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  1. Earlier today (Monday 24 May 2021), Stephen Watson QPM officially took up his new post as Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police. In the presence of Magistrate Steven Paine, CC Stephen Watson swore his oath and signed the Memorandum of Appointment which officially confirmed his appointment as GMP Chief Constable. A short time following his attestation, Chief Constable Watson delivered an inaugural speech to representatives from across the force, outlining his vision for the organisation and immediate actions that will come into effect over the coming weeks. Chief Constable Stephen Watson QPM said: Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: Bev Hughes, Deputy Mayor for Policing, Crime, Criminal Justice and Fire, said:
  2. Salford voters have chosen who they want to be the City Mayor of the city and not surprisingly they have chosen to re-elect the Labour parties Paul Dennett after he secured 30,892 votes to win the election. This will be Paul’s second term in office. The mayoral election used the supplementary voting system, meaning voters had two choices. Meanwhile over in Greater Manchester, Labours Andy Burnham retained his place as Metro Mayor for another term. The full results are: (Candidate, Party, Number of first preference votes, Percentage of first preference votes) Stuart Antony Cremins, -, 1036, 1.97% Paul Dennett, Labour Party, 30892, 59% Wendy Kay Olsen, Green Party, 4585, 8.75% Stephen Stuart Ord, Independent, 1890, 3.16% Jake Overend, Liberal Democrats, 1716, 3.27% Arnie Saunders, The Conservative Party Candidate, 12234, 23.36% Elected: Paul Dennett Electorate: 186058 Turnout: 53509 Turnout percentage: 28.76% The count for the City Mayor election took place the day after the count for the local elections at the AJ Bell Stadium. The count started at 11am on Saturday 8 May and the winner was announced at 2.15pm. The City Mayor is usually elected for a four-year term but in this instance it will be three years. The Coronavirus Act 2020 ruled that the postponement of May 2020 elections should be ignored in determining the years in which subsequent elections of elected mayors are to be held. Returning Officer Tom Stannard said: Yesterday (Friday 7 May) the votes for the local election were counted and the results announced. Salford City Council comprises 20 electoral wards with three councillors representing each ward The city council is controlled by the Labour party, the political composition of the city council is: Labour with 52 councillors, Conservative with seven councillors and Liberal Democrats with one councillor. A full breakdown of the results for the local and mayoral elections is available at www.salford.gov.uk/results
  3. In what has been hailed as a historic move, Greater Manchester Metro Mayor, Andy Burnham, has given the go ahead for control over the regions bus networks to become franchised. The landmark move came after nine council leaders gave their recommendations to take control and move towards creating a London styled regulatory system, the first of it's kind outside of the capital. The buses will continue to be operated by private companies but more control over 'simpler' fares and routes will fall under the remit of Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), allowing for a standardised integrated ticketing system across the whole bus network, similar to what is seen in the Capital. It also helps towards integrating the buses with the rest of the regions public transport network, as well as price capping to keep costs low for passengers. Burnham hailed the move as the biggest change to the bus network since the 1980's when the system was unregulated. Speaking at a press briefing at the Ashton Interchange earlier this afternoon, the Mayor said: Regulation will mean that all buses will from 2023 be a standardised colour and customers will have a better idea of how much their journeys would cost. Funding for the £135m project will come from one off local authority contributions, devolution deal cash as well as monies from the current and future mayoral precept. Meanwhile several companies have submitted separate court applications for a judicial review after claiming a lack of consultation, with the 'One Bus' representative body stating that the process was being rushed. The new system is set to be introduced in three phases starting in January 2023, with phase two set for January 2024 and the final phase three to begin in January 2025.
