News


Carers from Macclesfield were understandably angry when a review of respite
care that was due to be discussed at a Health and Adult Social Care Overview
and Scrutiny Committee was abruptly cancelled by Cheshire East Council. The
review had been promised to carers at a scrutiny committee on 29 April. The
review is now due to be discussed at a meeting in November.

When Cheshire East Council closed Hollins View and Lincoln House, the
Conservative leader of the Council, Michael Jones, promised that quality
respite care beds would be available throughout Cheshire East. The truth has
been very different, with residents being allocated places at Weston Park
Nursing Home in Macclesfield which has only once managed to meet the
requirements of the CQC in the past five years. The latest CQC inspection in
August said that it 'required improvement'. Weston Park failed in every area
of inspection and has since changed ownership.

Not only are residents now having to put up with lower quality respite care,
but the shortage of beds is also causing concern. Both Hollins View and
Lincoln House had been used for Intermediate Care, helping to keep patients
who are not well enough to go home but not poorly enough to be in hospital,
out of acute hospital beds. There is a shortage of care beds in eastern
Cheshire, resulting in delayed discharge of patients from hospitals;
patients who are ready to leave hospital but have nowhere to go, so stay in
hospital beds longer than is necessary.

Councillor Laura Jeuda, Labour Spokesperson on Health and Adult Social Care
said, "Despite pleas from carers and members of the Labour Group, Cheshire
East Council chose to go ahead with closing a tried and trusted resource
which had a high level of customer satisfaction. The problems caused by the
closure of Hollins View and Lincoln House were predicted at the time, but
the Conservatives pressed ahead with their ideological plans to close
council-run services and promote private health care."

Dorothy Flude, Labour Councillor for Crewe South, said, "There is a crisis
in the private care sector, reported nationally. Because of the low payments
for contract beds paid by local authorities to care home owners, the homes
are not viable. The number of care homes closing is increasing with dreadful
consequences for older people and their families. Locally, the short-sighted
closure by Cheshire East Council of Lincoln House and Hollins View, respite
homes that provided excellent care, has not helped."

Shortage of Care Beds

Carers from Macclesfield were understandably angry when a review of respitecare that was due to be discussed at a Health and Adult Social Care Overviewand Scrutiny Committee was abruptly cancelled...

Report is damning indictment on Tory Government's failure to acknowledge teachers as a precious resource - Angela Rayner

Angela Rayner MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, commenting on the Education Policy Institute’s report into teacher workload and development, said

“Teachers are our most precious resource and this report is a damning indictment on the Tory Government’s failure to acknowledge this.

“While the Tories waste time on bringing back failed old education policies, they are ignoring the most important factor in delivering an excellent education for all – great teachers.

“Labour would ensure all teachers have access to excellent professional development and training in order to provide an excellent education for all, not just the lucky few.”

Damning indictment on the Tory Government's Education Policies

Report is damning indictment on Tory Government's failure to acknowledge teachers as a precious resource - Angela Rayner Angela Rayner MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, commenting on the Education Policy...

Crewe is a proud railway town, with generations of expertise and experience. The HS2 hub station at Crewe is set to transform the town. But new documents reveal that the Infrastructure Maintenance Depot that was to have been built at Crewe, providing valuable jobs, may now be sited at Stone. The change of location for the depot is because Cheshire East Council have given planning permission for 370 new houses on the proposed depot site.

The changes proposed will have a major impact on what the final outcome of HS2 at Crewe will look like, but the latest consultation process has no venue in Crewe.

In 2014, Steve Hogben, Labour Councillor for Crewe South, welcomed the announcement of HS2 saying, “We must also ensure that the All Change for Crewe initiative and other local plans take full account of the challenges and opportunities offered by the HS2 project. The future location of the rail freight yard at Basford Hall will also need to be considered and resolved. We need joined up thinking so that Crewe benefits fully from this announcement.” It now looks as though the Conservatives on Cheshire East Council have made the big announcement on HS2, but not done the planning work required to ensure that Crewe benefits fully.

Cllr Sam Corcoran, Labour Councillor for Sandbach Heath & East, said, “Cheshire East Council seems obsessed with building houses on greenfield sites in the south of the borough, in order to protect greenfield sites in the north of the borough. The latest Local Plan proposals suggest 8050 new houses around Crewe (incl Shavington, Basford and Leighton), 2951 new houses around Sandbach, 2181 around Nantwich, but only 950 around Wilmslow and 689 around Poynton. Now it seems that the rush to give planning permission for houses around Crewe has led to the loss of a rail employment opportunity. The staff in the Cheshire East Council ‘planning’ department are clearly struggling with the flood of speculative housing applications that government policies have let loose.

