Three party leaders' messages for Bolton in 2014
3:09pm Wednesday 1st January 2014 in News
Labour leader Cllr Cliff Morris: Cuts – but we are making progress
REFLECTING on what has been achieved this year, what strikes me most is the progress being made in regenerating Bolton’s town centre, as a result of investment from the council and a range of partners.
The £4.5 million refurbishment of the market is almost complete and work has started on the £48 million transport interchange.
When you add to this the £8.9 million in additional funding which the council has identified to support the town centre, you can see that we’re beginning to see the fruits of this strategy.
In November, investors bought the Market Place and announced at least £15 million-worth of investment, including the creation of a town centre cinema, and Asons solicitors agreed to build its new £7 million headquarters on the site of the former college in Clarence Street.
When all of this is taken together, it means at least £100 million is being invested in our main town centre over the coming 12 to 18 months.
However, the biggest challenges we face in the coming year will be as a result of further, massive cuts to funding.
But the council is committed to minimising the impact on vulnerable people in Bolton.
Conservative leader Cllr David Greenhalgh: Growth far better than anticipated
WE move into the New Year with far better growth figures than anyone anticipated.
Unemployment is down, including here in the North West.
More people are in work than at any other time in this country’s history and business investment is growing now at a faster rate than at any time in the last 10 years.
The next few years will still be hard, as tough decisions still have to be made to get our country back on track.
Local councils are being asked to bear a considerable amount of the savings.
It is more important than ever that councils look at new and innovative ways of delivering services, through working jointly with neighbouring authorities, through reform; and by using alternative providers.
There will be some unpopular decisions, but we must never forget why we are having to do this.
This government inherited an economic mess. The last Labour government were paying more in interest every day than the whole education budget for a year.
They started projects that they knew were undeliverable.
I am delighted to see that in this climate, Bolton is seeing new investment that will contribute to long overdue regeneration.
Record numbers in Bolton have taken advantage of the government’s apprentice scheme and the latest announcement by David Cameron on Bolton’s railway electrification is all brilliant news.
Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Roger Hayes: Economic confidence is returning
THE past year has been a difficult one for Bolton people.
The effects of the international financial crash of 2008/2009 have meant hardship for many people.
Liberal Democrats in government have attempted to ease the squeeze on household budgets by:
- Cutting income tax by £700 for 24 million people;
- Giving every five, six and seven-year-old free school meals daily;
- Giving 15 hours free child care to all three and four-year-olds and 40 per cent of two-year-olds;
- Freezing fuel duty;
- Delivering the biggest ever cash rise in the state pension.
Britain, by taking effective measures to reduce the deficit, keep interest rates down and help businesses create over a million jobs, has avoided the meltdown that has affected many other countries.
During the year there have been consistent signs that the British economy is recovering and that confidence is beginning to return.
In Bolton, this is best illustrated by the planning applications for the Cutacre site (now called Logistics North) and the former Horwich Loco Works site (Rivington View), which will create many local jobs.
I am confident that the recovery will continue in 2014.
Although many reforms will have to be made to the benefits system, we will strive to make sure that the most vulnerable in our borough are protected from the worst effects.
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