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TAMESIDE: What each political party in Tameside is offering to voters at the local elections this year

Voters across Tameside will head to the polls to decide who their new councillors will be for the next four years come May 2.

Tameside Council turned 50 years old this year, and for the majority of that time has been under the control of the Labour Party. Only for a short period in the late 1970s and early 1980s did the Conservatives enjoy a majority in the area.

At the all out elections last year – where all 57 council seats were up for grabs – Labour extended their majority by four councillors and currently have 51 elected members, with the Conservatives holding the other six seats.

Labour will be hoping to maintain their dominance next month, but the other political parties are waiting in the wings and will be hoping to try and take some of their voters.

At the last election, two Tories lost their seats as well as one Green Party councillor and an independent. With the Conservatives and the Greens fielding candidates in almost every council ward, they would be deemed as the biggest threat to Labour in 2024.

Each major party has put forward their promises and statements for voters to take a look at…

Labour

Council leader, Cllr Ged Cooney, said: “Whether we like it or not people will be voting on what they feel about this failing government. A Tory government that has continued to fail Tameside residents who face increased energy bills, rents and mortgage increases, and are paying more for their weekly shop than ever before. 

“Cuts in government funding have meant stripping out some £200m from Tameside’s budget since 2010 whilst more has to be paid out of locally raised council tax. As we celebrate 50 years of Tameside, we need to look at how we want our towns and villages to look in the next few years and beyond. 

“People’s habits are changing: where they shop, how they work and travel, and the homes they want. If we want to succeed in addressing these changes, we must work collaboratively with the residents of Tameside. The Labour-run Tameside Council has been successful with three Levelling Up bids for Ashton, Stalybridge and Denton.

“Furthermore, the Ashton Mayoral Development Zone alongside GMCA/Homes England funding for Droylsden and Hyde masterplans are all aimed at bringing in much needed life and businesses into our town centres. However, this is not enough. We recognise that Tameside has nine towns all requiring further investment after 14 years’ of Tory neglect.

“Change is needed. Voting Labour here in Tameside on May 2 will send a clear message that change must and will happen.” 

Conservatives

A spokesperson for the Stalybridge and Hyde Conservatives said: “The May local elections are for local issues like inadequate children’s services; car parking charges that were massively increased after the last local elections; and potholes that are shoddily repaired. The Tameside street scene is a disgrace with litter strewn everywhere, fly-tipping is out of control, and bins not being emptied as they should be.

“Lets not forget the destruction of the greenbelt at Godley Green, Apethorn Lane and Bowlacre. This is Labour’s unwanted development and they are blatantly ignoring local residents’ concerns.

“In this local election, Labour are focusing on the national issues because they want you to forget that they have been in control of Tameside for 47 years. The question we ask is this – is Tameside any better off after 47 years of Labour control?”

Pledges: 

  • Tories plan to give three hours of free parking on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and reduce parking fees across the board
  • Invest in infrastructure – too many pothole repairs disintegrate within a couple of weeks and need further repair
  • Investing in CCTV to keep neighbourhoods safe
  • Campaign to save greenbelt land
  • Update the 2004 Unitary Development Plan with individual plans for each town
  • Provide better services for most vulnerable residents including children's and SEND services

Green 

Former Green Party councillor, Lee Huntbach, said: “In my time as an elected councillor, I grew weary of the constant tit for tat exchanges between Labour and the Conservatives.

“Labour blaming all failures on funding cuts and the Conservatives apportioning the blame on council mismanagement ensured a culture of point scoring above problem solving.

“We desperately need alternative voices on Tameside Council to counter this unhelpful and unhealthy status quo. We have 750 Green Councillors nationwide and Greens in power from Lancaster and Burnley to West Sussex and Suffolk. 

“In Lewes, West Sussex, the Green-led council has encouraged small, local businesses to turn brownfield sites into sustainable developments while working with colleges to provide training for green skills. 

“Greens in Bristol ensured the futureproofing of their swimming pools by fitting solar thermal heating to provide free energy throughout the spring summer and early autumn seasons. If you want Green, vote Green.”

Pledges:

  • To hold the council to account on their climate emergency promise
  • To challenge the council to be more creative with reduced government funds such as less emphasis on mowing grass and spraying pesticides
  • To insist that the council explore alternatives to greenbelt development (brownfield first and empty properties brought into use as accommodation)
  • To press for investment in wide scale retrofitting of home insulation on council and social housing
  • To encourage the council to work with colleges and training providers to provide work-based qualifications in essential green skills like ground source heat pump and thermal solar installation

Liberal Democrats

Peter Ball-Foster, Liberal Democrat candidate for Hyde Newton Ward, said: “Whether it’s the fact that our River Tame is the most polluted river in North West England, thanks to the Conservative party, or decades of Labour Party bosses neglecting our vital local services, local residents in Tameside are not being treated fairly. 

“Liberal Democrats across our borough are demanding a fair deal for local people and the area we call home. We are committed to standing up to the incompetent Conservative Party in London and the out-of-touch Labour party in Tameside and Greater Manchester. 

“We have a bold approach to tackling the issues facing local people and we are not afraid to speak up on the issues that matter. 

“So, this May, vote for a fair deal for our local environment, a fair deal for our local services, and a fair deal for local housing. Vote Liberal Democrat to elect a strong local champion who will speak up for you and fight for a fair deal for our local area.”

Pledges: 

  • Protect our waterways – Sewage dumping in our local rivers and waterways has reached extreme levels thanks to the Conservative government
  • Improve local services – Labour bosses in Tameside Council have neglected our vital local services for decades
  • Scrap Labour’s problematic housing plan – Liberal Democrats are calling for Tameside Council to withdraw from Labour’s controversial Places For Everyone plan

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