Welcome to the Rochdale Liberal Democrats website. We aim to keep you fully updated and informed about the work we are doing on the borough.You can sign up to get a regular email to keep you in touch with our activities locally and nationally. Or check the news page to see what is happening.
We want to hear from you if there is anything you feel needs doing to help improve the community in and around Rochdale. Whether it's a proposal for action, a problem you need resolving, please feel free to contact us here, or if you would like to get more involved, you can get in touch here.
We're in the process of updating our manifesto, and before it's finalised, we'll be posting our thoughts on key issues for the community on the manifesto page, and we always welcome additional feedback.
The Rochdale Liberal Democrats Team
Rochdale Lib Dem Leader Councillor Andy Kelly has called for school crossing patrols to renamed 'community crossing patrols' to properly reflect the excellent job they do in making our streets safer for all. He called for the change at a meeting of Rochdale Borough Council. He made the request as he called on the Council to continue to fund the patrols. The Labour Council are currently consulting on forcing schools to pay for the patrols.
Councillor Kelly said: "Crossing patrols protect all residents, not just school children. The Council are attempting to abdicate any responsibility by claiming these patrols are just for school children. This is simply untrue: community crossing patrols benefit all local people and it shouldn't be the responsibility of hard up schools to pay for them. If this goes through it will amount to a £300,000 education cut in the Borough. It is simply irresponsible politics and yet another example of this Labour Council making the wrong choices."
He continued: "I'd like to make a proposal that we rename the service "Community Crossing Patrols" to reflect the fact that they keep our young people and residents safer. Labour should throw out this idea to force schools to pay and commit to continuing providing a service that so many people rely on.
"How do we pay for this you ask? What about getting rid of trade union officials who remain untouchable at this Council? Are they more important than the safety of our young people? Their jobs seem to be the safest on this Council."
After the meeting, Councillor Kelly said: "My proposal received the support of Councillors across the chamber. I think the Labour Council thought they could push this through without any protest. They certainly underestimated teachers, governors and parents. Changing the name of this vital service will safeguard its future. It will mean that the Council will have to continuing coughing up money which, in the scheme of things, is small change compared to the many vanity projects this Council waste money on."
The Labour Council refused to commit to continue paying for this service at the meeting. They claimed that schools have a surplus that they can use to pay for this, something governors and headteachers vehemently dispute.
The Liberal Democrats are the only political party in Rochdale who back increasing the amount of MPs in the Borough of Rochdale. At a full meeting of the Council, the Conservatives backed a Labour motion to retain the status quo. This raised eyebrows as the re-drawing of Parliamentary Boundaries and the reduction of MPs is a Conservative Government policy.
Local Lib Dem Leader Councillor Andy Kelly has backed Boundary Commission proposals that will lead to the Borough having three MPs fighting its cause.
He told the meeting: "In opposing the proposed boundary changes, Mr Mayor, I must say that the theme of this motion has been driven by a Press Release written by the office of MP Simon Danczuk, who I know many of you still fanatically support, including members of this Borough's Conservative Party. I support the proposals of the Boundary Commission for one simple reason: three parliamentary champions for our borough are better than the current situation. Three is better than one, I say.
"Currently, this borough has one parliamentarian who put the interests of this Borough first. That is Heywood and Middleton's Liz McInnes. I've no doubt that the decision to split the Rochdale Constituency is influenced by the behaviour of Rochdale's current Member of Parliament. The manner in which Simon Danczuk, supported by his 'responsible' drinking buddy Richard Farnell has abused his position has brought the position of Rochdale's Member of Parliament into disrepute. Getting caught falsely claiming expenses running into thousands of pounds hasn't helped. Not once, not twice but three times… and there's more to come. His sexual exploits have hit the front pages as has his behaviour in general. The Boundary Commission, if their proposals - which we fully support go through - will do us a favour.
"No longer will our Borough have to cope with half our MPs doing so much damage. We will then have three representatives fighting our cause. Only then - can they can get on with the job of fighting for a Borough currently ranked, under Labour as the '…most declining in Britain' with one of the lowest life expectancies. I know many Labour members support me in this - have the courage of your convictions and vote tonight for another seat for our borough in the mother of all Parliaments."
In what must be the most difficult job in politics, disgraced Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk is advertising for a new Communication's Officer role - under the Labour Party banner. The advert appears on the website w4mp.com - a site that is an MP's favourite for employing staff. It is advertised as a Labour MP's appointment. This is despite currently being suspended by the Labour Party.
Local Lib Dem Leader Councillor Andy Kelly said: "Yet again Mr Danczuk is 'masquerading' as a Labour MP despite being suspended over lewd, lurid texts to a teenage girl. Unless Jeremy Corbyn has made a decision on his future and not telling anybody this is deliberate misrepresentation. I wrote to Ian McNichol, General Secretary of the Labour Party, months ago pointing out that Danczuk was still using Labour Party branding on his website. Nothing happened and to this day - his internet presence still remains the same. If Labour have made a decision on Danczuk's future then Jeremy Corbyn must come clean and say so. It will send a clear message that under Jeremy Corbyn's Leadership - Simon Danczuk's behaviour is acceptable."
