Tameside Council Leader's Annual Keynote Address 2013

‘In my Budget speech in February I made it clear that I would bring to our AGM proposals that reduce the total cost of allowances by at least 10%.

To achieve this we have looked at every part of our business to take out costs and improve efficiency, we have left no stone unturned, there are no sacred cows and that includes the elected members.

The total saving on allowances for this year alone is over £113,000 which along with savings arising from reductions in administration this now represents a saving of 10% to the overall costs.

The Advertiser, Page 2, Thursday 20 February 2014

Councillors in Tameside received more that £1.2 million in allowances, with the highest amount being paid to council leader Kieran Quinn!

" I bet I can gobble-up more than you, John!"  "You're on!"
In total, the allowances bill for Tameside councillors in 2012/2013 came to £1.204,972. Compared to £1.200,094 in 2011/2012 which was yet another increase on 2010/2011, which was £1.186,473.

So instead of keeping his promise of saving £120,498 from his councillors allowances; despite all the platitudes of hardship, government cuts; food banks; closures and sell-offs; not forgetting cutting the number of lollipop ladies; reducing the number of pensioners' luncheon clubs; community centres and cutting the budget for road repairs, this caring bunch of self-serving, bottom feeders still managed to jack-up the council tax bill by 3.5% and increased their collective allowances by another £5000

 – So no cuts for them!

The Labour led Tameside council is nothing more than a collection of parasites.

And no wonder; just look at its councillors – pretty much parasites one and all. None of them have any skills, talents or experience to offer, just big egos and little responsibility. They are voted in by a small number of home-grown Labour acolytes, in whose interest it is to continue the practice of parasitism.

Anyone in a productive job, who pays over half their wages back in tax, voting Labour, is nothing short of an act of lunacy.



Once again, without any consultation or explanation with the people of Mottram & Broadbottom, we witness first-hand how the local democratic process has been totally ignored as yet another of our community facilities is sold off.

Over the last few years, Tameside councillors seem to have been endowed with the reverse Midas touch. Everything they touch turns to faecal matter!

Not content with destroying Mottram Library, the Longdendale Recreation Centre and playing fields and vast areas of ‘green belt’, I refer to their latest underhand shenanigans, namely the closure and putting up for sale of the Lymefield Visitor Centre in Broadbottom by the draconian ruling junta that is Tameside council’s ‘Executive Cabinet’.

It should not be the case that the first people hear that the council has decided to dispose of one of their community facilities is by looking in an estate agents window!

It shows nothing but total disdain for the voting public and proves beyond doubt that the ruling Executives treat our three local councillors as mere window dressing to keep up their numbers!    

Not long ago, Tameside council’s PR machine was waxing lyrical over this well used community facility and boasted that the site had not only been awarded, but retained the prestigious 'Green Flag Award' which is an annually judged certificate for the financial management, maintenance and upkeep of sites and the involvement of users and the community in their management.

The fact that the ‘Green Flag Award’ was retained is significant, because it means the site is subject to annual inspections. It therefore proves that this visitor centre must have demonstrated it was being run with a financially sound management up to the last inspection, so the council’s statement that it deems the centre to be surplus and costing too much to run, totally contradicts their own publicity!

According to the council’s own website, it says quite clearly that community participation is particularly strong at the Lymefield Visitor Centre, with many volunteers giving their time to the running of the site and centre and supervising events.

So, what will happen to all those people of the community who organise special events?

What thought has the council given to the various school groups, who again, according to the council’s own publicity, allows children to experience and connect with the countryside? Where will those who organise walks in the countryside, now assemble? What will happen to all those regular events which include all members of the local society?

Presumably Tameside’s ‘Executive Cabinet’ members; the majority of which now seem to have turned their envious eyes from their ‘industrial corridors of mills’ to focus on ‘the picturesque part of the borough’ with a view to concrete over it, will not admit their abject failure to manage, but do their usual trick and blame someone else. 

As for Broadbottom, the selling off of the Visitor Centre is the first step in returning an area which had been sympathetically transformed into Lymefield Visitor Centre & Broad Mills Heritage Site, where heritage and countryside lived side by side in tranquil harmony, back to another Tameside wasteland.

So, given the choice, are we expected to believe the council’s words (which at time of writing was) on their website or the reasons they've inadvertently proffered through the council’s Estates Officer, Oliver Telford, who in responding to an inquiry by The Longdendale Community Group, said, ‘…that his department has been given a list of properties which the council deems to be surplus and costing too much to run….. the proposals are then discussed with the Executive Board of officers and councillors…..and then it goes to the ‘Executive Cabinet’ for a key decision.’