  4. A manufacturer from Salford has urged others to follow in their footsteps by adopting technology and digital tools to survive and thrive. Businesses from across the region shared their insights at the Made Smarter: journey to digital manufacturing conference which was attended by 300 delegates from across the industry. They included Atec Solutions, based in Swinton, which designs, manufactures and repairs complex electronic and electro-mechanical equipment used in the aerospace, defence, nuclear, and oil and gas sectors. Andrea Hough, Managing Director and member of the Made Smarter Pilot Steering Group and Made Smarter Commission, was on a panel discussion featuring industry leaders Juergen Maier, Chair of the Digital Catapult and co-Chair of the Made Smarter Commission, Stephen Phipson, the Chief Executive of Make UK, Andrea Hough, Glyn Jones, Service Delivery Director at Lancashire-based BAE Systems and Chair of the Made Smarter Pilot Steering Group, Donna Edwards, Managing Director of the Growth Company and Made Smarter North West Adoption Programme Director, and Matt Ellis, Assistant Director of Made Smarter for the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). She told the conference: Among the other Greater Manchester SME manufacturers to share their insights was Fabricon Design, a specialist in advanced manufacturing methods based in Ashton-under-Lyne, MacKinnon and Saunders, a world’s leading puppet-maker for TV and Film based in Altrincham, DRM Industrial Fabrics, a textile manufacturer based in Bury; Arden Dies, a Stockport-based die and tooling manufacturer; Bindatex, a manufacturer of advanced materials based in Bolton; Crystal Doors, a manufacturer of bespoke vinyl wrapped furniture components based in Rochdale; Creative Apparel, a clothing manufacturer based in Stockport; and Starlight Bedrooms, a furniture manufacturer based in Bolton. They are among 1,200 businesses that have engaged with the Made Smarter North West Adoption programme over the last two years Now after securing additional funding from the government, Made Smarter is looking to engage with hundreds more manufacturers in the city region, offering matched funded grants towards technology projects; expert, impartial technology advice; digital transformation workshops to help manufacturers take their first steps to transform their business; a leadership programme; and funded digital technology internships. Opening the conference Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester praised the role of the Made Smarter North West Adoption Programme in supporting economic growth plans for the region. Mr Burnham was among 44 experts and panellists sharing their insights and experiences at the Made Smarter: journey to digital manufacturing conference. Addressing 300 delegates at the virtual event, Mr Burnham said: Meanwhile, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng underlined the importance of manufacturing through the pandemic and the UK’s drive towards recovery, growth and net zero: The theme of collaboration was prevalent throughout the conference. For more details about Made Smarter visit https://www.madesmarter.uk
  5. Greater Manchester's Metro Mayor, Andy Burnham said that the region needs to 'Get It's Focus Back' after small but notable rises were observed in covid-19 patient admissions across the regions hospitals. However, Mr Burnham said that it was too early to determine if the rising numbers were a trend, but cautioning that it was not being ruled out. Sadly another death has been recorded due to the virus at Salford Royal this evening, with a further six recorded across other hospitals in the region. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DypnjUN-8Ck The Mayor speaking on his press conference live stream said that if we do not start to observe the rules now, we are going to see the number of people entering hospital rise and we are going to run the risk of seeing increases in infections within care homes. Declaring that: "This is not a lecture to the people for the sake of it". He encouraged people to look at the figures and think about the lives involved, asking people to continue to follow the social distancing rules and maintain hand washing and face mask wearing. Salford's 7-day-rate of positive tests per 100,000 people is currently standing at 63.4 on the week ending 05/09 in contrast to the previous weeks rate of 38.2, a significant and worrying rise. Numbers that we need to desperately bring back down to lower levels, else risking economy damaging restrictions that have already been imposed upon neighbouring Bolton. Mr Burnham believes that part of the reason for the rises is due to the lifting of the lockdown in our region being too early as higher levels of the virus were still in circulation, which he believes has contributed to the current situation. The Mayor also said that he has had positive discussion with the health secretary regarding a localised test and trace system, a proposal is to be submitted later today and it is hoped that the scheme will be backed. He told the viewers that the current national system was failing and not working properly for Greater Manchester.
