Simon Danczuk MP

Fighting for Rochdale, Littleborough and Milnrow

Letter from Parliament 31 January

Securing a strong local economy in Rochdale is dependent on many things. Entrepreneurial spirit, the right skills base and investment are some of the ingredients, but we should never forget the huge role that local government plays. Week after week the Council has to make big decisions that affect our town and it’s important they get them right. One of these is the immediate future of the market after the Council recently took over its market charter. 

A lot hangs on this decision and I’m very much of the view that a revitalised outdoor market could well be the shot in the arm our town desperately needs. Street markets can play a major role in rejuvenating high streets. With proper investment and management they can drive footfall, create a strong sense of community and generate the confidence that towns need to attract investment. Also, they can act as a great incubator for businesses. Let’s not forget that Marks and Spencer started out as a market stall. Rochdale has a proud history as a market town but we’ve been punching below our weight for a while. It’s time we made our market a central feature of the town and I’d urge everyone to take part in the Council’s online consultation and have their say. 

I was very pleased to see Heywood’s former MP Joel Barnett is to be granted the Freedom of the Borough by Rochdale Council. This is long overdue and a fitting tribute to someone who has served our Borough with distinction. At 90 years old Joel is still very active in the House of Lords and served as Chief Secretary to the Treasury during the Harold Wilson and Jim Callaghan Governments. He also devised the 'Barnett Formula' for working out how public spending is divided between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. 

It’s been a busy week in Parliament and one of the most important debates looked at education funding for 18 year olds. I took part in this debate and expressed my disappointment at news that Hopwood Hall is set to lose £400,000 in cuts. Hundreds of students will be hit by these cuts, many of whom will be from disadvantaged wards. If the Government is serious about reducing inequality and giving people from poor and modest backgrounds the best chance of realising their potential then they have to allocate funding more fairly and support colleges like Hopwood Hall, not take away their funding.

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