18 September 2015
By Wendy Olsen and Joe Hickman
Our manifesto aims to excite voters in the Salford area. We want to show how Green policies will work for the City of Salford. We show how practical solutions to immediate problems fit together so Greens can improve the City of Salford.
I favour a Living Wage of £10 per hour. I want to see a tax on all finance transactions at the national level. I favour a citizens’ income too. Salford City Council have adopted the Living Wage policy, and I’m very happy about that.
The Greens’ national Manifesto is based on the current agreed Policies. We disagree with austerity cuts. We want to see public investment during this terrible recession.
As your candidate in Irwell Riverside ward I will sit on Salford City Council once I win against the current Labour councillor. Councillor Stephen Ord is a former Lib Dem who got elected as a Labour councillor in 2011. Can the electorate really trust a man who has switched allegiances from one party to another? In the case of a Lib Dem person switching to Labour, it’s more likely he just wanted to be sure of getting enough votes.
I am happy to sit on the committees of council – the growth and prosperity scrutiny panel, the corporate complaints panel, andthe “Overview and Scrutiny Board”. We need stronger oversight of the Labour-dominated council. Our survey of Salford residents showed great mistrust of Council. At the moment even the Scrutiny panels are dominated by Labour. We need a separate voice. I am prepared to be that voice of honesty. (Photo: Wendy Olsen)
The Council has a shortage of accountability and scrutiny. They seem to disregard the wishes of the electorate. Often they favour the Mayor’s corporate friends such as Salix Housing. Wasting public money seems to be the default setting whilst they implement cuts to the services of the most vulnerable people in the city. It would appear that the council, in particular the City Mayor and his Cabinet of Deputies, believe that they can cut vital services whilst at the same time employing more and more directors, ironically to help
Photo: Wendy Olsen Out Campaigning in Cromwell Road
implement the cuts. These Directors and the Deputy Mayors get high inflated wage levels. This needs to be checked.
The national green Manifesto is based on the agreed Policies of Greens in England and Wales.
At the local level I favour some forms of devolution but am very worried about Devo MANC which was done far too fast with too much money changing hands and it threatens the existence of Salford City Council itself. It is likely to have many repercussions so please don’t vote Labour or Tory in 2015 – these are the two parties which have pushed the Devo MANC through with just one mayor for all the cities in Greater Manchester, integration of social work funds and social care funds with NHS funds, and devolution of NHS to subcontracting here in Greater Manchester very soon.
I favour careful city planning. You may not be surprised to hear of our Green healthy planning policies:
Finally I favour planning where the jobs will lie in the city. We have to plan for an industrial park within our city – not just burning waste dumps and recycling.
I favour ensuring that businesses are encouraged to site themselves in Salford. I believe we need an economic development manifesto for the Northwest that is consistent with Green thinking, too. We need more joined up thinking. I did not favour the abolition of the Northwest Regional development authority. In future, under a decentralised Regional government we might be able to return to a NW Regional Development Authority. Our Green position on this is however that we must have a constitutional convention first to ensure we get the level of decentralisation right for
We hope the Manifesto For Salford stimulates you to send us your comments. Please use text or email: wendyolseninsalford@Gmail.com or text/ring Wendy on 07891 266635.
each sector. Power distribution and rail should never be decentralised. Benefits, citizens’ income and tax should be kept centrally managed.
The ‘Poll Tax’ (Council Tax) needs a reform to ensure it is progressive. It is presently a tax on the poor who pay for housing-related services without owning their homes. The tax bears too heavily on low income earners. It needs to be raised at the high end.
We have some problems with the Labour run Council. The city mayor was implicated in a secret deal in 2014 to subsidise Salford City Reds rugby league club to the tune of
£164,000. Corruption! If I set out a policy for
sport in Salford it would:
But instead, a corrupt subsidy on selected well-networked rugby capitalists is seen as acceptable among the top brass of Salford Council. Martin Vickers, the former Director for Customer and Support Services, represents the council’s interests as joint owners, with Peel Holdings, of the City of Salford Community Stadium. Vickers negotiated an informal agreement with the owner of the rugby club, Marwan Koukash, that all match -day costs for the first two years would be subsidised up to a limit of
£164,000 – a straight gift. Peel didn't agree to
this subsidy and as the company that handled administration of the stadium they withheld
Photo: Wendy Olsen, Natalie Bennett, Emma Van Dyke, and Dave Jones, 2015
£150,000 worth of costs before handing over the gate receipts. (Imagine: Peel competes with Koukash.) Vickers and the mayor made several attempts to change Peel's stance, eventually resulting in a letter to Peel on 3/7/2013 signed by Vickers, who said that if Peel refunded the money to the Rugby Club, Salford Council would refund Peel.
Just weeks after agreeing these deals, Vickers took voluntary severance from the Council and walked straight into a job at Salford City Reds rugby league club. (He got a payoff.) He became the Chief Executive of the Rugby Club
– a clear case of planned redundancy based
on a conflict of interest.
I have plenty of experience knowing how to spot a conflict of interest. My past experience includes:
Several things stand out from the rugby episode: Vickers had no authority to make such a decision involving finance above
£100,000. He broke the councils own
constitution rules. No public record of the
£164,000 decision was published, again breaking the council’s constitution rules. This entire decision was hidden from other councillors so therefore wasn't open to any form of scrutiny at all. The icing on the cake in this matter is that Vickers, at the time, was the council monitoring officer responsible for ensuring lawfulness and fairness in decision making.