  6. In a recent blog update, Mayor Burnham has outlined his stratergy for dealing with the annual problem of how to best help rough sleepers across Greater Manchester and has called upon local councils to follow in the footsteps of Manchester in guaranteeing a bed for each an every rough sleeper this winter. Meanwhile, Salford has already taken a big step in helping to provide eight beds and 20 self contained homes to help in the battle to put an end to rough sleeping. This morning, I have been out and about in the city centre on my regular walkabout, speaking to people sleeping rough. I do this every few months to keep in touch with the issues that people raise and to get a real and unvarnished picture of the scale of the challenge facing us. When people comment on current levels of homelessness, it is often based on what they can see on the streets during the day. But the truth is that does not always provide an accurate picture. It is certainly true that many of the people in the city centre during the day are also sleeping rough there at night. But not everyone. It is not callous or uncaring to say that we need to do a better job of drawing that distinction and focus our fundraising efforts on those who genuinely have nowhere else to go. This morning, we came across around 15 to 20 people in the city centre. One is of course too many but it represents progress on what I was seeing this time last year. I want to thank all of our public bodies, housing providers and voluntary organisations who are working well together and making a real difference. But we have further to go and I believe that now is the right time to go up a gear. Later today, I will attend a meeting of the Greater Manchester Homelessness Action Network to provide an update on progress towards meeting our ambition of ending the need for rough sleeping in Greater Manchester by 2020. The time has come to lay out a clear plan for how we will achieve this. As part of this, we need to ask whether now is the time for a significant escalation of our efforts, starting this winter. Last year, Greater Manchester put in place an improved set of cold weather arrangements. There were two big learning points that need to be taken on board. The first is that opening provision, closing it when the temperature rises only to reopen it again days later causes confusion and extra cost. The second is that, when people got the opportunity to stay in one place for a longer period (and they did during one of the longer cold spells), they began to open up to working with services to move them forward. So the big question that I will put today is this: can Greater Manchester aim to provide a bed for every rough sleeper every night of the week over this coming winter? This is a major commitment and will be a real challenge to deliver. But it is the right question to be asking at this stage of our journey towards ending the need for rough sleeping. Later this year, Greater Manchester will begin to roll out the Housing First pilot. Our hope is that significant numbers of new places (homes plus an individual package of support) will be opening in the early months of 2019. By enhancing our rough sleeping provision at the same time we will provide a solid platform on which Housing First will be built. It is more likely to be successful if people can be stabilised in temporary accommodation before moving through to a Housing First place. That has been a key point of learning from the operation of our Social Impact Bond, which has now housed over 100 of the longest-term rough sleepers. Of course, providing a bed every night from October to March would come at a significant extra cost. Manchester City Council has already made a commitment to aim for this and many of our councils will be providing extra support over the winter. But they will not have enough on their own and the question is whether we should launch a new fundraising drive to support this specific purpose. Today I want to hear views on this from members of the Homelessness Action Network. If people think it is a good idea, I would be prepared to ask the trustees of the Mayor’s Homelessness Fund to redirect funds to the A Bed Every Night scheme. Tim Heatley, the leader of Greater Manchester’s Homelessness Business Network, has also agreed to focus his efforts with the business community on fundraising for the scheme if people agree it’s the right way to go. If we can make it work, A Bed Every Night would be a partnership with our 10 councils. Earlier this week, I met councillors with local responsibility for tackling homelessness and we plan to start early work with them on drawing up local plans. New buildings will need to be identified in each area. We are grateful to Reverend Ian Rutherford, who leads Greater Manchester’s Homelessness Faith Network, for assisting us in this task. Many churches, mosques and other faith buildings were used last winter and we are hoping that even more will be found for this. One of the great benefits of a six-month scheme of this kind is that it would enable us to gain a clear picture of the costs, challenges and benefits of providing stable daily provision for all rough sleepers. If it works, and could be made financially sustainable, I would intend to repeat the scheme in October 2019 but at that point consider making A Bed Every Night permanent, thereby delivering my manifesto commitment. However, we also need to have our eyes open to the risks. There is an argument to say that, the stronger Greater Manchester’s ambition on rough sleeping, the more we will become a magnet for people to come here and the greater our problem will be. The truth is there is no real evidence to say that this is actually happening to any significant degree and, to the extent that any people have come, the numbers are small. However, to ensure that we can afford it, A Bed Every Night would need to be limited, perhaps to people whose last permanent address before becoming homeless was in Greater Manchester and also to those who have no recourse to public funds. In the end, the best way to approach this is for Greater Manchester to do what feels right for us and encourage other cities and towns to provide the same. While there are risks to A Bed Every Night, it would also bring opportunities. When we are confident that there is enough provision for every night, I do think we will be able to give a clearer message to the public about on-street giving. As we know, while we all understand it and still do it, it doesn’t actually help people begin the journey away from the street. By launching A Bed Every Night well in advance of the coming winter, we would be able to send a clear message that the best way to help this winter would be donated to the central pot. I would be interested in hearing people’s views on this blog and the proposed A Bed Every Night scheme. I know that we are setting ourselves a big challenge and also that, as of yet, we don’t have all the funds to deliver it. But, if Greater Manchester gets behind it, I am confident that we can end the need for rough sleeping here this winter and create a strong platform for the success of Housing First. Whatever our challenges as a country, we are rich enough to put a roof over every head every night of the week and I hope that in Greater Manchester at least, this will soon become the norm. Thank you for your ongoing interest and support. Andy