“There is widespread agreement that as a nation we need to build more homes. Labour proposes building more council houses and would let local government planning determine where the houses should be built (such as brownfield sites in Stoke). The Conservatives have let loose private developers, allowing them to build on sites where they can make the greatest profit (greenfield sites in south Cheshire).

Labour would have plan-led development. The Conservatives rely on the free market and are allowing developer-led planning.” 

Crewe Set to Lose HS2 Depot After Planning Blunder by Cheshire East Council

Crewe is a proud railway town, with generations of expertise and experience. The HS2 hub station at Crewe is set to transform the town. But new documents reveal that the...

Barry Gardiner MP, Labour’s Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary, responding to the Tory Government’s decision to override Lancashire county council’s rejection on fracking, said:

“The Government’s decision bulldozes local democracy and risks locking Britain into an old-fashioned dirty energy infrastructure when we should be seizing the opportunities for new long-term jobs and investment in a clean energy future.

“Cuadrilla’s own figures on jobs show they would be very temporary, and their claims that fracking will lower British energy bills have been discredited.

“Tory ministers pay lip service to tackling climate change but are bending over backwards to force through new fossil fuel infrastructure, with divisive bribes, tax breaks and ministerial powers that override the wishes of local communities.

“The next Labour government will ban fracking and focus on unlocking the jobs and growth that a new clean low-carbon energy infrastructure can provide for our industry, workforce and communities.”

Government rides roughshod over local fracking decision

Barry Gardiner MP, Labour’s Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary, responding to the Tory Government’s decision to override Lancashire county council’s rejection on fracking, said: “The Government’s decision bulldozes local democracy...

Responding to the Education Secretary, Justine Greening’s speech to Conservative Party Conference, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner said:

 “Any new investment into disadvantaged communities is welcome, but the truth is that grammar schools fail the vast majority of children.

“The Tories cannot provide any evidence that new grammar schools will aid social mobility for children from the most disadvantaged communities.

“As the former Tory Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said yesterday, a return to a selective system will only put progress at risk in all our schools. This is not creating ‘a level playing field’.

“Theresa May’s government are the same old Tories – backward-looking and still obsessing about old-fashioned, discredited policies which will only entrench inequality.

"They have no answers to the real challenges facing all our children – school budgets falling, the teacher shortage crisis, rising class sizes and a total failure to give early years children the best start in life. 

"More grammar schools offer no answers and no change, and will only make things worse for most vulnerable.”

Grammar schools fail the vast majority of children

Responding to the Education Secretary, Justine Greening’s speech to Conservative Party Conference, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner said:  “Any new investment into disadvantaged communities is welcome, but the truth is...

Jeremy Corbyn’s response to Theresa May’s speech at Conservative Party Conference 2016.

"Conservative Party leaders have sunk to a new low this week as they fan the flames of xenophobia and hatred in our communities and try to blame foreigners for their own failures.
“Drawing up lists of foreign workers won’t stop unscrupulous employers undercutting wages in Britain. Shutting the door to international students won’t pay young people’s tuition fee debts, and ditching doctors from abroad won’t cut NHS waiting lists.
“The Conservatives will instead foster division and discrimination in our workplaces and communities.
“Once again, they are making false promises on immigration they can’t deliver. Instead of turning people against each other, ministers should take action now to deal with the real impact of migration.
“They should stop the abuse of migrant labour to undercut pay and conditions, which would reduce numbers. They should support communities with high levels of migration and they should set out a positive agenda for fair migration rules as part of the Brexit negotiations for a new relationship with the European Union."

Response to PMs conference speech

Jeremy Corbyn’s response to Theresa May’s speech at Conservative Party Conference 2016. "Conservative Party leaders have sunk to a new low this week as they fan the flames of xenophobia...

The coalition government restricted council tax rises by insisting on a referendum for rises over 2% and gave councils significant financial incentives not to raise council tax at all. The rules were relaxed for 2016/17 so that councils could raise council tax by up to 2% plus an additional 2% for social care. Cheshire East Council increased its council tax by 3.75% in 2016/17 including 2% for social care. The Cheshire East Health & Wellbeing Board met on 27 September to discuss the impact of this social care precept valued at £3.5m.

The extra income of £3.5m a year is welcome and has enabled the council to ensure that there is no charge to carers, free telecare equipment for all residents over 85 who live alone and investment in new information systems. However, the increasing costs of adult care provision has necessitated additional investment of over £21m between April 2015 and April 2017, so the additional funding from the council tax increase is insufficient on its own to cover the increasing costs.

The severity of the financial outlook for health and social care is illustrated by the predicted £132m deficit of Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), with similar projections for other local CCGs.