Never mind posing for photographs whilst opening food banks and offering tea & sympathy regarding rising prices, the only certainty about Tameside Labour councillors, especially when you see their allowances continue to spiral upwards year on year ( 2012/13 - £1.2 million) is that they are, with pitifully few exceptions, a collection of self-serving, unpleasant parasites, and the sooner they are voted out, the better!



My wife and daughter took our two grandsons to Hyde on Saturday.

On visiting ‘the newly refurbished market’ at 12.20pm, they found a grand total of two stalls in operation and a kiddie’s round-a-bout.

One stall was selling rolls of carpet the other dog beds!

The chap running the round-a-bout said “…that’s it …at half twelve I’m packing up!”

Well done, Tameside council.... £1.3 million well spent!



There’s no doubt that dealing with people can be difficult. In fact, I believe some people enjoy being confrontational and condescending and if Councillor John Taylor has ever paid to have lessons in  tact, diplomacy and/or community cohesion and harmony, then I think his next letter should be to Common Purpose or some other such group concerned with controlling the levers of power, and demand his money back.

The Dukinfield Ward councillor writing his usual condescending epistle in this week’s Tameside Reporter, tells us he has a great deal of affection for the Longdendale and Mottram area.

Despite the Longdendale Community Group sending over 3000 letters objecting to the building of the under-used giant TESCO store in Hattersley, he would now have us believe he leaves Dukinfield, drives past, Morrison’s, Aldi and Tesco in Stalybridge, so he can ‘drop-in’to Tesco in Hattersley, to do a little shopping!

He then has the effrontery to tell the local residents that while he’s in their area, he’s so impressed with the obvious tranquility of the historic village of Mottram and the surrounding area, that he takes time to drive around and take in the views!

He writes, ‘…it’s such a picturesque part of the borough, nestled beneath War Hill, and goes on to inform us, that  ‘it’s a timeless scene that seems a million miles away from the Tame Valley’ where he lives, which he tells us, is basically an industrial corridor of mills!

John Taylor has almost become a metaphor for everything that goes wrong and refuses to listen or see things from someone else’s point of view.

This man who tells us how lucky we are to live in such a picturesque area, is currently the Deputy Leader of the draconian Labour controlled Tameside council who are not only about to remove Hattersley’s Recreation Centre, together with its large area of sports fields, but again despite fierce opposition from local residents, two local councillors and the combined voices and over 500 letters of objections from the Longdendale Community Group, have gone ahead regardless and produced detailed plans to build on Mottram’s ‘Green Belt’ and turn the historic and picturesque part of the borough into a duplication of two-faced Taylor’s very own Tame Valley, - a concrete corridor of industrial units!

One of the curses of modern life is how people like John Taylor can not only get regularly published, but be catapulted from lowly ward councillor who rarely answers direct questions, to become the council Deputy Leader whose ghost writer now dominates our local media pages, and twitter streams.

The Local Government Association are running courses on Role Mentoring specifically for councillors wishing to improve their personal effectiveness, internal and external relationships, and strengthen their community leadership role.

It costs between £4,400 and £6,900, depending on the amount of consultant support required.

In John Taylor’s case it would be money well spent!



2.15pm - Council Leaders pose for pictures to commemorate Britain's Favourite Market (But where are all the punters?)

Oh dearie me, Cllr John Taylor, who it seems is not only responsible for Markets, but now it appears he's also in charge of pulling the wool over voters eyes - because, surprise, surprise, in his haste to quench his insatiable thirst for publicity, he's yet again got most of his facts wrong, and the few that he's got right, you’ll find have been greatly embellished and carefully selected with regard to the recent success of Ashton Market.

Last week, the Reporter’s bold headlines announced that ASHTON MARKET HALL was voted ‘Best of British’ whilst in actual fact; ASHTON MARKET HALL was not voted ‘Best’ of anything - In fact it won absolutely nothing!

As you can clearly see in the blown-up picture, it was ASHTON MARKET who won an award, however it only won in one of the twelve award categories on offer and that was in the minor classification of: BRITAIN’S FAVOURITE MARKET.

Now readers might also be interested to know that in order for Ashton or any other town market to be eligible to win any of the honours in the annual Market of the Year Awards, Tameside council have had to splash out £954.00 annually, to remain members.

It is also the case that only someone who has direct involvement with the market; be it the market manager, a councillor, town centre manager or a market trader, can complete the entry form, indicating which  market they are nominating, which category and why.

