentor young people.
• Free swimming events for the under-16s.
• Fair credit and fair pay: Tameside’s response to unfair payday lenders and our support for the Living Wage.
• Helping older people feel safe in their homes.
• Family activities: A programme of activity days in the school holidays.
• Free travel for the long-term unemployed: Supporting the long-term unemployed with travel costs once they have got back into work.
• Affordable homes reserved for Tameside people.
• Veterans’ Jobs Pledge: Six months’ work, skills training and transition support.
• Town-centre loyalty scheme: Rewarding shoppers who support local businesses.
• £1 million to tidy up town centres: Using local businesses to smarten-up street furniture including bins, benches and bollards.
• Greening Tameside: Rolling out the bin swap and replacing street lights with more effective and environmentally friendly LED lighting.
• £1 million to repair potholes.
• Cheaper car parking: Providing the cheapest council long-stay parking in Greater Manchester.
• Youth Council: Bringing young people closer to the democratic process to have a voice.