Simon Danczuk MP

Fighting for Rochdale, Littleborough and Milnrow

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ROCHDALE MP Simon Danczuk has slammed the slow response from BT Openreach as several homes and businesses in the town remain cut off following the Boxing Day floods.

Rochdale business owners have reported being without a phone line for over three weeks, leaving them unable to process card payments.

Mr Danczuk today raised the issue in Parliament and called for a debate on whether BT is “capable of providing what is an essential service”.

In response, Government Minister Chris Grayling said the delay was “of serious concern” and agreed the problem needs to be resolved urgently.

Mr Danczuk has also written to Openreach CEO Joe Garner, describing the slow response as “unacceptable” and demanding information on when the properties will be reconnected.

Mr Danczuk said: “It is absolutely unacceptable that these businesses have been cut off for over three weeks.

“If these homes, shops and offices were in London, I find it hard to believe that Openreach would have taken this long to fix the problem.

“Many of these businesses are struggling in the aftermath of the floods and some are at risk of closing altogether if they continue to lose custom because they cannot process card payments.

“Rochdale council and the local community have done an incredible job helping those devastated by floods to get back on their feet. But they have been badly let down by this shambolic response from BT Openreach.

“I have written to the CEO stressing in the strongest possible terms that I expect this situation to be resolved as a top priority.”

Simon Danczuk slams “shambolic” BT as business cut off for 3 weeks

ROCHDALE MP Simon Danczuk has slammed the slow response from BT Openreach as several homes and businesses in the town remain cut off following the Boxing Day floods. Rochdale business...

RAIL passengers in Rochdale are being ripped off by ticket prices that are 20% higher than for commuters in neighbouring towns, MP Simon Danczuk has revealed.

Speaking in a Parliamentary debate on the cost of public transport, Mr Danczuk asked the Government to look into ticket pricing in Rochdale which rail campaigners have branded “artificially high”.

Peak time journeys into central Manchester from Rochdale are more than £1 more expensive than a comparable commute from Bolton.

Addressing Patrick McLoughlin, Secretary of State for Transport, Mr Danczuk said: “A peak return fare from Bolton to Manchester Victoria will set Bolton constituents back £6.40.

“But my constituents pay £7.70 for the similar journey from Rochdale to Manchester Victoria.

“Why is that? Richard Greenwood, chairman of the Support the Oldham-Rochdale-Manchester Rail Lines group, has said that the fares in my constituency are ‘artificially high’.

“That level of fares applies almost nowhere else in the country, and I see no fit reason for it to apply to Rochdale either. Perhaps the Minister will share his thoughts?”

Speaking afterwards, Mr Danczuk said: “Many Rochdale residents travel by train at peak times to jobs in Manchester and elsewhere.

“Since 2010, rail fares across the UK have shot up by a staggering 25%.

“Taken together with the higher ticket prices in our town, hardworking Rochdale residents are left paying over the odds.

“The Secretary of State for Transport needs to address this unfair pricing system.”

Simon Danczuk calls for end to Rochdale rail rip-off‏

RAIL passengers in Rochdale are being ripped off by ticket prices that are 20% higher than for commuters in neighbouring towns, MP Simon Danczuk has revealed. Speaking in a Parliamentary...

A Government scheme to boost funding for adult social services will not even cover an overdue wage increase for hard working care home staff in Rochdale, MP Simon Danczuk has argued.

In last year’s Autumn Statement, Chancellor George Osborne announced plans to allow local authorities to increase council tax by 2% to fill the funding gap in adult social care.

But speaking in a Parliamentary debate, Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk said the new funds raised will not even cover the additional cost of paying the new “living wage” to overworked and underpaid care workers.

He said: “The move is welcome, but it will still barely scrape the surface of the problem. Many homes in Rochdale are banded in the A and B categories for council tax, so this scheme will only raise an extra £1.3 million.

“Care workers are some of the most underpaid, they deserve their pay rise, so let’s fund it properly.

“The pressure the wage increase will have on budgets for social care will not be fully met by the 2% increase.”

Speaking afterwards, the MP added: “Care home staff and other care workers in Rochdale are among the hardest working members of our community and they are long overdue a pay rise.

“This 2% increase is an empty gesture which does not go far enough. Central Government must reverse the cuts that have decimated adult care in Rochdale and provide the funds we need to provide adequate services.”

Rochdale Council has already faced cuts to its budget of up to £200 million since 2010.

During the debate, Mr Danczuk also argued the increase would be a drop in the ocean compared to the funding crisis facing the town.

According to The Joseph Roundtree Foundation, spending on social care fell £65 per person in the most deprived communities during the last Parliament. This is compared to a rise of £28 per person in the least deprived areas.