The winners, by the way were announced at the NABMA One Day Conference which was held at the prestigious midlands venue, The Council House, Birmingham, where it commanded an attendance fee. It is not known how many Tameside councillors were thus treated, but as the chap responsible for Markets; one could be forgiven for thinking the career councillor from Globe Lane would not be one to be left out!

This year’s NABMA one day conference, which, it was reported as attracting a record audience to the Birmingham event, was sponsored by a company called KPR Midlink who, according to their web site, have built a reputation for delivering a quality service to UK local authorities for the provision of Computerised Payment Solutions.

Readers may also be interested to learn that the complete results for Market of the Year 2014 were as follows:


Last week’s article also quoted the judge’s; and implied that it was the inclusion of Ashton’s Market that made it the most keenly contested event in the history of the competition.

In actual fact, according to the organisers, the online voting for Britain’s Favourite Market registered a record breaking 104,200 votes in total, with ‘a close battle’ being fought by three markets’ as voting moved to its conclusion. – Which means Ashton nearly lost out!

So, although well-deserved congratulations go to Ashton Market for gaining this award, it might be nice if the councillor with total responsibility for Markets wasn't so prone to politically embroidered exaggeration!



Posted on Thu 11 Oct 2012 we were informed by a positive chorus of jubilant Tameside councillors that the Stalybridge eyesore landmark building that once housed CASABLANCA’S Health Club was set for demolition after Tameside Council officers intervened and said it would be redeveloped by New Charter Housing, who bought the site.

"Just put a fence round it, nobody'll notice we're not building social houses til't bedroom tax is abolished!"

Last year, on February 25th 2013 the Stalybridge MP Jonathan Reynolds said, “New owners New Charter have already proved themselves to be good neighbours, by acting so quickly and decisively to get rid of this eyesore –(even though it was Tameside council who knocked it down!)  and now there is a real opportunity to breathe new life into this canal-side area of the town."

Assiduously adhering to the saying ‘There’s no show without Punch, ‘Cllr John Taylor, deputy leader of Tameside Council and the chap responsible for destroying the boroughs markets, chipped in and said: "These are great times for Stalybridge. We are finally going to see the end of a building that has spoiled the town centre of for almost eight years." And proved it by donning another Day-Glo Jacket (His weekend one was in the wash after a particularly mucky litter-pick in Dukie!) ...and posed for the obligatory photo-shoot after sending the actual demolition gang off camera for an early lunch)

"Bloody 'ell Johnny, I could get used to this manual stuff!"

Well, that could be one of the most accurate sentences that the councillor has uttered in a long while, because there is no doubt about it,- the building as definitely gone.

The problem is, after 12 months, the once derelict building is still a demolition site, albeit now, with a sturdy corporate coloured fence round it!

At the time, Jonathan Reynolds said, ““I look forward to the new owners, New Charter, starting redevelopment very quickly.”

Well, Jonathan, so do the rest of the residents, traders and shoppers of Stalybridge.



Let me get this right

On page 16 of last week’s Reporter and Chronicle (30 JAN 2014) and featured again on ‘The Executive Leaders Blog’ we were treated to an article regaling the visit of the Labour controlled Tameside council leader, who, on visiting the Droylsden and District Food Bank, said, “I find it a very sad fact that in 21st century Britain, 70 years after the welfare state was established at the end of the Second World War, food banks have again become a fact of life. He also said, “I think its appalling that in the year 2014 some people are relying on a food bank to get the essentials they need just to live for two or three days!”

Could it really be that this Labour councillor has forgotten why there is a need for food banks?

 "And when we put the Council Tax up again, we can open one of these every week!"

Does he really not know why some people are starving whilst trying to make ends meet with the little money they have; - for many people, buying food slips down their list of priorities simply because other things like rent, gas and electricity, have to take precedence.

Is there no limit to some people’s hypocrisy?

It’s all very well holding a box of meager provisions and smugly smiling whilst posing for the obligatory photo-shoot, when not too many weeks ago, he and his cabal of career councillors decided to saddle the already struggling residents of Tameside with a totally unnecessary 3.7 % rise in council tax.

I totally agree that food is a right and not a privilege, but, that being the case; these two-faced councillors need to stop “punishing” people for being poor. For many, by the time they pay their rent, increased council tax, water, gas and electric, there's hardly anything left.

In Tameside, lots of people are struggling to make ends meet and household finances are being stretched like never before.

