Simon Danczuk MP

Fighting for Rochdale, Littleborough and Milnrow

Letter from Parliament 20 July

I was pleased to hear recently that Rochdale Council has committed to a council tax freeze next year. Recognising the pressures on family finances and the need to get good value for taxpayers’ money has to be paramount. After all, we are facing big cuts and money is tight. With this in mind, I’m not convinced that the previous council leader’s plan of spending millions of pounds on a few inspection holes to open a part of the river is the right thing to do for Rochdale town centre.

We all know our town centre needs support, but we need to think carefully about how we use money and resources. I’m very clear that the priority for our town centre has to be supporting shops, new business, generating footfall and bringing back the buzz that a proud Pennine town should have. The best way to do that is by investing in a strong and vibrant market to get the hustle and bustle back, and providing grants and other incentives to encourage new businesses to invest in Rochdale.

The overwhelming majority of businesses I've spoken to have expressed little enthusiasm for re-opening the river. Businesses want the Government to do something about unfair and out of touch business rates, they want better access to the town in the form of parking and they want more people in the town so passing trade improves. 

The Government has put our town at a disadvantage by cancelling the revaluation of business rates, but there are plenty of things the council can do – and it doesn’t always have to be big capital projects that often falsely claim to boost tourism. There are even some local politicians who claim the new council offices attract tourists. That is simply nonsense.

It’s been a very busy time in parliament of late. I’m pleased we managed to get the Government to cave in and launch a national inquiry into historic child abuse. There are lots of people who’ve had their lives ruined because of powerful abusers and I want them, where possible, to get justice.​

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