An e-newsletter from your MP, Mary Robinson.
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Welcome to my latest newsletter, where I'll be updating you on the recent goings on in our area and in Westminster.
The start of a new year is often wet and cold and 2021 has been no different! We've seen rather a lot of snow and rain, but this hasn't stopped the vaccine drive or other vital work. Throughout January I was working alongside Stockport Council and the Government to provide information and updates to residents about the worrying situation we saw with rising waters in January. Thankfully, our area avoided the worst of the floods.
We've also managed to vaccinate almost 1 in 4 adults in the UK, and are now expanding the effort to those in priority groups five and six.
This last month has heralded further funding for our police force, trade deals signed and millions of jabs given as well as further vaccines in the pipeline.
The road map consists of 4 steps, above are the first two which are set to take place in March
Our road map
The Prime Minister setting out the road map for the earliest dates that we can look to open up from restrictions has been very welcome to hear. In particular, I am happy to see that the Government continues to stand by its promise of prioritising the return of schools, recognising how crucial it is for children to be in classrooms, both for their education and their wellbeing.
Throughout the pandemic the Government has recognised the social impact of lockdown - which is why they have always continued social bubbles to support those on their own, and are now prioritising ways for people to see their loved ones safely.
From 8th March, we will be able to meet one person outside their household for outdoor recreation in addition to exercise. Every care home resident will also be able to nominate a visitor.
These dates are subject to regular review and potential changes, as the Government acts upon advice from scientific and medical advisors as well as constantly changing data.
Balancing Covid and the effects of tackling it is incredibly difficult. As we cautiously begin to emerge, supported by our fantastic vaccine roll out and the aim to vaccinate all adults in the summer, I'll be continuing to ensure that the voices of Cheadle are heard in decision-making.
A year on - Our Plan for Cheadle
It's been just over a year since I was elected with Our Plan for Cheadle. Since then, and despite the pandemic, lots of progress has been made.
It's vital that we safeguard precious green spaces for future generations to come
Protecting green spaces
In the last year, we've managed to pull Stockport out of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham's much delayed plan for jobs and housing), and the thousands of potential developments being imposed upon our area and precious green spaces.
It was clear that the Mayor's plan to sacrifice so much green belt in Cheadle through the Spatial Framework was not the right one, and I am looking forward to working with our local councillors to get a plan in place that is right for us, and protects our green belt.
Cheadle Hulme ticket office has had a refurb!
Investing in roads and railways to get Cheadle moving
Not only is public transport is the green alternative, it is what people in our area want to see improved.
In 2019, the Government announced its multi-million-pound Towns Fund, to revitalise and give areas a boost. After lobbying and putting forward Cheadle for this, Cheadle residents overwhelmingly said in the consultation that they wanted to see a new station opened to better connect our area.
These reasons are why I am supporting and putting forward our Towns Fund bid of £25 million to open a new station in Cheadle to improve rail connectivity.
Over the summer the Government committed £600 million to kickstart rail improvements in the North. A council for the North to oversee improvements working directly with the Government has also been formed. There is currently a consultation into rail improvements in our area - please do have your say here ([link removed]) . This funding will improve capacity and get rid of local bottlenecks where delays are occurring, ensuring people can get where they need to be and connecting us with opportunity.
2020 also saw Cheadle Hulme Station refurbed, and the last pacer train removed from our rail network!
I met with senior leadership and new recruits at Cheadle Heath Station in Summer 2020
Tackling crime and anti-social behaviour
Tackling crime is a priority of our Government, and funding has been put forward to support the goal of eradicating its impact in our communities. This funding has enabled us to recruit more than 200 new police officers in this year alone for Greater Manchester Police.
After the commitment to bolstering our forces, it's great that new police are coming through on the ground to tackle local issues, and I look forward to spotting them on the beat around Cheadle.
As well as this, we've had a wave of funding for tackling organised crime, as well as successful raids in the region over the last few months. Just recently, the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, committed £148 million to tackle crime that results from illegal drugs.
Over the last year, I have met with residents to hear about their crime concerns and taken this up with the Home Secretary. I've also visited Cheadle Heath Police Station to discuss our local concerns with senior officers, and met new officers stationed in our area, too. From this month, you will also be able to see a named officer for your area, and be able to contact them. Local and community policing is so vital - being part of the community and having that local knowledge ensures that police can make us feel safe.