Danczuk's staffing arrangements have long been controversial. Questions remain whether he still employs his ex-wife Karen part-time in his office. Recently his former caseworker Elsie Wraight caused controversy when she became Council Leader Richard Farnell's taxpayer funded PA - despite the job not being advertised. He was also criticised at Christmas for employing a 'crisis management' adviser on the taxpayer at a time when his bad behaviour was splashed on the front of all the tabloids.
Former leader of Rochdale Council, Councillor Irene Davidson has slammed Labour plans to merge the four Township Planning sub-committees as an "... affront to democracy". She was speaking as the Council prepared to make the decision at the next full meeting of Rochdale Council tomorrow night (Wednesday, 18th October). Irene, a member of the current Pennines Planning Sub-Committee claims that it shows "how little interest Labour have in local decision making". She is supported by local Lib Dem Leader Councillor Andy Kelly, and there have also been complaints from Labour Councillors furious at the move.
Irene said: "Planning decisions affect local communities in many ways including impacting on school places, on health services and on our roads and general environment. To centralise planning decisions in this way shows the contempt that Council Leader Richard Farnell and his Labour cronies have for devolution. Take, for example, the decision on a significant development at Coral Mill, off Shaw Road in Newhey taken last year. Sixty-nine homes were given the green light by a Labour dominated Pennines Planning sub-committee. No attempt was made to force the developer to contribute to minimalising the impact on existing residents, via a Section 106 order (an order that forces developers to make a significant financial contribution to the community) for example. It was a failure that let down so many local people."
If the ruling goes through, it will mean that Councillor Davidson will no longer be able to make decisions on planning.
Councillor Andy Kelly said: "We will be objecting in the strongest possible terms to Labour's plans. I will be encouraging the Conservative Group to join us in opposition and would ask those Labour Councillors who have contacted us to complain to have the courage of their convictions and vote against an increasingly authoritarian ruling Labour Group. The Liberal Democrats in Milnrow, Newhey and Ogden will have no say on planning if this goes through. It is an affront to democracy, especially when you consider all the applications for building on flood plains - linked to the worsening flooding problems on our patch. It is ridiculous - particularly when you consider that this is a crucial time to get planning right. Labour cite the fact that Heywood Township sometimes has no applications. Yet, under Labour's Local Housing Plan, they plan to build thousands of houses in Heywood. It is short-sighted, self-defeating and must be defeated."
Lib Dem Leader in Rochdale, Councillor Andy Kelly has reported Greater Manchester Police to a police watchdog for failing to log calls. Greater Manchester Police has failed to log more than 38,000 calls - including an astonishing 25% of violent crimes. Now the Lib Dems are calling for a thorough investigation by the Independent Police Complaint's Commission. The force, run by Labour politician and current Mayor Tony Lloyd, has been slammed as "inadequate" by national watchdog Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary.
Andy said: "I have not taken this decision lightly. It is clear that a thorough investigation is needed though. People need to have confidence in policing. In the fight against crime every penny counts. The Police distribute funding and officers based on the crime rates. It's clear that Labour's police bosses have absolutely no idea what's going on out there. It's inconceivable that we won't be losing out on officers. The blame lies squarely with Labour. It was only last year that they were claiming crime was going down. Now we find out that at best they have failed to do their job in recording crime. At worst, it is a deliberate manipulation of figures. We need answers."
Lib Dem Mayoral candidate for Greater Manchester Jane Brophy said: "If the public are to have confidence in the Police, we need to know that all the calls are being logged. No-one calls the Police just to have their concerns ignored. Tackling rising crime is a priority for me."
Councillor Kelly continued: "My complaint against Greater Manchester Police relates to the failure to log 38,000 calls a year. Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) have reported that GMP recorded around 85 per cent of crimes BUT the force was under-recording some serious offences. A quarter of violent crimes, equivalent to more than 16,800 offences, went unrecorded in a year according to the HMIC. Greater Manchester Police (GMP) was graded "inadequate" at recording crime. HMIC also found officers were also wrongly cancelling recorded violence, robbery and sex offences.
"This is an extremely serious matter and could skew how resources to fight crime are distributed across Greater Manchester. It is my view that Greater Manchester Police are letting down victims of crime across Greater Manchester. I would like to see an investigation into the reasons why such a huge number of crimes have not been recorded. Statistics are crucial when allocating resources and it is clear that as a result of failing to record accurate crime figures, Greater Manchester Police have no idea about the true picture regarding crime across our area.
"It is crucial that the public have confidence that their complaints to the Police are taken seriously. I cannot, say hand on heart that this is currently the case. I would like to see an investigation into the training provided to staff. Further to this, I would like to see the rules with regards to the previous training of staff that has led to the under reporting of crime."