Mr Danczuk said: “Council leaders and health care professionals can see through the smoke and mirrors tactics adopted here.

“The ‘Social Care Precept’, as it has been labelled, will disproportionately affect the poorer councils. Councils such as Rochdale will be worse off, while richer areas will be better off.

“It will raise the least money in the areas of greatest need, which will only increase health inequality and vastly increase the funds for the already wealthy councils.”

Simon Danczuk: Rochdale care staff shortchanged by Government funding plans‏

A Government scheme to boost funding for adult social services will not even cover an overdue wage increase for hard working care home staff in Rochdale, MP Simon Danczuk has...

HUNDREDS of hard working people in Rochdale will find it harder to pay the rent and look after their children if planned Government cuts go ahead, MP Simon Danczuk has argued.

A proposed reduction to the working allowance aspect of universal credit, which tops up the wages of workers in low paid jobs, is scheduled to come into effect from April.

According to official estimates, the move will leave working families on universal credit an average of £1,600 a year worse off. Single parents and disabled claimants face even greater reductions.

In Rochdale, which was a pilot area for the roll-out of universal credit, just over 1,400 people stand to lose out.

Speaking in a House of Commons debate, Mr Danczuk said: “I remain wholly committed to getting as many people out of the benefits system as possible - but to do so at such a high price for those least fortunate is not the way to do it.

“We must be clear that these cuts will affect hard-working people—these are not people who are work shy—who are the very people we should and must be supporting.

“In the longer term, up to 2.6 million working families could be worse off by 2020 to the tune of about £1,600.

“A single mother of two, working full time and on universal credit in 2016-17, will be worse off to the tune of £2,981.

“Faced with cuts to their work element of the universal credit, the lowest paid in society will suffer massively at the hands of this Government.

“I urge the Conservatives to reverse these cuts to universal credit for current and future claimants to protect these hard-working people.”

Simon Danczuk: “Universal credit cuts will hit Rochdale families hard”

HUNDREDS of hard working people in Rochdale will find it harder to pay the rent and look after their children if planned Government cuts go ahead, MP Simon Danczuk has...

A GOVERNMENT Minister has failed to provide an adequate answer as he was grilled by MP Simon Danczuk over the number of asylum seekers in Rochdale.

During a Parliamentary debate, Mr Danczuk quizzed Immigration Minister James Brokenshire as to why there are currently more than 1,000 asylum seekers living in Rochdale.

Mr Danczuk’s question came after he wrote to Mr Brokenshire to raise concerns about the disproportionately high number of asylum seekers in the town, compared to council areas in the south of the country.

For example, there is not a single asylum seeker housed in David Cameron’s Oxfordshire constituency of Witney while Home Secretary Theresa May’s constituency hosts just four.

Mr Danczuk said: “The Immigration Minister wrote to me saying there are 33,000 asylum seekers across 95 local authorities.

“If these were spread across all 326 councils, that would 101 asylum seekers in each local authority.

“Why then does Rochdale now have 1,071 asylum seekers?”

In response, Mr Brokenshire said the Government had “retained” the same dispersal policy as the previous Labour administration and used “the strategic migration partnership to ensure people are well settled within this country”.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Danczuk said he was disappointed by the reply.

He said: “The Minister has previously claimed that Government policy is to ensure a ‘reasonable spread’.

“Why then does Rochdale host more asylum seekers than the whole of the South East region? I think the figures speak for themselves.

“The Conservatives have had more than five years to address this issue. To blame the previous Labour Government is insincere and disappointing.

“The current situation puts even more stress on schools, the NHS, council services and housing in Rochdale, which are already under strain because of millions in Government cuts.

“It is also grossly unfair on asylum seekers who are dumped in such large numbers without sufficient Government support or guidance.

“I think the people of Rochdale, and the vulnerable people housed in our community, deserve a proper response from the Minister.”

Simon Danczuk grills Minister over Rochdale asylum figures

A GOVERNMENT Minister has failed to provide an adequate answer as he was grilled by MP Simon Danczuk over the number of asylum seekers in Rochdale. During a Parliamentary debate,...

IMG_2241.JPGSTAFF and parents have thanked Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk for his tireless campaign to save a local nursery from closure.

Last year, Rochdale council proposed closing South Street Nursery as part of ongoing cost cutting measures.

But Mr Danczuk has taken up the cause and has even raised the issue in a House of Commons debate. The MP held a public meeting on Thursday as a show of public support for the 80-year-old school which has received nine consecutive “outstanding” ratings from Ofsted.

The audience heard from Mr Danczuk, education expert Zafar Khan and Muhammad Mushtaq, chair of Bilal Mosque Committee.

