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Foreword

Liberal Democrats are committed to working together with others, in local politics as well as nationally, in order to improve services, and to promote our beliefs and values. As the Chair of Trafford Liberal Democrats, I have been proud with what we have achieved for local people through the Agreement that Councillor Ray Bowker and Councillor Jane Brophy reached with Labour back in May last year.  Having Liberal Democrats in local government has allowed us to improve the lives of residents across Trafford.

Through working with other parties, we have:

  • Scrapped the Green Bin Tax
  • Prioritised youth services
  • Introduced a plan to eliminate single-use plastics
  • Produced a Council commitment against fracking
  • Voted against house-building on Timperley Wedge
  • Persuaded the Council to take action in the face of the climate change emergency
  • Led the successful campaign for the Council to back a People’s Vote on Brexit, and commit itself to publishing impact studies

If we can achieve so much, with just two Councillors, just think how much we could achieve with more! The reason is that the Liberal Democrats promote policies which are:

  • Reflective of the priorities of local peopleProperly thought-through
  • Based on credible evidence
  • Moderate – where they need to be; radical – where big changes are required
  • Founded upon the Party’s principles of a fair, free and open society.

Demand Better

National Party Manifesto

Health and Social Care

Despite the hard work and dedication of health and social care workers, patients and service users across Trafford demand better: NHS and social care cannot recruit enough staff; GP appointments are rarely when you need them, and often not with a GP you know; real joint working is a pipe­d ream; hospital services move further away; and community care for the elderly is stretched to breaking point.  Services should be patient-centred; but they are not. We understand the day-to-day experiences that people have of health and social care services.We will fight for them to be:

As early as possible
It is clear that preventing ill-health, both physical and mental, is best done during pregnancy and in the early years of life.  We will:

  • Prioritise interventions and budgets to focus on maternity and early years services
  • Engage young people and parents in helping us decide what is best for them.

As responsive as possible
Every day, thousands of patients experience the frustration of not being able to get a GP appointment when they need it.  We will:

  • Use the Council’s powers and influence, through its Health Scrutiny role, to undertake a radical review of local primary care services
  • Work closely with the Trafford Clinical Commissioning group to bring back the lost value of GP services: doctors who know you; doctors who aren’t just locums; surgeries which don’t just look like hospital clinics.

As local as possible
It is simply not good enough that we expect older people and their carers to travel long distances for treatment.  We will:

  • Work with our partners in the NHS to require any change or development of services to pass the ‘as local as possible’ test
  • Fight to make sure that only where it is clinically necessary would health services be moved further away.

As holistic as possible
Much is now known about the damage caused if our mental health is not given at least equal attention to our physical health.  We will:

  • Through the Trafford Health and Well-Being Board, insist that promoting mental health, and preventing mental illness, are no longer ‘cinderella’ services
  • Adopt the aim of preventing all suicides across Trafford.

As joined-up as possible
Whilst much has been said and promised in Greater Manchester about joined-up working between Health and Social Care (Children and Adults), the reality is still short of the ambition.  We will:

  • Introduce a set of measures, designed by service users, patients, and their carers, to make sure that integrated working arrangements benefit them, not the organisations concerned.

As competent as possible
The mothballing of the Altrincham Health Hub has become a national scandal. Under the Conservatives’ oversight, the incompetence of all those involved has been staggering.  We will:

  • Work with all stakeholders to find an urgent resolution to this mess, insist that real lessons are learnt, and fight for competent leadership of future health and social care projects across Trafford.

Transport

When you look around the world, the most affluent cities aren’t those where everyone drives their own car – nobody wants to live in a city where the air is thick with pollution. The cities with the highest standards of living are those where the public transport is so good everyone wants to use it. Trafford has so much potential to improve our existing transport systems. Liberal Democrats want to make getting around our borough easier, to keep our air cleaner and make our lives healthier.Here’s how we’ll do it …

Prioritising road and pavement maintenance
The long-term impact of the last Conservative administration was to leave Trafford with a road and pavement network that is dangerous for pedestrians, cyclists and cost highway users expensive repairs. A council administration that includes Liberal Democrats will:

  • Take road and pavement maintenance and repair a much higher priority once more
  • Commission repairs that are specifically designed to improve drainage – to reduce flooding and make surfaces last longer.

