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Rochdale Liberal Democrats

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The Next Mayor Of Greater Manchester

August 19, 2019 4:22 PM
By Richard Eden-Maughan

Councillor Andy Kelly (Phill Connell Photos)

After weeks of speculation, Cllr. Andy Kelly (Milnrow & Newhey) and Leader of Rochdale Liberal Democrats has confirmed that he will be challenging Andy Burnham for Mayor of Greater Manchester in May 2020.

"Mayor Burnham has not been held to account for three years. His flagship promises have failed and he is not in tune with the people of Greater Manchester," Andy says.

Speaking passionately on the subject of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework - which governs house building in the Greater Manchester Area and allows building on greenbelt land -Andy says simply "Throw It Out!".

'We are building the wrong houses, in the wrong places, for the wrong reasons.'

"Besides making a fast buck for councils and property developers, it has ignored the desperate need for social housing and affordable housing for the young. And the environmental impact has been massive."

Andy also criticised Mayor Burnham's eye catching 'Bed for the Night' policy to tackle the rising numbers of rough sleepers in the city centre. He believes this policy has made matters worse as rough sleepers head to the city centre expecting a bed, only to discover there are nowhere near enough.

"The problem is complex and likely to be expensive to deal with effectively," he says. "It starts with giving people a home, not just a bed. From there, physical and mental health, debt and drug problems can be dealt with properly. There are loads of examples across Europe where this has been done successfully and it's a great example of the LibDem's evidence based policy making."

Looking at the city's needs more widely, Andy is a strong advocate for the legalisation of marijuana - although not a user himself. There is a well understood link between drugs and crime which can ruin neighbourhoods and tie up valuable police time. Even occasional, social users can be drawn into crime and are exposed to harder drugs in the process.

"Treat it like alcohol and tobacco and regulate it to ensure quality," he says, "...and then tax it - and free up the police to do more useful work. Manchester should be the leading light in trialling this - as we have been with so many other things.'

In closing Andy made this blunt point: when you are in the polling booth - ask yourself, what has the sitting candidate has done for me? - If they're doing nowt - vote 'em out! Vote Kelly - Vote LibDem!.