Full details of this and the complete whitewash by the council’s internal inquiry can be found on the Salford Star website. (http://www.salfordstar.com/) Some people read about Salford’s corruption in Private Eye.
Our councillors should not bring our city into disrepute.
The Green Party runs on an agenda of openness and accountability to the electorate. Even with just one councillor elected we can begin to break the Labour stranglehold on Salford council whilst offering a genuine voice of reason and openly questioning some of the decisions made as well as hopefully making some attempts to stop the closed and secretive nature of the current administration.
Photo: Campaigning Near Salford’s Biosphere
I oppose losing Salford’s identity as a city. I will strongly oppose cutting the number of Councillors by two-thirds.
I strongly support having a birthing centre and maternity care in Salford Royal hospital.
The tips have an entry charge for business, and some turn away and do fly tipping. This creates a health and safety hazard. Why does the Council not clear up Whit Lane? Why so many empty houses there?
I do not favour paying super high wages for Council staff – I would start a Review of Wage Inequality in the Council. For example:
The current Chief Financial Officer is going to be regraded to a salary exceeding £100,000, an increase of £12,000 a year and given the title of Director of Finance and Corporate Business. An Assistant Director Specialist Services is also being sought on a salary of around £80,000 to implement the cuts to services for disabled children and adults. The council have also paid £78,000 to consultants Price Waterhouse Coopers for two months work consulting on how and where to make the cuts to services required, described by a
Photo: Wendy Olsen and Pat Cleary – A Liverpool Green Councillor
council insider as "nothing we didn't already know". All of this is on top of the £140,000 a year paid to the city director Jim Taylor who was specifically brought in to oversee cuts and privatisation of services.
Another blatant example of the corruption within the council was the City Mayor’s attempt to stifle any protest at the public meeting announcing the cuts late last year. Realising that there would be massive public opposition to cuts, Ian Stewart tried to restrict public access to the meeting by enforcing a ticket-only policy. He personally implored Salford's Labour Party members to reserve tickets and come along, thereby preventing protesters from gaining access to limited seating space.
I did not favour the selling of council houses to Salix Homes. I was worried because rents will go up. First VAT is going on these rents; then the costs of upkeep are being added on. I do not favour giving huge subsidies to large corporations to bribe them to place themselves in Salford.
The severe housing shortage in Salford has also led to a low quality housing problem. Most rented houses are not well kept up. Another worrying issue is the lack of affordable houses being built. The council is happy to allow many “regeneration” developments to proceed in the area. But they keep waiving the section 106 fees on many of these developments. This means they don’t charge the usual fees for the development of the site on which the housing is placed! This policy of subsidy to private companies has cost the council, at a rough estimate on available figures, 20 million
pounds. What a waste at a time when the city is making massive cuts to vital services.
I do not favour rampant capitalism. Instead we can manage markets through a mixture of encouraging local business, regulating wages and the health & safety of employees, and incentivising cooperatives.
Too Much Outsourcing However instead what is Salford City Council doing? Outsourcing to expensive, profit-making large corporations. Here’s an example.
In March 2015, Salford Council confirmed the hiving off of £10.5 million worth of adult social care services to a new 'mutual' company called Aspire.1 The idea behind this is to save money for the council by transferring its social care services into this 'mutual'. This means that somehow Aspire
will have to generate its own revenue streams, probably by selling its services to other councils in the Greater Manchester area to stay afloat. They have to be able to provide social care to the people of Salford. Previously that was a responsibility the Council took on its own shoulders. It gets funds from Central Government to do it. Elderly people and
1 Beware wolves in sheep’s clothing. This ‘social enterprise’ type company is a large profit making firm. One has to know the difference between genuine social orientated firms and large firms masquerading under Britain’s newly liberalised charity laws. These laws now allow a masquerade to go on in full view of the taxman, cutting their tax liability, reducing government revenue. This is originally a TORY PLOT. Tories want to shrink the Government. Why are LABOUR participating in the plot as a pro-tax-reduction actor! Sheer ignorance, wilfully pretending that this is for the good of the people.
adults and children with learning and physical disabilities will now become 'income opportunities' to create a profit or 'surplus' from the 'market', according to a current 2015 council report. Up for sale are activities and care offered in day services, specialist respite care and supported-tenancy management. This is an appalling shrinkage of our local government. We can’t let it become permanent.
There is hope. There is a way forward. First vote with your feet, walk down to the polling station. Second keep aware of events, of lies, of corruption. Third set out to create a local government that is well informed and demonstrates good governance. Don’t worry if the national election is a washout. A hung parliament is likely. We have to ELECT WENDY OLSEN FOR COUNCIL NOW as the first step toward a HUNG SALFORD COUNCIL so they have to BARGAIN WITH THE PEOPLE’S REPRESENTATIVES.
Salford Green Party
Wendy Olsen - Candidate for Riverside Irwell Ward, Salford
Please see our candidates’ Facebook page for green chat and news-- www.facebook.com/groups/268666871564/
or Wendy Olsen’s twitter @Sandhyamma at www.twitter.com/Sandhyamma
And also note how to join the Green Party, found here: http://salford.greenparty.org.uk/
Members Only: https://my.greenparty.org.uk/
Phone Wendy Olsen on 07891-266635