Who should I vote for in Stockport local elections 2022? Policies of each party explained

Another tense election night lies ahead with the council likely to remain in no overall control once all the votes are in.

Voters in Stockport will go to the polls again on Thursday 5 May to choose which candidates will represent them on the council for the next four years.

The borough – under no overall control since 2011 – will undoubtedly be one to watch, with Labour and the Lib Dems again neck and neck in their battle to run the town hall.

Labour controversially remained at the helm last year, despite the Lib Dems emerging from the election as the largest group – with 26 councillors to Labour’s 25.

Labour kept the reins as opposition groups refused to oust council leader Elise Wilson before the end of her four-year term. But that is now up – and there is no guarantee Labour would enjoy the same support again if no party wins a majority.

The Tories, often in a ‘kingmaker’ position, will be looking to increase their influence, while a number of smaller parties – including The Green Party, Reform UK and the Women’s Equality Party – are all hopeful of taking seats.

Elsewhere Catherine Stuart will stand for the Heald Green Independent Ratepayers, whereas anti-austerity candidate John Pearson is looking to cause an upset in the leader’s Davenport and Cale Green ward.

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Below the parties and independents vying for your votes this year put forward their key policies and pledges.

Ballot boxes are carried in for counting

Labour

Labour is ambitious for Stockport. Over the last two years we’ve seen the best of our community come together and we’re more determined than ever to carry on the work we’ve started to make Stockport a fairer, greener, more prosperous place.

We’ve secured a Real Living Wage for our social care workers, and championed this for the rest of Greater Manchester to follow. Since Labour launched Viaduct Housing in 2017, we are on track to deliver over 1700 affordable homes for Stockport, almost double the rate being delivered under the previous Lib Dem administration.

We’ve developed a new vision for Stockport town centre and a new transport interchange with a new public park with views of our iconic viaduct. We’ve secured the future of Edgeley Park for Stockport County Football Club, so never again will our town’s club be placed in peril.

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There’s going to be a public transport revolution with maximum £2 fares and a new greener bus fleet based here.  Stockport is changing for the better – bringing in new jobs, better shops and places to eat and drink.

It’s all part of what we can achieve as a practical, collaborative Labour council, dedicated to all the people of Stockport.

Liberal Democrats

This year Stockport has another opportunity to move forward with new, positive, Liberal Democrat leadership. A change at the town hall will ensure the council really listens to residents over issues such as Central Library, unlike the current Conservative-backed Labour administration, and we would prioritise the protection of front-line services, not redecorating meeting rooms in the town hall.

We would put the Climate Emergency at the heart of everything we do and move power from the centre, back to our local communities. We would ensure any new Clean Air Zone measures are fair, reasonable and that lessons are learned from the bungled initial proposals to address the government’s directive.

We would resist plans to concrete over our green belt and we would review school places. We would help our shops and businesses get moving again as we continue to emerge from Covid-19.

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Investing in our local shopping centres and parks, we would focus on cleaning up the borough after six years of neglect, installing more litter bins and improving recycling rates. We would also review our walking and cycling routes, to make sure they are fit for purpose, meet people’s needs, are accessible to all and help to tackle congestion.

Conservatives

Your local Conservative team want to put more money back in your pocket and tackle the bread-and-butter issues in your area. Voting for Conservative councillors means voting for someone who wants council tax low.

It isn’t right to ask people for more money when they’re already tightly squeezed by energy, food and daily bills. The Liberal Democrat backed Labour council budget increased your council tax by a huge 4.04% this year.

Your bill has risen by 25% in five years. It’s clear the Liberal Democrats will continue to put these unsustainable, massive burdens on your household budget unless you stop them. Labour and Liberal Democrats cannot be trusted to put residents’ household budgets and green spaces first with their extortionate CAZ charges on working people and Lib Dem plans to tarmac over our borough’s green belt.

Only Conservative councillors will deliver on fighting LibLab council tax hikes, improving parks, green spaces, scrapping unfair clean air taxes, fixing grids and gullies, cleaning up local areas, keeping charges on residents down and rooting out council waste so we can provide better services. Vote for your local Conservative team.

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Green Party

Last year, Gary Lawson became Stockport’s first Green councillor when he was elected in Reddish South. Gary has become an independent voice for his ward, holding the Labour-run council to account on its climate policy and on other issues which affect the residents he represents.

Stockport Green Party believe in well-run and accountable local services, and a fair and sustainable local economy. We want a council which demonstrates its care for people and the natural environment, and we want zero carbon emissions in Stockport by 2030. We are also campaigning for a borough-wide speed limit of 20 mph on residential roads.