Making buses work
Buses should be accessible to every­one. Trafford Lib Dems want to:

  • Find ways to fund subsidised bus travel for young people in full-time education
  • Protect key bus services
  • Restore bus services to isolated people with limited mobility.

Protecting walkers & cyclists
Lib Dems will encourage the healthy options of walking and cycling by investing in infrastructure to:

  • Make cycling safer in Trafford
  • Make dangerous roads like Moss Lane in Hale and Stockport Road in Timperley safer for pedestrians.

Introducing integrated ticketing
In other parts of Greater Manchester, you can buy a Metrolink ticket that is valid for onward rail travel, such as at Rochdale. Trafford Lib Dems want to see joined-up transport tickets across trams train and buses.  Trafford Lib Dems will work with Transport for Greater Manchester, so you can:

  • Buy one ticket to travel on both Metrolink and National Rail, to train stations like Hale and beyond
  • Use an integrated ticket on Metrolink and the buses.

Travelling to the south of the country by rail can be impracticable from Navigation Road because the connections at Stockport are badly timed.  Trafford Lib Dems will lobby Virgin and Northern Rail for:

  • Better timetable co-ordination between Northern and Virgin at Stockport
  • Better levels of service for commuters fed up with over-crowded, unreliable and outdated trains.

Expanding Metrolink capacity
Metrolink has become a victim of its own success. Transport for Greater Manchester’s Transport Strategy 2040 provides a blueprint for increasing capacity, which includes buying more double units. But there is a risk most units will go to other lines.  A Lib Dem led council will:

  • Fight for the Altrincham line to get our fair share extra double­unit trams during rush hour
  • Demand TfGM reduce the number of ‘points failures’ by upgrading the infrastructure and increasing protection against vandalism
  • Demand TfGM modernise the signalling to speed up travel through Navigation Road
  • Support the long-term goal of an outer circular connecting loop.

Trafford Liberal Democrats would also campaign for:

  • An increase in park-and-ride spaces to make it more attractive
  • Converting the old railway to Partington to a new Metrolink line to support the housing development at Carrington.

Policing and Community

Effective policing is at the heart of safe and self-assured communities.
Trafford has suffered the effects of cuts to police funding, from increased antisocial behaviour to the loss of confidence that comes from fewer officers on our streets. We want to reverse that.
Trafford Liberal Democrats will work with Greater Manchester Police so they can best provide our communities with the security they deserve.

We will deliver this by:

Putting the emphasis on community policing
Liberal Democrats understand the importance of community policing in building social cohesion and community confidence.
In Trafford, police and community support officers work across a geographically and economically diverse area, from rural communities to the Manchester suburbs.

We will forge a stronger relationship between police and residents by:

  • Lobbying central Government for increased police spending, with an emphasis on community policing
  • Promoting regular meetings and ‘Community Planning Boards’, to be attended by local police officers and members of the public.

Making Metrolink safe for everyone
Metrolink is one of Greater Manchester’s, and Trafford’s, most valuable assets. Unfortunately, crime and anti-social behaviour continue to pose a challenge to staff and police, blighting thousands of journeys each year. Liberal Democrats believe that everyone has the right to feel safe and travel without intimidation on Metrolink.

We think the best way to achieve this is to:

  • Set up an urgent Task Group, with membership from local people, Metrolink, Police, and other relevant bodies, to find solutions, and agree a comprehensive strategy to tackle Metrolink-related crime, from antisocial behaviour to violent offences.

Tackling youth and violent crime
Knife crime is harming communities and spreading fear across Britain. Trafford is not immune.  Youth offending more generally is also a concern in the Borough, not helped by cuts to services for young people. Trafford Liberal Democrats will work with local police, other authorities and our communities to systemically tackle violent and youth crime.

We will:

  • Implement the ‘Glasgow Model’ for violent crime; by treating knife crime as a public health issue. Strathclyde police have dramatically reduced the number of stabbings and other violent offences in Glasgow. We believe Trafford can benefit too
  • Develop a community outreach and youth engagement strategy for Trafford, giving young people positive spaces and role models.

