There is more at stake than a headline

NEWS that the Oldham Evening Chronicle has gone into administration will hit Oldham hard. More than a newspaper it is part of our heritage, our community and has worked hard to help build a future for us too.


Observers of the media will have seen the demise of the printed press and with it the cracks in the foundations of our democracy. Freedom of speech is important and it’s aided significantly by quality journalism based on research, facts and balance. Continue reading “There is more at stake than a headline”


Brexit smooth landing

THE UK is rudderless as the weakened Tory government continue without a plan, a negotiating position or perhaps even more importantly a vision of what Britain can be after we leave the EU.

Labour’s position on Brexit during the referendum was clear. We believed our country’s interests were best served as a full member of the European Union. Like the vast majority of Labour MPs I campaigned to Remain and believe still that it was the right stance to take.

Following the referendum result I, together with the vast majority of Labour MPs voted to Trigger Article 50.  Labour has also been consistent in both respecting the result of the referendum and in ensuring that rather than Brexit being used to cause further division; we speak for everyone in country in fighting for the best deal when leaving. Continue reading “Brexit smooth landing”

Response to Oldham Local Plan consultation

OLDHAM Council has begun to develop its Local Plan by launching the first stage consultation which ended on 21st August 2017.

The first stage consultation is intended to gather views on what the Local Plan should consider. At this stage it does not consider sites and the assumptions for employment and housing have not been published.

It is unavoidable not to conclude that the development of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF) has led to mistrust and anxiety about the future direction of development in Oldham. While the Local Plan may be developed outside of this process there will be an interrelationship, and should the wider plan not be developed in a single exercise the ten Local Plans could potentially form the GMSF.

Above: View towards Oldham

Continue reading “Response to Oldham Local Plan consultation”

Appointment as a Vice President of the Local Government Association

I am delighted to be asked to serve as a Vice President of the Local Government Association.

Every year the four political groups at the LGA invite parliamentary representatives from the House of Commons, House of Lords, and European Parliament to be Vice-Presidents.

As a councillor for over 13 years and former leader I played an active part in the important work of LGA including offering peer advice and support to councils and serving as the Leader of the LGA Labour Group.
Now in Parliament I continue to fight the corner of local government as a Shadow Minister covering local government finance and devolution.

Universal Dis-credit

If a manual was ever written on how not to roll out a new benefit it would tell the sorry tale of Universal Credit.

Complaints to the government are so high that they don’t count them ‘owing to the volume!’

If you take out the politics of callous cuts, ludicrous sanctions targeted at those least able to take the burden the principle was sound enough. So rather than a complex range of benefits administered by various departments and agencies of government there would be a single straight forward benefit. Continue reading “Universal Dis-credit”