Climate change is a major concern with the public, and the council has declared a Climate Emergency which contains carbon reduction targets. Unfortunately, little meaningful action has taken place to achieve these targets.

If you want green policies, please vote Green. We are proud to be standing candidates in all wards once again, offering everyone in Stockport the chance to elect a Green councillor.

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Electing a second councillor in Stockport would allow Stockport Green Party to propose and second motions to the Council, which requires two councillors, and really begin to influence the future direction of SMBC.

Women’s Equality Party

Paula King, Reddish North: “I’m proud to be standing for the Women’s Equality Party in my home ward of Reddish North. Violence against women and girls has reached epidemic proportions: one woman is killed every 3 days in the UK.

“I will demand that Stockport Council invests in safe accommodation and community support services for women experiencing domestic abuse. Women plug the gaps in local social care and childcare. I want to make sure that investment in social care and childcare is prioritised in Stockport.

“I will use my first-hand experience as a carer to highlight the gaps in provision and the support required in this sector.

Diane Coffey, Heatons North: “I am a retired teacher and very active in protecting our green belt from industrial expansion. I will continue to raise my voice in Stockport to safeguard our precious green spaces.

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“I am standing for election to participate in Stockport Council’s work to end violence against women and girls. I want to ensure there is a responsive programme developed in Stockport which reflects the aims of the Greater Manchester Gender-Based Violence Strategy and that there is progress in the development of a Stockport strategy to implement the White Ribbon Campaign which asks males to challenge misogynistic attitudes.”

Reform UK

Stockport and the North West is blighted. We have a thoroughly useless civil service complemented by local government officials who are preventing our economy from growing, failing to protect us and continuing to worship at the altar of the EU despite us rejecting Brussels rule thrice.

The continued war on cars via Clean Air Zones (CAZ), the deaths caused by smart motorways and the resulting congestion, are an assault on working people.

Even worse, the ESFA [Department for Education] is preventing young people from employment in key skill jobs. While the incompetent OFSTED is now attacking universities. These are examples that the main enemy of our success is our own administration.

Reform UK will oppose the bureaucratic inertia that pervades our town. We will genuinely strive for a Northern Powerhouse that encourages growth and dynamism, replacing the moribund system that currently presides over our region’s decline.

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The energy crisis makes it vital we have self-sufficiency in energy and food now. Worthy green aims must be realistic. Current policies, simply shift pollution to other parts of the world, missing global targets while simultaneously costing jobs, and the taxpayer in rising energy bills.

Reform will seek investment in a dynamic future where the human and economic potential of our region can be fully realised.

Heald Green Independent Ratepayers 

Heald Green Ratepayers’ Association is unique as a residents’ association, run by residents, rather than a political party. It selects three councillors to represent the association at Stockport council, it has done this continuously since 1929. All councillors must live in the ward.

This year a new candidate is seeking election – Catherine Stuart.

Catherine said:  “We don’t have a manifesto – our guiding principle is what is best for Heald Green and we consider every issue on that basis, we’re about the local, not the politics.

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“We will call at the majority of homes in the ward so we can ensure we’re listening to the views of our constituents. The issues concerning people in Heald Green now are the proposed new housing developments – and the difficulties caused by the additional traffic this may bring, as well as accessing essential services like the doctor’s surgery.

“We will continue to work with residents to fight inappropriate housing developments and for the necessary infrastructure to support those developments already approved.”

If Catherine is successful in her campaign she will join councillors Anna Charles-Jones and Carole McCann – meaning for the first time in its history the ward will be represented by three women.

John Pearson –  Stockport Fights Austerity No to Cuts

The council’s eight-member cabinet wants to end library services in our Central Library, replacing it with a library in vacant retail units in the Merseyway shopping centre. The public response, in the official consultation and a 7,500 signature petition, was a clear NO. In January 2022, the full Council voted to call on the Cabinet to cancel the move.

The cabinet rejected the council resolution! Its leader, Coun Elise Wilson, is defending this seat at this election. John is calling for the removal of Coun Wilson as cabinet leader after this grossly undemocratic outrage.

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Whichever party has formed the cabinet, it has meekly implemented cuts dictated by the government, such as – slashing of funds of the Stockport Local Assistance Scheme, increases in social care charges, cuts in mental health and drug and alcohol addiction services, withdrawal of the Metroshuttle town centre bus, cuts in advice and welfare rights services, and hundreds of job cuts of council workers.

In the cost of living crisis we now face, this cannot continue.If John is elected he would speak out and vote against all cuts and sackings.

He would offer active support to workers and service users who organise to defeat cuts.

  • Stockport Council’s 2022 local elections will be held on Thursday May 5. The count will take place overnight, with the full result expected by around 6am on Friday morning.