Judging by the Labour Oldham electioneering leaflet for Susan Dearden in the Chadderton Central ward in the recent local election’s we can only concur that the myth of the monkey and the red rose is probably true. Without doubt this is one of the most vague documents we have seen in Oldham election’s with very little of the generalised material relating directly to the actual ward and some of the material being completely misleading and not representative of the current economic situation.
- Let us start at the bottom of the leaflet where claims of job creation can only be described as disingenuous witholding of facts or of showing complete ignorance for the current situation. It states “created jobs in Chadderton – Mono Pumps relocated to the former BAE Systems site on Greengate” Mono Pumps relocated to Oldham with 440 jobs from Audenshaw after taking control of the Oldham site in December 2012. Labour MP Jim McMahon regularly states that he secured 600 jobs bringing Mono to Oldham and the company even talked about plans to create up to a 1,000 jobs in total. Several weeks before the local election it transpired that Mono in Chadderton employed just 379 staff and 31 were facing redundancy.
- “Get Oldham Working has created over 3,000 work related opportunities” GOW refers to the entire borough and not Chadderton Central the number of “work related opportunities” in the Chadderton central ward will have been miniscule at best so the tactic of communicating the whole is used. When we talked to Get oldham Working on November 18th 2015 they stated they had facilitated 2,548 opportunities but just 1450 were sustainable jobs. It is also worth noting that in 15 months foreign nationals registering for new National Insurance numbers in Oldham surpassed job opportunities created by the “Get Oldham Working” scheme in its first 22 months by 68%.
- “The Green Dividend helped to fund communities to plant bulbs and trees across their neighbourhoods” The Oldham Labour Party are continuing to push foward a plan to build a million square foot of industrial development and 500 houses in central Chadderton on the last sizeable piece of green undeveloped land despite empty industrial units being available on all surrounding industrial parks. The so called Green Dividend cannot counteract the localised effect of increased traffic, people, pollution or the additional noise created industrialising large green areas and building on floodplain’s. The Green Dividend as to be expected is targeted at the same core voter Labour communities as is the majority of Oldham Council spending with all 20 wards sharing £100,000 and Alexandra, Coldhurst, Hathershaw, Hollinwood, Oldham Edge, Primrose Bank, St Mary’s and Waterhead sharing an additional £170,000 just for those areas which coincidentally contribute the least in taxes yet have the highest rates of tax credit and benefit claimants, accommodate the highest migrant numbers and have up to sixty percent more children than the England average.
- “Supported health and leisure services to provide activities including armchair exercises and walks in the park” Seriously, the best example of your health work you can come up with is a walk in the park, think it is safe to gather that even that minimal effort will not be actioned upon by many around central Chadderton’s neglected Foxdenton Park. In contrast there are people still managing to regularly go to the gym I use who are in their seventies and eighties and some are suffering from cancer.
- “Warm homes scheme lifted over 3000 people out of fuel poverty” Another generalised Oldham scheme with a qualifying criteria which is not available to all and is area and circumstance dependent, the first batch of Warm Homes Oldham improvements was limited just to Fitton Hill. “You may be eligible for free* energy saving home improvements if you live in an area that is eligible or if you are in receipt of qualifying benefits. The level of grant funding you can access will depend on where you live, the type of house you live in and what potential energy efficiency improvements can be made.”
- “New Street Lighting installed” Again this is another generalised scheme covering all Rochdale & Oldham and is financed by more expensive long term PFI loans.
- Enhanced the visibility of a zebra crossing on Middleton Road. This does not warrant inclusion in a list of supposed achievements.
- “The carriageway on Broadway is being resurfaced” This is by no means a scheme to improve things for central Chadderton residents, the Government website states “A 1.5 mile stretch of the A663 Broadway, which links the A627M to the M60, is being resurfaced up to the junction with Foxdenton Lane to tackle chips, cracks and potholes. The Highways England scheme will also include some structural repairs to concrete underneath the road, new sensors to monitor traffic levels, and a lower-noise surface.” This work is as indicated by the Government statement because of increased traffic and road damage on Broadway due in Part to the building of the John Henry Newman Academy. This work is also to cope with the huge projected future increase in traffic from the Foxdenton development and housing schemes on both sides of Broadway which will see a million square foot of industrial space and up to a 1,000 new houses.