Bus franchising is the way forward

I know, because constituents regularly remind me, that the state of the bus service in Oldham and the rest of the city-region isn’t fit for purpose. Today the Greater Manchester Combined Authority has begun a public consultation period on whether to press ahead with a franchising system in our bus network.

Major cities all around the world have similar franchised bus systems, this system works in London, and there’s no reason it can’t work for us in Greater Manchester. Private bus companies have been allowed to act unaccountably by cutting routes, raising fares and generally running sub-par services for far too long now.

This consultation period is a great chance for residents to say exactly what they want from our bus services. The plan put forward by the GMCA is one I would encourage constituents to support, it lets us in Greater Manchester set the routes, timetables, standards and importantly the ticket prices.

To get involved and have your say on the future of our bus network, go to http://www.gmconsult.org and submit your consultation as I will be doing later on this week.

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Jim McMahon MP ‘hopeful’ after Hays Travel buys Thomas Cook shops

Oldham West and Royton MP Jim McMahon is optimistic that the move by Hays Travel to buyout all 550 Thomas Cook shops will lead to saving the two Thomas Cook shops in the constituency.

Jim McMahon MP said, “I am hopeful that this move will ensure that the jobs at the two Thomas Cook shops in Oldham West and Royton will be saved, and the hardworking staff are rewarded for their years of service.

“Hopefully all 550 of the former Thomas Cook shops can reopen after they are acquired by Hays, and there are no more job losses. I understand it’s difficult for Hays Travel to promise to open all shops within days, but the fact they plan on taking on all former Thomas Cook retail staff is finally some good news coming out of this sorry saga.”

“The fact that Hay’s see this as a viable business opportunity does raise further questions as to how the company was allowed to go under in the first place. Our high streets need a boost so the news that these shops may now reopen across the country is welcome news for our town centres.”

The Chancellor doesn’t care about poverty

The Chancellor’s refusal to commit to ending social security freezes is a ‘travesty’ says Oldham West and Royton MP Jim McMahon. At Treasury Questions last week treasury ministers refused confirm that they will go ahead with lifting the social security freeze which was previously thought to be government policy.

Reacting to the news Jim McMahon MP said, “This is just another example of the Chancellor showing that he doesn’t care about poverty. The governments obsession with cuts have damaging effects in the real world for real people.”

“Here in Oldham West and Royton the social security system helps support over fifteen-thousand people, and I wish it didn’t have to. But it does and these people exist and, in some cases, require further support.”

“We know all about the rise in the number of foodbanks since the Tory government took over. We’ve heard the rhetoric about austerity being over. Now is the time to prove it by going ahead and ending the freeze as promised.”

Labour’s Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury said: “The Chancellor won’t confirm that his four year freeze to social security will be lifted next year, leaving the door open to further cuts to income for the poorest in our society.”

“14 million people are now in poverty in the UK, but all those struggling are an afterthought to this Tory government.”

“The Chancellor should immediately confirm that he will end the social security freeze in 2020, and set out his plans to fund this measure.”

Our towns need significant investment

OLDHAM West and Royton MP Jim McMahon has reacted to the findings of a report by EY and the Centre for Towns with regret. The joint report focuses on levels of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in our towns and cities, and it finds that ex-industrial towns like Oldham saw a 50% decrease in manufacturing FDI in 2018. Ex-industrial towns are disproportionately reliant on manufacturing projects, so a decline in the number of manufacturing projects attracted by the UK hits those towns harder.

Jim McMahon MP said, “This report shows that our towns need significant investment to balance the scales. Core cities across the UK continue to suck in foreign investment whilst investment in our towns continues to dry up. Despite the vast sums of money going into our cities there is little sign of this spilling over the borders into surrounding towns.”

He continued “The Core Cities programme has clearly been successful in attracting FDI to cities, whilst outlying towns and communities have seen investment flatline over the last twenty years. Trickle-down economics doesn’t work for people, it’s unrealistic to expect it to work for our towns and cities.”

“The report is entirely right in its four-point policy agenda for towns; bottom up decision-making through greater devolution, a reworking of the industrial and digital strategies to put place first, significant infrastructure investment by improving regional transport links and broadband, and an integrated towns strategy. Those four items are crucial, and they must be all be done together.”

“This is an issue we can deal with, if we devolve further and allow local people to make the decisions on industrial and digital strategies, if we invest in physical and digital infrastructure and we plan properly by incorporating economic, social and cultural aspects we can make our towns attractive. If people want to live, work and enjoy themselves in our towns they will thrive.”

Climate Emergency: Here’s the action

This Monday marked the start of two weeks of global action by the climate activist group Extinction Rebellion.  The action the group plans to undertake will be disruptive and it’ll be annoying for commuters and the free flow of traffic, but I feel it is right to mainstream this debate and unfortunately that only happens when people’s attention is attracted.

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Continue reading “Climate Emergency: Here’s the action”