Planning and Development

Britain faces a crisis due to a lack of affordable and sustainable housing. It is harder than ever for people to get onto the property ladder with more and more people being pushed into the private rented sector. Liberal Democrats believe that access to an affordable and sustainable home is key to social mobility and personal prosperity. That’s why we’re committed to making sure that Trafford builds communities for the future, incorporating the rural and green spaces that make our borough special but taking ambitious and progressive steps to provide future generations with a safe, affordable and sustainable place to live.

Here is how we’ll do it …

Raising affordable levies
Trafford is divided into three residential zones, each with their own guidelines for affordable housing. Trafford Lib Dems will:

  • Raise the ‘Moderate Zone Levy’ from 20% to 30%
  • Raise the ‘Cold Zone Levy’ from 5% to 15%
  • Ensure a minimum 30% Levy for the ‘Future Carrington’ project, which sits in a ‘Cold Zone’.

Closing legal loopholes
Despite efforts from local authorities to enforce affordable levies, many developers do not adhere to demands because legal loopholes -such as Viability Assessments – allow them to prioritise profits over affordability.  Liberal Democrats will work to close these loopholes by:

  • Commissioning a Trafford­wide assessment of housing developments, which will highlight where and how developers are falling short of targets
  • Pressuring Government ministers to close legal loopholes, which stand
    in the way of affordable developments.

Prioritising sustainable developments
A key obstacle for many would-be homeowners is sustainability and fuel efficiency. There is now strong evidence that new build properties with solar panels drastically reduce the cost of bil Is, help tackle fuel poverty and allow homeowners to ‘sell energy back’ to the national grid. We will lobby government for more national investment in solar energy. Trafford Liberal Democrats will:

  • Prioritise proposals where developers have committed to the provision of solar panels
  • Make the provision of solar panels a ‘red line’ for any development proposed on a ‘Greenbelt’ site.

Consulting local residents
We will make sure planning applications are more visible and increase consultation with residents. We believe there is a place for local authorities to promote public meetings and online forums, to enablecommunity engagement.  Trafford Lib Dems will:

  • Enable decision-making at the lowest possible level to be effective and fair
  • Promote a two-way open debate between residents and developers
  • Fight to protect our libraries during all stages of planning
  • Prioritise developments which provide greater energy efficiency
  • Plant more street trees to mitigate the risk of flooding and climate change
  • Create more online forums to engage residents and increase community notice boards.

Improving Recycling Performance
So much more can, and needs to be, done to continually improve Trafford’s performance in recycling. We support the Four Rs of waste management – Refuse, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, and we will:

  • Increase the range and types of plastics collected by Amey, from both household bins and collection points
  • Introduce an effective monitoring scheme, to ensure that Amey is genuinely recycling materials correctly.

Green campaigning
We have a long and proud history as a Party that campaigns effectively on the environment. We will:

  • Campaign, at a national level, for the law to be changed, requiring all new-build houses to incorporate solar panels
  • Support initiatives to ensure all new houses conform to Passivhaus standards
  • Enhance our green spaces by planting more native trees to increasing biodiversity.

Looking after our Greenbelt
No issue is likely to cause more concern for local people than this.  On the one hand, we need to build more houses – especially affordable ones. On the other hand, our diminishing greenbelt is a precious asset, for which we are the custodians, to hand on to future generations.
We will:

  • Extend the range of affordable housing for people in our area, including empty housing in Trafford
  • Listen carefully to the views of local people, and all other stakeholders
  • Look to brownfield sites first, for housing development
  • Oppose any building on the Timperley Wedge Greenbelt
  • Apply transparent and consistent tests to each proposal, so that our position is clear.

Environment

Councillor Jane Brophy, often working in partnership with the Green Party, has led the local Liberal Democrat campaign in the Council on a range of environmental issues, with great success: single-use plastics, climate change, against fracking, planting trees, and air pollution. Jane is now a member of the Climate Change Emergency Task and Finish Group. The next set of Liberal Democrat priorities will focus on:

Implementing decisions made in 2018-19

We will work with all other interested groups to:

  • Fight relentlessly to ensure that our successes so far are fully implemented.