  7. Back in 2001 good old Gordon Brown dangled the magical incentive carrot before the faces of the people. Diesel is cheaper to run, gets you better millage and what's more it is also better for the polar bears, is what we were being told at the time. Gordon was struggling to come up with a plant to cut emissions that were agreed upon several years earlier at Kyoto in Japan. A protocol agreed upon by the UK in 1997 which would require all signatory counties to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, based on the premise that (a) global warming exists and (b) human-made CO2 emissions have caused it. All of which was to come into force in 2005. Pre 2001 there were around 3.45 million diesel vehicles plodding up and down the roads of Britain, a figure that since then has come to more than double to over a staggering 8.1 million by latest figures. Scroll forward 16 years and now It is comes as quite a shock to motorists to hear Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin warning those people that followed government advice, that we face a hike in taxes designed to punish us for doing what we were told was the right thing to do. It seems that diesel is not the clean wonder fuel we were told it was, yes it has lower carbon (CO2) emissions, but mile for mile diesel cars pump out far more micro particles as well as dangerous levels of (NOx) Nitrogen Oxides which not only contribute to higher atmospheric temperatures but also cause over 29,000 premature deaths in Britain that are attributed to air pollution. Salford Star did a wonderful article last year with further information about death rates associated to air pollution in Salford which can be found on this link. The governments race to hit pollution targets has like an old clunking diesel of the past, inadvertently backfired. Back on December 2016 then Labour candidate and now GM Mayor, Andy Burnham, declared that he was ruling out a congestion charge, which he said was an unfair tax on people who had no public transport alternative. However it now seems that plans are now afoot to slide a congestion charge lite through the backdoor, with the idea of making the drivers of those nasty polluting diesels we were all told to buy back in 2001 pay an unbelievable £7.50 for the privileged of being able to drive via certain routes within the City. London has already announced plans to bring in a similar scheme which will cost £12.50 per day, sadly Greater Manchesters transport infrastructure is nowhere close to being on par with that of the capital. MP for Blackely and Broughton Graham Stringer immediately shot down the plans by stating that they had nothing to do with reducing air pollution at all. "Defra recommended that people drive diesel cars and now wanted to punish some of the poorest drivers in the country" he said, whilst going on to suggest that the key to solving the problem was to ensure much better regulation of busses as well as a funded diesel scrapage scheme to help those who bought diesels on what turned out to be flawed government advice. Many within Salford have regularly complained about the state of traffic flow within the city, with the introduction of bus lanes in some areas compounding traffic problems. The restrictions placed on some arterial roads in and out of Salford have led to long delays and traffic flow issues which not only delay journeys but also mean that cars are spewing out even more particulates whilst idling in traffic jams. Areas around the A580 and Chapel Street, Regent Road and the Barton roundabout in Eccles are heavily affected. The smart motorway scheme has added to the problem as cars are now diverting from the motorway and cutting through places like Monton and Worsley to try and lessen journey times and avoid queues. A recent experiment with the suspension of a bus lane along Eccles Old Road in front of Salford Royal Hospital has been positive and shown clearly that its removal has resulted in much better traffic flow around visiting hours to the hospital. Previously traffic was backed up as far as the gildabrook roundabout and on some days down onto the slip road and further along the M602. Sometimes the measures that are put in place to fix the problem cause much larger problems. Conservative councillor and candidate for Worsley and Eccles South MP; Iain Lindley has set up a petition for people to sign on the link bellow https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeJvaVESy25P2D2ykyxYATdplb2TjigwOkHAHTzXpbN2hDKyQ/viewform?c=0&w=1 Salford already has some of the highest air pollution rates in the country and was ranked second highest in May 2016 so something DOES need to change, it should not come at the expense of those who switched to diesel with the best of intentions after botched government advise. Motorists have been an easy target for taxation for far too long and to add a daily £7.50 charge to those trying to get to work would be plain insulting. So as Andy has already told us that this would be in his words "an unfair tax on people who had no public transport alternative", why is it that now he has been elected that these proposals have come to light? Charging diesel drivers for using certain routes may not be a full blown congestion charge but it is still congestion charge lite. A watered down version which will affect those who, after all were just doing the right thing. Mr Stringer is correct, get the busses better regulated. Force companies to use cleaner engines, maybe open up bus lanes to car sharers and people with disabilities. In some areas get rid of bus lanes altogether as has been proven with the Eccles Old Road lane, they often cause more issues than they solve. But don't try taxing a City that has already overwhelmingly voted against a congestion charge, don't attempt to slide it in by the back door.
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