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Rochdale Lib Dems lead call for binding referendum!

July 23, 2008 12:00 AM

Leader of Rochdale Council Alan TaylorThe Liberal Democrat groups in Rochdale, Oldham, Manchester and Salford have all agreed to support a binding Greater Manchester wide referendum to be held on the TIF bid and congestion charge. The last opinion poll showed that 86% of Greater Manchester residents supported a referendum.

All four groups are taking part in the current consultation process and are arguing for amendments to the scheme and the best deal possible for their local residents. Individual groups will decide whether to support a 'yes' or 'no' vote in a referendum at the end of the consultation process.

Rochdale Council Leader Alan Taylor said: "The public across Greater Manchester will have details of the improvements to public transport and the congestion charge by the autumn. In the Rochdale Borough we hope to publish additional local details which is difficult to include in a Greater Manchester-wide campaign. The more people understand about how these proposals affect them personally, the more it will help them to make a decision. I am now challenging the rest of the authorities who make up Greater Manchester to support this referendum. If all authorities sign up and agree to stand by the decision then we can move forward. If any one authority refuses then the deal is off - it's as simple as that!"

Oldham Leader Howard Sykes added: "Oldham Council are going to be arguing for what is in the best interests of the people of Oldham. Then it is only right that the people of Greater Manchester have their say."

Manchester Lib Dem Leader Simon Ashley added: "Manchester Lib Dems have been arguing for over a year that a Greater Manchester wide binding referendum is the only fair way to decide this issue. Otherwise you could end up with one council being able to veto the other nine. The majority view, whether it is a 'yes' or a 'no', should be respected."

Salford Lib Dem Leader Norman Owen added: "The Salford group want the people of Greater Manchester to have the final say, not politicians behind closed doors."