It was suggested that the Council & local NHS need to seriously think about adopting a single health and social care budget and approach

The Health & Wellbeing Board resolved to note that the social care precept is welcomed but not sufficient to meet the rising complexities and demands of meeting care and support needs in Cheshire East.

Sam Corcoran, Labour Councillor for Sandbach Heath & East, said, “The restricting of free telecare equipment to those over 85 and living alone will benefit more people in the wealthier areas of Cheshire East where life expectancies are longer. Charges should be set to protect those least able to pay, but the Tories rig the rules to benefit those in their own wards.”

Funding Social Care

The coalition government restricted council tax rises by insisting on a referendum for rises over 2% and gave councils significant financial incentives not to raise council tax at all. The...

Cheshire East Council is being investigated by the NW Regional Organised Crime Unit. The external auditors have determined that they cannot formally conclude their audit and issue a certificate until the Police investigation reaches its conclusion. At the Audit & Governance Committee meeting on 29 September the auditors said that this could take years.

Background Information

A routine procurement audit commenced in 2015. This audit was expanded as a result of whistleblowing allegations into contracts awarded to Core Fit Ltd, a company run by the then Leader Cllr Michael Jones’s physiotherapist. Then the Chief Executive ordered an internal audit investigation reporting directly to him. In December both the Chief Executive and the external auditors said that no external investigation was required into the awarding of the Core Fit contracts, but then the Police launched an investigation and ordered the internal auditors at Cheshire East Council to stop work on their investigation.

Latest Developments

In a recent report to Cheshire East Council, the external auditors have recommended that the Council engage a suitably independent internal auditor to complete a rigorous and thorough review into procurement matters. In June/July the Chief Executive suggested that another local authority’s internal audit team reviewed the work carried out by Cheshire East’s internal audit team. Now the external auditors have said that the internal audit work should be completed and that the review should be overseen, directed and reviewed by a suitably independent internal auditor.

Steve Hogben, Labour Councillor for Crewe South, said, “The way the external auditors and the Chief Executive categorically stated that no external review was required is a matter for concern, but I am pleased that they have changed their minds. The results of this external review should be reported to the Audit & Governance Committee.”

Cllr Sam Corcoran, Labour Councillor for Sandbach Heath & East, said, “The independence of Internal Audit is a vital part of the culture of the Council. Staff must be allowed to carry out their duties with integrity and without fear of undue influence. I am pleased that the idea of involving the audit department of another council has been accepted. I hope that the Conservative Leader of the Council will recognise that it was a mistake to include Internal Audit within her own responsibilities and will move to correct any perception that she wishes to control Internal Audit.”  

Police Investigation of Cheshire East Council

Cheshire East Council is being investigated by the NW Regional Organised Crime Unit. The external auditors have determined that they cannot formally conclude their audit and issue a certificate until...

The Sandbach Peace pole was unveiled at a ceremony in Sandbach on Saturday, attended by Fiona Bruce MP, Keith Haines (Mayor of Sandbach), Rev Jeremy Tresise (Churches Together in Sandbach), Councillor Sam Corcoran and Bob Mynett and Val Atkinson who initiated the Sandbach Peace Pole project 3 years ago. Over 50 people attended the ceremony during which packets of jelly babies were handed out by Churches Together in Sandbach.

 

A Peace Pole is a monument that displays the message ‘May Peace Prevail on Earth’. The Sandbach Peace Pole will display this message in English, German, Japanese and Arabic. The languages were chosen to reflect the former adversaries in world wars and the current troubles in Libya, Syria and Iraq.

 

Sam Corcoran, the lead councillor on the project, said, “Thank you all for coming here today for the unveiling of the Sandbach Peace Pole. I am grateful to Sandbach Town Council, Cheshire East Council and Churches Together in Sandbach for helping to make this happen.

This Peace Pole is currently covered by a red cloth. 20 years ago I spent 2 years in Kenya with the Volunteer Missionary Movement in an area close to Maasai country and that is a Maasai warrior cloak. Maasai warriors have a fearsome reputation, but they were the friendliest, smiliest people I know. Times change - fights between tribes in Kenya are now rare and Kenya is a relatively peaceful country. Most of the people here today have never experienced war. That is worth celebrating, BUT peace is something that must be continually supported. We must strive to settle arguments peacefully. We need only look to Syria to see what happens when things go wrong – to see the devastation that war causes. I am delighted that Cheshire East Council has agreed to welcome 3-5 Syrian refugee families.

The writing on the Peace Pole says May Peace Prevail on Earth in English, German and Japanese to remind us of countries who were our enemies in the First and Second World Wars and in Arabic to remind us of current conflicts in Libya, Syria and Iraq.

