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Rochdale Borough Lib Dem Manifesto 2008.

April 23, 2008 2:12 AM
Simon Hughes MP launches the Lib Dem Manifesto in Littleborough.

Simon Hughes MP launches the Lib Dem Manifesto.

"Two years ago, the Liberal Democrats took control of our Council for the first time ever, and during that time we've continued to deliver on our exciting programme of change and improvements for our Borough. This is your Council, and our main aim is to make your Council a listening Council that can react to your suggestions and worries. This manifesto again demonstrates some of our achievements, and sets out our next step and our priorities for the coming year. We highlight jobs, health, our environment, community safety, provision for the older members of our community, and our strong commitment to value for money.

If you don't have a Liberal Democrat Councillor in your area just ask yourself, why the Liberal Democrats are so successful right across our Borough. It's because people see the difference, and trust us.

This is your Council, and it's starting to put you, the customer, first. The Liberal Democrats have a superb radical programme to change our Borough. Vote Liberal Democrat on Thursday 1 May."

COUNCILLOR ALAN TAYLOR - LEADER OF ROCHDALE METROPOLITAN BOROUGH COUNCIL.

One of the great things about our success in gaining control of our Council was publishing an election manifesto - it's important to know what you are voting for! Here are just some of the highlights from our 2008 programme. To find out more see www.rochdalelibdems.org.uk.

A listening Council This Liberal Democrat Council is answerable to you, the residents and the electorate. We have kept our promise that Council decisions can be called in for further consideration by any 100 residents, if a decision has been made affecting them.

We have a new People's Champion Department, which has already overhauled the Council's complaints procedures, and will act as an independent service for any residents of the Borough who feel they have a complaint against the Council.

We are looking at new ways to involve and inform our residents better.

Aspirations of older people Almost a third of our residents are over 50, and in 10 years time, this will have risen to over 40%. This section of the population is generally healthier and has a longer life expectancy than previous generations. We are scrutinising everything the Council does from the point of view of older people's aspirations and expectations. We are transforming our services to include active and independent living, an aspiration of the vast majority of older people. Our budget proposals included additional funding to help this happen.

We intend to help reduce poverty in old age, provide access to work or other ways to earn money, and encourage older people to secure benefit entitlement. We will increase access to information and advocacy services required by older people. We will also improve access to leisure, social activities, lifelong learning, and develop extensive participation and decision making by older people.

We have brought professional and Government attention to Rochdale in a very positive way, and it will allow us to make extra bids for more funding, and for other Government initiatives.

Community Safety We want everyone to feel safer in their homes, on the streets, and using public transport. Over the next five years, all street lighting will be replaced. There will be additional funding on top of the extra £250,000 we introduced for the Council's Youth Service, which in the past year, has met with over 29% of 13 to 19 year olds in the Borough. This should improve that figure even more.

We are providing extra funding to make sure that young people who are convicted of offences, should pay back something to society. Community service is effective with adults, but needs expert staffing to help youngsters - this is what this extra money will provide.

We will, for the first time ever, buy four additional Police Officers from Greater Manchester Police. We know their resources are stretched. This money will enable Greater Manchester Police to employ extra officers at Middleton, Heywood, Littleborough and Rochdale Police Station. These will be four additional Officers that we wouldn't otherwise have. We have developed a very close working relationship between the Council and Greater Manchester Police, and we will strengthen this even more in the future.

Improving the quality of life

We have plans to create affordable housing and create more jobs and maximise economic regeneration across the Borough to increase prosperity. We have identified money to keep private sector homes in a decent state of repair. We are supporting a bid for major improvements to public transport, which include many park and ride facilities, where local people will be able to ask themselves if they really need to use a car.

We are introducing a short-term blue badge scheme - the first in the country - which will enable people with a temporary disability, like a serious operation for example, which would give them the same rights as permanently disabled people.

We have scrapped charges for disabled people on Council Car Parks,and will double the number of spaces available.

Cleaning up our Town

We want everyone to begin to feel proud of our Borough. We are introducing an Annual Spring Clean where the Council and other organisations, local residents and schools will be involved and have commitment in the campaign to clean up our Borough. In addition we have scrapped all charges for the collection of bulky items of waste from residential properties, which could reduce unsightly fly tipping. We will also introduce a free recycling collection for charities and churches. We are purchasing graffiti and chewing gum machines and also mechanical pedestrian sweepers which are modern one-man pavement sweepers. If this initiative is as successful as we have been promised, we won't hesitate to introduce even more machines to provide an even better service for street cleaning.

We are well on course to reach our government recycling targets,with Alternative Weekly Collections and this, with the reduction of charges for burying rubbish in the ground, has saved you over one million pounds in the past two years, and is avoiding a possible £150 per household additional charge by the Waste Authority

Low tax, best value Council

The Liberal Democrats have, in their first two budgets, set the lowest Council Tax increases for over a decade. We are still improving services to you. We have increased the amounts of money given to our Townships in Middleton, Heywood, Pennines and Rochdale, so that they can set their own priorities.

Council tax as low as possible can only be achieved by a strong commitment to value for money, and in the past year we have achieved real efficiencies of three million pounds, with no impact on the service you receive, and we will continue to do this next year.

We say to you, our Council Tax payers, as long as there is a Liberal Democrat Council in the Borough, you can be assured that we will always aim to run the Council efficiently. We will never forget that it's your money we are spending, and we have a duty to spend it carefully.