Demanding a Better Environment Strategy

Given the climate change emergency, Trafford Council now needs to forge a comprehensive, and effective, strategy for environmental sustainability.

Liberal Democrats will introduce strong local policies to combat air pollution in Trafford and climate change.

We will fight to ensure that this strategy prioritises:

  • Improving flood defences
  • Expanding the walking and cycle lane networks
  • Increasing the number of electric charging points
  • Engaging businesses and communities in the strategy
  • Publicising the carbon foot-prints for buildings across Trafford
  • Increase the number of air pollution monitors.

Improving Recycling Performance

So much more can, and needs to be, done to continually improve Trafford’s performance in recycling.

We support the Four Rs of waste management – Refuse, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, and we will:

  • Increase the range and types of plastics collected by Amey, from both household bins and collection points
  • Introduce an effective monitoring scheme, to ensure that Amey is genuinely recycling materials correctly.

Green campaigning

We have a long and proud history as a Party that campaigns effectively on the environment.

We will:

  • Campaign, at a national level, for the law to be changed, requiring all new-build houses to incorporate solar panels
  • Support initiatives to ensure all new houses conform to Passivhaus standards
  • Enhance our green spaces by planting more native trees to increasing biodiversity.

Looking after our Greenbelt

No issue is likely to cause more concern for local people than this.

On the one hand, we need to build more houses – especially affordable ones. On the other hand, our diminishing greenbelt is a precious asset, for which we are the custodians, to hand on to future generations.

We will:

  • Extend the range of affordable housing for people in our area, including empty housing in Trafford
  • Listen carefully to the views of local people, and all other stakeholders
  • Look to brownfield sites first, for housing development
  • Oppose any building on the Timperley Wedge Greenbelt
  • Apply transparent and consistent tests to each proposal, so that our position is clear

Local economy and business

We do not accept that a thriving local economy has to mean sacrificing our passion for a cleaner environment, healthier living, and stronger communities.

Instead, we see these as essential components of creating ‘space’ for local businesses to flourish.

We will:

Recognise Europe’s value to Trafford

Trafford voted decisively to remain in the European Union.

Our local business leaders know just how vital continuing open access to European markets is to our economy and to local jobs.

Our Liberal Democrat Councillors led the successful motion, resulting in the decision by the Council to back a People’s Vote.

We will:

  • Continue to be the only major Party to fight, unequivocally, for the economic, cultural and security benefits of EU membership.

Transform our town centres

Some of our town centres have seen some improvement, but there is still a long way to go before local people will want to return in numbers to shop and seek entertainment in their local neighbourhoods.

Elected Liberal Democrats will:

  • Encourage expanded and enhanced community spaces such as supermarkets, libraries, schools, cafes and increase opening hours to cover evenings and weekends
  • Encourage housing and specialist shops
  • Promote a variety of investment and free parking
  • Seek to deploy more traffic control measures.

Work in partnership with the business community

We are not assured that the local business community, especially small businesses, feel fully engaged in a partnership with the Council and others to make the Trafford economy thrive.

So, we will:

  • Give greater priority to working more closely with local businesses, on such issues as town centre renewal and Brexit
  • Support business rates relief for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), and tax breaks for start-ups.

Promote sustainable development

There is still much to be done to build sustainability principles and practices into the council’s economic and planning strategies.

Your Liberal Democrat Councillors will:

  • Continue to fight to ensure that protecting the local environment is at the heart of local economic strategies.

Re-discover localism

Liberal Democrats have long been advocates of localism, as a guiding principle for everything a Council should be doing.

In relation to the Trafford economy, we will:

  • Promote policies which encourage, and maximise, local production, employment and training.

Abolish the Amey contract

When they were in power, the Conservatives were responsible for the disastrous contract with Amey, to provide many local services.

We will:

  • Put right the day-to-day failures of this company’s performance
  • Transform public access to information and to making complaints
  • Employ every possible means to end the contract, without costing local tax-payers
  • Learn vital lessons, so we don’t make the same mistakes again.

Education

Trafford Liberal Democrats support a mix of selective and non-selective schools, which enables all pupils to have an excellent education, so that they reach their potential, and, at the same time, maintain social mobility. However, our education provision faces huge challenges.

