Rochdale Liberal Democrat 2007 Manifesto

April 19, 2007 1:18 AM

Council Leader Alan Taylor said: "In May, 2007, the Liberal Democrats took control of our Council for the first time ever. We put together an exciting new programme of change and improvements for our Borough. One year on we have delivered on our promises, which has led to the award of an improving 3 star Council from the Audit Commission.

"This manifesto demonstrates some of our achievements and sets out our next step, our priorities for the coming year. We continue to highlight jobs,health, our environment, community safety and are continuing to ensure that every child matters.

"We have brought a fresh approach to our running of the Council this year. This is your Council, and it is starting to put you, the customer first.

"This is an exciting time for the Rochdale Borough. The Liberal Democrats have an exciting and radical programme to change our Council and our Borough.

"One of the great successes of last year's successful Local Election Campaign was publishing an election manifesto - it's important to know what you are voting. Here are just of the highlights from the 2007 Manifesto:"

A Low Tax, Best Value Council

The Liberal Democrats have, in their first budget, set the lowest Council Tax increase for over a decade, and lower than the national average. We have achieved this despite a continuing failure of national government to reform

local taxation.

A Council Tax as low as possible can only be achieved by a strong commitment to Value for Money.

These two themes - a Low Tax, Best Value Council are a cornerstone of this Liberal Democrat Council.

The Voluntary Sector

For the first time, the Liberal Democrats have guaranteed 3-year inflation-proofed funding for the voluntary sector.

We are increasing funding for groups that are delivering the Council's priorities, and funding new groups for the first time.

We will commission more services from the Voluntary Sector.

Our Green Vision

We aspire to move from being one of the worst recycling Boroughs in Greater Manchester to being one of the best. We are looking to offer an improved recycling service for schools, the Council itself, and charities. We have delivered on our pledge to set up a 'Green Team'. This team will, over the coming years, ensure that protecting our environment and tackling climate change are built into Council policy.

Affordable Social Housing

In our renegotiation of the Council's contract with Rochdale Boroughwide Housing, we aim to build new affordable social housing.

We have allocated £7.5 million for environmental improvements on Council Estates. We have introduced Introductory Tenancies to give us powers of eviction with problem tenants.

A Listening Council

This Liberal Democrat Council is answerable to you, the residents and the electorate. At the moment, our decisions can be called in for review only by other councillors.

We will propose that Council decisions can be called in by any one hundred residents - and that includes 100 schoolchildren if a decision has been made affecting them.

We continue to affect a fundamental change of attitude across the Council.

Residents must come first! In 2007-8 we will have a People's Champion, and will press ahead with the 'One Stop Shops' in each township so that residents can easily access council services.

Aspirations of Older People

Almost one third of residents are over 50. This older part of the population is generally healthier and has a longer life expectancy than previous generations. We want to scrutinise Council strategies and policies from the point of view of older people's aspirations and expectations. We are transforming our services to encourage active and independent living - one aspiration of the vast majority of older people.

The Liberal Democrats have already made a powerful political commitment to the needs of older people. We have brought professional and Government attention to Rochdale in a very positive way, and it has allowed us to make

successful bids for external funding and for other Government initiatives.

Young People

The Liberal Democrats have funded an extra year-on-year £250,000 budget to the Youth Service. Most of this money will go directly into on-the-ground teams providing activities for young people.

The Liberal Democrats wholeheartedly support the £150 million proposed investment in the Borough's Secondary Schools, and repeat our commitment to full consultation in every area affected.

More Home Rule

The Liberal Democrats have devolved power and money down to each Township.

Towns will now have even more power than the Town Councils abolished in 1974.

We will continue the devolution of power and money to the Townships, and develop how we can devolve some decisions even further down to area forums and neighbourhoods.

We want to encourage local democracy in action - this means trusting in people to take decisions for their own communities.