Barton Power Plant March
Urmston had its first demonstration/march in forty years or so with the Clean-air march against the incinerator. It was great to see so many good-folk taking a stand. I’ve been on many marches, whether it be supporting Lostock College against closure, anti-Iraq war in London or in support of sacked GCHQ workers at Cheltenham. Whilst marches don’t always succeed in getting the powerful to change their minds, they do make a statement that people are not going to quietly accept being ignored. It’s heartening that so many people have been engaged in defending their environment. I was proud to have marched against Tony Blair’s war and I’m proud to have marched with the Breathe Clean Air Group.
I have submitted my objection to Development Control
Trafford Heath Trust
A scrutiny meeting was held focused on Trafford Health Trust’s decision to seek a takeover from a larger trust.
This has huge implications coming as it does as we prepare for GP consortia. The Trust currently has three hospitals, Trafford General, Altrincham General and Stretford Memorial. The trust has a historic debt of £8.3m and any trust that takes it over will need to take on that debt. The trust has commitments to the redevelopment of Altrincham General but is not yet in a position to go-ahead and this proposed surrender of automony does not help to allay fears.
The uncertainty has led to the postponement of the move to an Integrated Care System that would involve hospital staff working much more closely with GPs and community health services to improve care for patients.
The Strategic Health Authority had released £7m of additional capital spending for the current year which will enable the Trust to bring forward projects that could be completed early. The intention is to clear capital committments in later years to reassign to Altrincham General. I wanted to be reassured that any incoming trust would not be able use this capital surplus to pay-off the debts and in doing so abandon the Altrincham General project. I was given some assurance on this but I’m not totally satisfied.
The Healthcare Trust is holding its next Board Meeting at 2pm on Wednesday 25th January and I’m hoping to get along to that.
Greater Manchester Transport
Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Authority (GMITA) Budget Seminar
The authority is controlled by Conservatives and Lib Dems. The budget for transport in Greater Manchester is going to be extremely tight although you wouldn’t have known it from the way that the chair was inviting suggestions for further spending. The truth is that there will be cuts to supported services and the concessionary flat rate fare of 80p for elderly Train and Tram users in Greater Manchester is also under threat. AGMA are meeting on the 28th January to consider options which include replacing it with a half-price fare.