IN FEBRUARY we marked 100 years since women were first given the vote, and this week we celebrate International Women’s Day.
We marked the day by inviting sculptor Denise Dutton to Oldham to see the site of Annie Kenney statue in Oldham town centre. Annie was a key figure in the suffragette movement, and prior to that lived and worked in Oldham. She was the only working class woman to hold a senior position in the ‘Women’s Social and Political Union’ (WSPU), which spearheaded the campaign for universal suffrage under the banner ‘Votes for Women.’
NATIONAL apprenticeships week is a time to celebrate this excellent opportunity for young people, and the work businesses do to help. I myself started my career as an apprentice, and I owe a lot to the opportunities I was given. But it is also a time for the government to reflect on how this career path can be significantly improved.
GETTING OUT and visiting people, projects and places across our towns is a part of the job that I particularly enjoy. Last week I attended an event at Metconnect Ltd, a Merkle UK group company who hosted a marquee mini exhibition at their Oldham site of engineering welding, metal fabrication, machinery and technologies. There were over 30 world class national and international exhibitors showcasing their products, accessories, and services at the very successful event.
I WAS delighted and honoured to host Dame Vera Baird QC, Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria in a visit to my constituency today. Dame Baird came to show her support for the Annie Kenney Project, an inspirational role model herself I was delighted to present her with a limited edition of an Annie Kenney print donated by Manchester based artist Stan Chow.
Vera Baird is now the Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria. Vera, an Oldhamer herself I learned, used to live at number 95 Coalshaw Green Rd, in the Chadderton South ward of my constituency. Determined not to let the rain put us off, we enjoyed a lovely walk around Chadderton South visiting the home she grew up in, and Coalshaw Green Park whilst she shared some fond memories of her childhood.
YESTERDAY I asked the Secretary of State Sajid Javid a number of questions about the latest local government finance settlement. First, does it step up to meet the scale of the challenges facing local public services in England today?
Does it meet the challenge of 1.2 million older people who would have been entitled to social care in 2010 who no longer get the care they need?
Does it meet the challenge of huge increases in the number of child protection and looked-after children cases reported by the LGA?
After nearly a decade of Tory-dominated Government, does it begin to rebuild the essential community infrastructure that was taken away after the financial crash?
My view is that it fails on every one of those counts.