It is important to remember the horror of war and how important it is to promote peace. I would now like to hand over to Bob Mynett who, with Val Atkinson, instigated the Sandbach Peace Pole project..”

 

Rev Jeremy Tresise spoke about Jelly Babies which were marketed as Peace Babies in 1919 to celebrate the end of the First World War.

 

Councillor Keith Haines, Mayor of Sandbach, said, “I’m honoured to be here on behalf of Sandbach Town Council to mark the establishment of Sandbach’s Peace Pole. Congratulations to all who have worked so hard to bring this about and in particular, I want to thank Bob Mynett and Cllr. Sam Corcoran.

Earlier this year, on 1st July, I attended a ceremony at the War Memorial in the Market Square to mark the exact centenary of the start of the Battle of the Somme. To our generation, that battle, perhaps more than any other, defines the bloody, attritional nature of warfare. In five months of combat from July to November, an estimated one million men from all sides were killed, wounded or went missing.

Despite that carnage, humanity hasn’t learned the lessons of history. The 20th century was the most murderous in recorded history, with the total number of deaths from wars estimated at 187m. Taking 1914 as a start point, it was a century of almost unbroken war, with few and brief periods without organised armed conflict somewhere. Since the end of the cold war, it’s a matter of debate how far actions around the globe constitute a continuation of the era of world war. There’s no doubt that the 1990s were filled with formal and informal military conflict in Europe, Africa and western and central Asia, with the first 16 years of this century continuing the bloodshed. The world as a whole has not been at peace since 1914, and is certainly not at peace now.

On behalf of Sandbach Town Council, I’m proud to see this permanent reminder of the need to work for a civilised free society, liberated from the need for yet more slaughter.

Finally, I’d like to thank the fair organizers Joe White and his team for providing us with a p.a. system and delaying the start of the fair for us. Thank-you to everyone for coming along – the weather’s fine, so let’s all enjoy the delights of the funfair.

Sandbach Peace Pole

The Sandbach Peace pole was unveiled at a ceremony in Sandbach on Saturday, attended by Fiona Bruce MP, Keith Haines (Mayor of Sandbach), Rev Jeremy Tresise (Churches Together in Sandbach),...

Witters Field

The Secretary of State has granted permission to Gladman Developments Ltd to build up to 300 dwellings on Witters Field in Wistaston.

The ruling is bad news for the people of Wistaston village who have been campaigning against this development. The ruling is also bad news for Cheshire East as it raises technical issues about which of their planning policies can be considered up to date in the absence of a 5-year housing land supply. Yet again, Conservative-controlled Cheshire East Council has been criticised for not having a 5-year housing land supply and for not having an approved Local Plan. The deputy leader of the Council recently admitted that the Council might never have a 5-year housing land supply. It is unlikely that the Cheshire East Local Plan will be approved before 2017.

 

The ruling suggests that the ‘green gaps’ between towns and villages in south Cheshire are of little significance in determining planning appeals.

 

Dorothy Flude, Labour Councillor for Crewe South, said, “I am bitterly disappointed for the people of Wistaston village that planning permission has been granted to build houses on Witters Field. It concerns me that, with all the talk of a High Growth City for Crewe, we are not looking at the prospect of a garden city with plenty of green spaces between our small towns and villages. We need to acknowledge the historic nature of some of our towns and villages and work together to retain that historic settlement.”

 

Sam Corcoran, Labour Councillor for Sandbach Heath & East, said, “There is widespread agreement that as a nation we need to build more houses. Labour proposes building more council houses and would let local government planning determine where the houses should be built (such as brownfield sites in Stoke). The Conservatives have let loose private developers, allowing them to build on sites where they can make the greatest profit (greenfield sites in Cheshire).

Tories let private developers pick and choose the sites that make them most money.

Labour would have plan-led development. The Tories rely on the free market and are allowing developer-led planning.

The Witters Field is just the latest in a long line of green fields in Cheshire that are being lost as a result of Tory policy to let private developers have more power in deciding where to build houses.”

 

Brian Roberts, Labour Councillor for Crewe West, said, “At the planning committees we are trying to refuse applications which are detrimental to the rural aspect of villages. But our hands are tied by this constant referral to the lack of a 5-year housing land supply. We know the planning applications need to be refused but we are constantly advised by the planning officers of the developer’s high success potential at appeal and its subsequent cost to the Council. As a Councillor who represents a dense built up urban ward I am concerned at this further expansion of urban sprawl closing the green gaps.”

300 new houses in Wistaston

Witters Field The Secretary of State has granted permission to Gladman Developments Ltd to build up to 300 dwellings on Witters Field in Wistaston. The ruling is bad news for...

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