Mr Kahn said: “When pupils from South Street go to primary school they are a few months ahead of the other children, that shows you the hard work that the teachers and staff do.

“When there are efficiency cuts, the first thing that suffers is quality. That’s exactly what will happen if South Street closes.”

Mr Mushtaq said: “We are all here to acknowledge, appreciate and say thank you to South Street and in return the minimum we can do is ask the council to save the nursery.”

The meeting ended with those in attendance putting their name to an open letter to the council cabinet urging them to “preserve this valuable community asset for future generations of Rochdale’s children”.

Last month, council leader Richard Farnell wrote to Mr Danczuk to congratulate him on his campaign and said he would recommend that the Nursery is kept open.

But the final decision has not yet been reached and will be determined by a vote taken by the whole cabinet later this month.

Mr Danczuk told the audience that the proposed closure was the result of Conservative Government cuts and stressed the need to keep the nursery open.

He said: “It is great that we have Cllr Farnell’s backing on this, but we still have to work hard convince the rest of the cabinet that keeping South Street open is the right thing to do.

“I hope that today’s meeting will go a long way to show just how much public support there is behind this fantastic nursery and its staff.”

Rochdale Council’s cabinet will make the final decision on January 25.

Text of the open letter signed by those at the meeting:

Dear Cabinet Members

Ahead of the vote later this month, we the undersigned would like to stress in the strongest possible terms our opposition to the proposed closure of South Street Nursery.

With exceptional facilities, exemplary teaching (including SEN provision) and excellent community links, it is no surprise that South Street has been rated “outstanding” by Ofsted in each of the last 9 years.

From teachers and parents, to members of the public and former pupils, there is considerable public support behind the campaign to keep this school open.

As you may already know, Cllr Farnell has written to the Member of Parliament for Rochdale to say he will personally recommend that South Street remains open.

We sincerely hope you will be similarly minded to preserve this valuable community asset for future generations of Rochdale’s children.

Dozens back MP's nursery campaign

STAFF and parents have thanked Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk for his tireless campaign to save a local nursery from closure. Last year, Rochdale council proposed closing South Street Nursery as...

ROCHDALE MP Simon Danczuk has pressed the Government to do more for local businesses hit by the devastating Boxing Day floods.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Danczuk praised the “absolutely incredible” volunteers and community groups who came to the aid of flood victims, but argued the Government should be doing more to help the town’s economy recover.

The MP praised St Barnabas Church in Shore, The Wheatsheaf Pub and Conservative Club in Littleborough, The Asian Muslim community and local mosques and a team of Syrian refugees for their efforts in the aftermath of the disaster.

He said: “As alarming as the floods have been, I have never been more proud to represent Rochdale after I witnessed the response to them.

“The people of Rochdale have done an absolutely incredible job in very difficult circumstances. I pay tribute to the outstanding compassion and commitment of volunteers and council staff.”

Mr Danczuk also congratulated Rochdale Borough Council for its decision to cancel business rates for effected properties and offer £500 payments to flood victims. But he stressed that the Government should be doing more to help the area's biggest employers get back on their feet.

Mr Danczuk said: “The idea of grants is fine for very small businesses, but the costs incurred by larger employers, such as Better Dreams Ltd in my constituency, which employs 80 people, run not into the thousands, but into the hundreds of thousands, and they are unable to get insurance.

“The Government and local authorities need to think again about how we help larger employers when they are adversely affected."

Simon Danczuk demands more Government aid for flood hit Rochdale businesses‏

ROCHDALE MP Simon Danczuk has pressed the Government to do more for local businesses hit by the devastating Boxing Day floods. Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Danczuk praised...

ROCHDALE MP Simon Danczuk has hit out at the “deeply concerning” and “completely discriminatory” treatment of Palestinian child prisoners by the Israeli authorities.

Mr Danczuk, a former chairman of Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East, made the comments during a Parliamentary debate on the issue.

A recent UNICEF report showed an alarming number of allegations of ill treatment during the arrest, transfer, interrogation and detention of children in the occupied territories.

The alleged abuse includes the use of painful plastic ties to restrain young prisoners and the arresting of children in the middle of the night in terrifying military raids.

Such treatment breaks both the Geneva Convention and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Mr Danczuk cited a UN report which found that, out of 208 affidavits from child prisoners, 91% of those spoken to reported having their hands-tied painfully and 82% reported physical abuse of some sort.

He also highlighted the fact that many Palestinian child prisoners are not allowed to be accompanied by their parents and are not always aware of their right to remain silent.

The MP, who has visited the region twice to see the plight of the Palestinian people, said: “The treatment of child prisoners in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is deeply concerning, counterproductive and completely discriminatory.