This is what we will do to tackle the challenges:

Fighting for proper funding for our schools

The Conservative Government, since 2015, has gone far beyond what was necessary to complete the work the Liberal Democrats started in 2010 to rescue the economy.

The Conservatives’ abandonment of previous commitments – to put education first – is a betrayal.

Liberal Democrats will:

  • Continue to press the Government to reverse its own damaging cuts, and to increase investment in our children and young people, especially in the Early Years
  • Argue the case to prioritise spending on schools and special units.

Giving priority to the early years

The research is clear: Early Years’ education has a positive effect on equalising opportunity.

We will:

  • Ensure that all children have access to good quality education, from an early age, in partnership with their parents
  • Employ more teachers specialising in early education.

Recognising the importance of teachers

Research also tells us that the pupils of good teachers make the most progress in fulfilling their potential.

Good teachers make learning enjoyable, as well as stretch and excite their pupils’ minds. This leads them to want lifelong education.

We will:

  • Adopt best practice in recruiting teachers, throughout Trafford
  • Only appoint the best teachers at every level, to help pupils reach their potential
  • Pay for good staff development, as pupils benefit from this
  • Promote the sharing of best practice between schools
  • Strive to reduce class sizes, in order to help pupils to attain their potential
  • Promote citizenship and democracy education to engage young people in political processes.

Offering a broad and balanced experience for all

Liberal Democrats believe that the Conservative Government’s national curriculum is excessive, and overly proscriptive. This means that it disadvantages the least able, the most. Therefore, at a local level, we need to compensate as much as we can for this.

We will encourage schools to:

  • Offer a broad spectrum of learning, with a range of opportunities provided after school
  • Offer high quality personal, social, and health education, in which issues such as these are explored:
      • Mental health
      • Citizenship
      • Financial literacy
      • Age-appropriate relationships education
      • LGBT relationships
      • Sexual consent
      • Issues pertaining to explicit content online
  • Develop strong links with industry, colleges, the community
  • Provide excellent careers education.

Democracy, tax and accountability

Trafford Liberal Democrats believe that residents should know that their voices are being heard, regardless of whom they voted for, and that Council decisions and spending plans are transparent, and take into account the views of all of its residents.

Using Council Tax wisely

As a resident, you should know that the Council is spending your money wisely, that it is keeping to a balanced budget, and that it is ensuring that priority services are of a good standard. This will be a challenging task, in the next 12 months, given the massive funding cuts to Local Government made by the Conservative Central Government.

We believe that:

  • You prefer good services to lower taxes, as long as spending on those services is transparent
  • Trafford Council should only outsource services if the resulting contract represents good value for money
  • The Amey contract is not good value for money
  • Residents, on the whole, were not in favour of the introduction of the Green Bin Tax, so we listened to you, and have ensured this tax will be scrapped: on 3rd June 2019

A Liberal Democrat led Council would use its resources to promote a balanced economy, and one that fosters the growth of local businesses:

  • Firstly, by assisting local small and medium start-up businesses with a business rate relief, paid for using the Business Rate Rebate from Central Government
  • Secondly, by providing town centre and small business loan schemes.

Strengthening local democracy

The UK suffers from an overcentralised political system and because of our voting system, one that is unrepresentative of the electorate.

We believe that:

  • To rectify this, more power should be devolved away from central government
  • We should continue to campaign for the introduction of Proportional Representation so votes match seats, in both General and Local Elections
  • Your views are very important to us. We regularly speak to residents across the borough, throughout the year. We invite everyone to meet with us at
    our surgeries, and any other events we hold, so that you can tell us what is important to you.

Holding Trafford Council to account

Liberal Democrats recognise the need for honesty and openness between the Council and the community it serves.

We believe that:

  • It is important to us that residents are consulted much more when major projects are being considered
  • Decisions made must be accompanied by the reasons for them, so that the whole process is as transparent as it can be.

Involving local people

Trafford Liberal Democrats aim to keeping our public spaces clean and open, whilst saving the council money that can be better spent elsewhere.

We believe that:

  • Friends Groups who wish to take responsibility for local public spaces deserve our support
  • Access to public spaces under the responsibility of Friends Groups is maintained for all.

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