So, this cynically political move by a council, who have a budget under-spend of some £7 million and well over £20 million in the bank, have helped push many more people to the point where they have to choose whether to heat their homes or put food on the table, but NOT BOTH!

Could it also be that the Labour leader has also conveniently forgotten that when the first food bank network was set up, in 2004, the employees of Job Centres were initially one of the main distributors of food bank vouchers- however, despite this highly effective means of providing help to people struggling to feed their families as a result of benefit delays, the previous Labour government issued a directive stopping Job Centres from referring clients in crisis to food banks!

Looking at the picture, and reading his weasel words; “…we are going to make sure that nobody in Droylsden or Tameside has to go hungry, no child should have to go hungry just because you haven’t got the money to buy food!” it might be interesting to know that behind those comforting words and ‘tea and sympathy smiles’ just how much compassion and support the poor can expect from these leaders of the supposedly socialist party of the people, should they choose to feed their children at the expense of delaying their council tax.

Last year, the year when the ‘bedroom tax’ was brought in, the registered social landlord New Charter Housing Trust Ltd, still continued to send out letters to their tenants who were in arrears, threatening legal action. These 'recovery proceedings' were being made in spite of comments made in the local press by New Charter boss, Ian Munro, that the tax should 'axed' and that it is both 'unfair and incompetent'.- So not much help or compassion there then!

Could it also have slipped the council leaders mind just how he and his fellow Labour councillors have no compunction but issue costly court orders like confetti and send in bailiffs to collect their unpaid council tax from vulnerable and impoverished householders?

And of course, as the councillor knows, those council commissioned bully boys do not only demand the outstanding council tax, they add court costs and bailiffs fees which does nothing to ease the financial burden on vulnerable people, who have already been hard hit by welfare reforms.

Now you might think that this practice is insignificant and it only happens on the few occasions you may have read about in the local press; you know, the snippet from the court where councillor Jim, who is responsible for something or other, is trotted out and some PR puppet regurgitates the council’s soporific mantra, but when I tell you that as many as 11,322; 13,240; 13,490 and 15,312 Tameside citizens were summoned to court for non-payment of council tax for the tax years 2009-2010; 2010-2011; 2011-2012 and 2012-2013; it seems to me that the council leaders are assuming that anyone not paying debts is a ‘won’t pay’, rather than a ‘can’t pay’.

The truth is that over the last few years, the council has used bailiffs to recover debts from thousands of Tameside individuals and struggling businesses. Ask them how compassionate they found their councillor when they chose to pay their suppliers or put their children’s welfare before the council’s tax demands.

But don’t despair. This year, local elections are planned, so I’ll make a prediction now. It won’t be long before some Labour councillor who is up for re-election will stand up and boldly announce that ‘this voting year, the council will not raise council tax’!

Please don’t be fooled.

These days, we hear and witness a whole range of promises being made with rhetoric and hype by political contenders who try assiduously to maintain their number of seats on the gravy train and cling on to the portals of power.

But as we all know, once elected, many begin to suffer an acute bout of amnesia that no doctor could cure. It’s a very common compliant among a great proportion of this particular breed of councillor.

So people get ready; it’s high time we woke up and got rid of these sitting councillors who claim they are the solution instead of a BIG part of the problem.

I don’t know about you but I'm sick of the same group of councillors who have got us where we are now, claiming they are the party of "change".



If you want to know why the good people in the south of the country are currently finding their homes and property underwater, then read this extract from the Tory MP John Redwood’s column:

“The staff costs of the Environment Agency rose by £30m or 8% compared to the previous year, reaching a total of £395.3 million. The Agency employed 12,252 people including temps and contractor personnel.  Pension contributions cost £56 m, with a loss on the fund recognised that year in the accounts bringing the total pension cost to £197.4 million.  The total cost of pensions was almost as high as the capital works, where they spent £219million during the year.”

“Within the capital works just £20.3 million was spent on improving or maintaining culverts and channels to ensure free flow of water. That is a mere 1.7% of their total budget, or 3.4% of their staff and pension costs. A further £69.6m was spent on improving embankments.”

This Coalition quango is chaired by a senior Labour person who obviously knows next to nothing other than how to survive in politics. It needs closing and the funds channeling directly to those who do useful work such as dredging.

Just like Tameside council who seem to insist on giving totally unqualified sycophantic career councillors the task of overseeing important projects (like Ashton’s money loosing Christmas Market) when what is really needed is strong local democratic oversight by experts.

This again is an example of the grubby nature of our so-called democratic politics.

As for the Environment Agency - what a pity Cameron did not follow through on his promise to have a bonfire of quangos.