Cheshire East and Cheshire West and Chester:
It is amazing how Cheshire East Council Leader Michael Jones manages to pick up local Labour ideas but years too late. Members of the old Cheshire County Labour Group still involved in local politics such as David Newton, Ken Edwards and Dorothy Flude remember only too well the huge efforts they made to get national and local politicians, Labour and Tory, to see the long term economic and political benefits of a County-wide Cheshire Unitary Authority.
However ideas have their time and then they become obsolete distractions. Sometimes we think Michael Jones is keen to become an obsolete distraction.
Our message to Michael Jones is ‘stick to the knitting’ and provide high quality services for your residents before you start trying to reorganise local government yet again.
Cllr Ken Edwards, Labour Councillor for Macclesfield Central, said, “Instead of injecting huge uncertainty into the political landscape and alienating local political leaders with whom he needs to cooperate, Cllr Jones needs to concentrate on the day-to-day issues that are directly under his control. The Cheshire East Local Plan is in a mess, it seems, through confusion over housing numbers with developers running amok in mid-Cheshire East, indeed anywhere not protected by the green belt. As far as we know, his Tory Group are still running an inadequate Child Protection Service. He has created a whole set of wholly owned companies under another wholly owned company. This mini local authority capitalist enterprise may work, but it will need careful scrutiny and management to ensure the maintenance of high quality services for Cheshire East residents. He is crowing about this year’s budget, but with an election looming even his chief finance officer is warning him about serious challenges to finance in 2015/16. Cllr Jones has recently highlighted the need for improved care for dementia patients in Cheshire East. Providing sufficient residential care of good quality to meet needs at prices that families can afford is an immense challenge and far from being able to meet that need Cheshire East Tories are prepared to consider closing well run publicly owned care homes, putting ideology before meeting people’s needs.”