Policing in Greater Manchester is not where we - the public, and our officers - want it to be, and I have been saying this for some time. Our officers do a fantastic job and must be supported by their leadership teams and those with overall responsibility for policing in our area. I'll continue holding Mayor Andy Burnham, who is our elected Police and Crime Commissioner, to account, asking for further transparency and accountability for decisions made.
Stepping Hill Hospital - we've welcomed a new Chief Exec in the last few months
Supporting local NHS services
The pandemic has highlighted just how important our local NHS, and how well it can work when the NHS, local council and political structures all work together.
Remembering back a year when our local hospital was struggling with standard winter pressures has led me to ensure our NHS is not overwhelmed by supporting the restrictions we need to see Covid case rates fall. As a result, although faced with strong pressures, Stepping Hill Hospital has been able to cope.
Throughout the pandemic I have been supporting and working closely with our local NHS services. I have liaised on a regular basis with Health Ministers on issues such as maternity care during the pandemic, local mammogram screenings as well as general standards at our local hospital and how it copes with winter pressures and Covid. I've argued in Parliament for more mobile screening units - so that people don't have to travel long distances and take-up is higher as a result.
Thank you so much to everyone at local hospitals, the CCG, local GPs and surgery staff who have been a part of keeping us safe during the pandemic.
Greater Manchester Police are under special measures
Policing - ensuring it works for our area
The information that has come to light on the problems within Greater Manchester Police in the past month has been shocking, to say the least. It has also impacted Cheadle. A year ago, I put in for Safer Streets Funding to combat theft in our area. However, citing the data available – figures which we now know to be questionable – the Mayor's office chose not to put it forward on Cheadle's behalf.
We must be able to robustly scrutinise the Mayor in his role as Police and Crime Commissioner. Andy Burnham has ultimate policing oversight for our region, but too many important signs have been missed or ignored.
It is especially concerning in recent weeks that Mr Burnham has said he has had long standing issues working with the former Chief Constable of GMP yet saw fit to extend his contract in the middle of 2019, calling his work ‘outstanding’.
The lack of effective scrutiny means our brave police officers face unnecessary risks whilst on the beat, and combating crime effectively becomes needlessly difficult. I’ve raised these issues directly with the Home Secretary Priti Patel.
The Mayor must produce a plan to improve Greater Manchester Police and give us the policing we deserve.
Nearly one million digital devices have been distributed to ensure learning can continue
Schools and young people
Whilst it has been a difficult time for us all, it has been especially difficult for our young people, and those who care for them and educate them.
I've been in touch with all schools in the constituency, primary, secondary as well as colleges, and raised all issues brought to me in a series of meetings with the Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, and other Education Ministers. Last week, I also wrote to all schools in the constituency to thank them for their hard work and to offer any further support should they need it.
Last month I called ([link removed]) for more resources for pupils to be able to catch up in the House of Commons and was delighted with the Government announcement of a further £300 million for this, as well as the development of a long term plan to help pupils catch-up. Thousands of laptops and tablets have also been distributed in our area.
I've also been pushing for staff at special schools to be included as a priority group for the vaccine, in line with carers. We are lucky to have several special schools in our area whose staff work hard not just as educators, but as carers, too. I am pleased to say that jabs have been offered to them to ensure that vulnerable pupils are as protected as possible.
I am continuing to meet with schools both individually and in groups, as well as liaise with any particular problems brought to me.
The Prime Minister has also extended his personal thanks at the fantastic job carers and educators are doing right now. His letter can be read here ([link removed]) .
In addition to regular casework correspondence, I receive a number of campaign emails and postcards each month regarding various topics. While I always prefer to get back to people directly in the first instance, each month I publish these views on my website. You can read these here ([link removed]) .
I hold regular surgeries both at my office in Cheadle Hulme and around the constituency. In-person surgeries are suspended at the moment in the light of the current situation. However, my team and I will be assisting on all enquiries so please do continue to get in touch with us.
Thank you for taking the time to read my latest e-newsletter. As ever, if there are any issues you'd like to raise with me then please do get in touch.
Mary Robinson MP
Member of Parliament for Cheadle
8A Station Rd | Cheadle Hulme | SK8 5AE
0161 672 6855
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Mary Robinson MP . 8A Station Road . Cheadle Hulme . Stockport, SK8 5AE . United Kingdom