My top 10 priorities as your MP

Date published: 07 June 2013

OLDHAM East and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams has revealed how she intends to tackle her constituency’s most pressing issues.

She said: “These priorities are the culmination of months of work, including a residents’ household survey and holding several round table discussions with local organisations and community groups.

“It has enabled me to establish the top 10 priorities people think we should be concentrating our limited resources on.”

The subject areas are economy and business, employment, health and social care, education and training, crime and community safety, housing and the environment, and transport.

Be Fair — Pay on Time
“The economy depends on our small businesses so I will continue my campaign, which was inspired by a Saddleworth constituent who told me about a very large, well-known company that wasn’t paying, to get large companies to do the right thing and pay small businesses on time. This is hurting SMEs locally and across the country.

“In the current economic climate, every penny counts and for small businesses a late invoice can mean not being able to pay staff.”

Fair Funding for Small Businesses
“Access to finance is probably the biggest issue facing small businesses.

“I will work with Oldham Council, Oldham Business Leadership Group, Oldham Chamber and other partners to develop alternative, local funding schemes for local small businesses, including ‘funding circles’ or peer-to-peer lending.”

Oldham Fairness Commission
“Inequalities persist across Oldham. But many of these inequalities are not fixed or inevitable. A fairer, more equal society benefits us all.

“I will convene and chair the Oldham Fairness Commission (OFC) with partners from across the public, private and voluntary sectors which will identify and address the causes of inequalities in education, employment and income, and will define action to address these issues through our partners and beyond.”

Time and Skills Exchange
“Unemployment is an issue for many people in the constituency, particularly young people and people without qualifications.

A Timebank is a way of exchanging time and skills in one area, for example, painting and decorating, or cooking a meal for someone. Time is the currency.

“I will work to develop and extend Timebanking in Oldham with the Hollinwood Timebank, which is already doing great work.”

A Dementia-friendly Oldham
“In 2010 over 2,300 people in Oldham were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, but it is estimated that this is only half of the actual number. By 2020 this number will have increased by 20 per cent.

“I will work with Oldham Council, NHS Oldham, the Alzheimer’s Society, Age UK, carers’ groups and others to build a dementia-friendly Oldham, raising awareness and developing best practice across the borough and will include shops and businesses.”

NHS Check Oldham
“The NHS is more than an organisation that plans and provides healthcare. It represents the values of our society.

“I will publish quarterly reports identifying how the NHS in Oldham is doing on a range of areas including waiting times, and the privatisation of NHS services.”

Oldham Car Club
“A good transport system and infrastructure is essential for economic growth and jobs, as well as providing access to shops, family and friends, and leisure,” Mrs Abrahams said

“Car Clubs provide accessible, affordable, low carbon alternatives to traditional car use, so I will work with Oldham Council to deliver Oldham’s Car Club.”

Fair Train Fares for passengers
“Trans-Pennine rail fares vary widely depending on where you purchase them. I will investigate the scale of these differences in pricing and lobby for fairer train fares.”

Tackling Rogue Landlords
“The quality of private-rented accommodation in the constituency is very variable. Nationally, more than a third of homes are not up to decent standard and this is reflected in Oldham.

“I will work to support Oldham Council’s proposals for a borough-wide Private Sector Landlord Licensing Scheme, rooting out and striking off rogue landlords.”

Tackling Violence and Sexual Exploitation
“Domestic violence and sexual exploitation against women and girls happens across the country and in all communities. It is unacceptable and must be stopped,” Mrs Abrahams said.

“I will work with Oldham Council, Greater Manchester Police, Women’s Aid and other partners to raise awareness with young people about the issues, providing support for women who have been affected and appropriate response from the justice system.”

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