“Currently in the West Bank we see two laws: Israeli civilian law, which only applies to those with Israeli citizenship; and Israeli military law, which applies to the Palestinian population.

“Since 2000, at least 8,000 Palestinian children have been arrested and prosecuted in Israeli military detention facilities, which are notoriously bad in their treatment of children.”

Simon Danczuk hits out at “deeply concerning” treatment of Palestinian child prisoners

ROCHDALE MP Simon Danczuk has hit out at the “deeply concerning” and “completely discriminatory” treatment of Palestinian child prisoners by the Israeli authorities. Mr Danczuk, a former chairman of Labour...

IMG_2018.JPGMP Simon Danczuk’s ongoing campaign to save an “outstanding” nursery from closure has won the support of Rochdale’s council leader.

Mr Danczuk first intervened on behalf of parents and staff at South Street Nursery last month after Rochdale Council proposed closing the school in a bid to cut costs.

The nursery, which first opened its doors to local children 80 years ago, has been rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted for nine years in a row.

After persistent lobbying by Mr Danczuk, who even raised the issue in a House of Commons debate, council leader Richard Farnell has confirmed he will recommend that South Street is kept open.

In a letter to Mr Danczuk, Councillor Farnell said: “There have been quite a number of responses to the Council’s consultation on the future of the nursery. I would add that the arguments you, as the local MP, have made have impressed me. You have put forward a very strong and persuasive case for the nursery to remain open.

“The views of local residents is quite clear, and together with the excellent case put forward by their Member of Parliament, I will be recommending the Council approves the following option:

“That the South Street Nursery building remains open with Heybrook CP School responsible for running the facility from September 2016. This will enable better links to be established between the Nursery and the local Primary School which will benefit the long-term education of the children.”

The final decision on the future of South Street Nursery will be made later this month.

Mr Danczuk has organised a public meeting at Wardleworth Community Centre at 4pm on Thursday January 7 so members of the public can show their support for the school.

Mr Danczuk said: “South Street Nursery is a true Rochdale success story and I am proud to have such an excellent facility in our town.

“Parents and staff are understandably concerned about the future and I would urge members of the public to come along on Thursday and show their support for our campaign.”

Simon Danczuk’s campaign to save Rochdale nursery gathers pace

MP Simon Danczuk’s ongoing campaign to save an “outstanding” nursery from closure has won the support of Rochdale’s council leader. Mr Danczuk first intervened on behalf of parents and staff...

GP2015_1.JPGROCHDALE MP Simon Danczuk has invited a key member of Labour’s front bench team to view an exemplary mental health charity which is threatened by Government cuts.

The Growth Project provides a safe and supportive environment for more than 80 Rochdale residents with mental health problems. But it could lose £20,000 worth of grants as Rochdale Council attempts to cope with unprecedented cuts from Central Government.

Visiting the site in Kellett Street, Mr Danczuk praised the scheme and promised to extend an invitation to Shadow Mental Health Minister Luciana Berger so she could see first hand the excellent work that goes on there.

The project, a joint venture between Rochdale and District Mind and Hourglass Environmental Ltd, promotes good mental and physical health by coordinating a variety of outdoor activities including woodwork and tending allotments.

During a House of Commons debate earlier this month, Mr Danczuk urged the Government to provide more funding for mental health services. He highlighted the need for schemes like the Growth Project in Rochdale where one in five people suffer from a mental health issue and the suicide rate has risen 25% in five years.

Suicide rates among men in Rochdale are significantly higher than the national average. Uniquely among mental health schemes, 75% of services users at the Growth Project are male.

In total, 88 beneficiaries regularly attend the Growth Project allotments and have helped transform unused land into a productive and attractive space. The £20,000 a year running cost represents just 50p per person per day.

Mr Danczuk said: “This visit as underlined for me just how vitally important the Growth Project is for Rochdale. This place really is a crucial lifeline for dozens of people who would otherwise have nowhere to go.

“I think other mental health projects could learn a lot from the work that goes on here and that is why I have invited Luciana Berger to visit and see how this success can be replicated.

“My office is also assisting staff to secure alternative sources of funding in case the council grant is removed.”

Hourglass Environment director Karen Hayday said: “We’re extremely grateful for what Simon has done. Everyone was amazed that we were mentioned in Parliament.

“It’s incredible that a £20,000 a year project is getting so much publicity. This place means so much to so many people, and we’d love for even more people to get involved and come and join us.”

Simon Danczuk invites Labour front bencher to view exemplary Rochdale charity‏

ROCHDALE MP Simon Danczuk has invited a key member of Labour’s front bench team to view an exemplary mental health charity which is threatened by Government cuts. The Growth Project...


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