The truth about the most politically mismanaged, discriminative & undemocratic borough in England.
Delivering secular editorial without political affiliation.
The first release of Universal Credit Claimant data by the Department for Works & Pensions shows Oldham to be the area with the most claimants.
Please sign the petition to be sent to the Labour leader the Rt Hon Edward Miliband MP: Remove Oldham Council Leader James McMahon from his position.
Councillor James (Jim) McMahon has been Oldham Labour Council leader since May 2011 yet until the week ending 17/02/2013 he continued to work simultaneously as the Town Centre Manager for rival Town Middleton. By early 2013 Oldham had the fourth highest levels of closed shops for medium sized towns in the country. The job specifications for his Middleton replacement identified Oldham as a catchment area from which to attract potential shoppers to Middleton. This was a clear conflict of interests and within any other UK job sector I can identify this would have not been allowed. Other councillors should have spoken out and tabled a motion of no confidence about this when it was first identified they did nothing. Oldham had and still has the highest birth rates in Greater Manchester and some of the lowest levels of growth sector employment.
The Royal Oldham Hospital has seen 5 times the England average of planned operation cancellations in the last week because of A&E pressure on bed availability and because 58 Royal Oldham Hospital beds are occupied by people ready to return home but insufficient external care service provision means they can't be discharged. Emergency Patients waiting between 4 & 12 hours for a bed at The Royal Oldham Hospital is currently 4 times the England average.
The current Oldham Labour Party's multiple bedroom house building policies in areas blighted by poverty, overcrowding, worklessness & poor health will only see this situation increase every winter as the population increases beyond service capacity and living standards fall or remain static.
Oldham's South Asian Pakistani & Bangladeshi communities have been identified as potential fraudulent voting hotspots by the Electoral Commission. In September 2013 fraud perception report Asian participants in Oldham & Tower Hamlets mentioned seeing:
• Canvassers standing outside local schools and making parents there feel uncomfortable by their presence
• Representatives of a political party at the polling station demonstrating on a mocked-up ballot paper to non-English speaking electors where they should make their mark.
• Women being told to vote in a certain way by male family members.
The empty Walmsley furniture store on Yorkshire St is set to become a YMCA charity shop and is situated directly opposite Dr Kershaws Charity shop which occupies the old Demolition clothing store. Just another example of Oldham Councils ailing business plans & mismanagement of Oldham Town Centre and other areas. Millions are being ploughed into turning Union St into a public funded illusionary cultural destination whilst the Council remains silent about established businesses that weathered years of road works and a complete loss of pedestrian business who have been offered a derisory 10% reduction in business rates as compensation. The traditional retail centre now occupies little more than the budget end of the retail marketplace, the charitable sector and the poverty driven high-interest loan - pawnbroker sector.
Plans have been revealed for the new Oldham Town Centre so called "Flagship" Leisure Centre. Flagship in Oldham obviously means less facilitation for sports participation for the people of Oldham and more spectator seating so that Oldham Council can use the facility to generate income from hosting competitive events and TV broadcasts. The current leisure facility is located in the middle of the traditional retail Town Centre opposite Tommyfield market. The new facility will be built opposite Oldham College located outside the traditional retail Town Centre. Upon completion of the new facility, struggling Town Centre businesses will lose the footfall business from leisure centre patrons who will no longer need to travel into the Town Centre. This relocation is not about the people of Oldham but about the Metrolink/regeneration corridor consisting of the Civic Centre, Hotel Future, leisure centre and educational campuses. Why would Oldham Council commission a leisure centre at one of the busiest and consequently polluted multiple main road junctions in the area other than because it serves the councils requirements. Competitive sports at the leisure centre will mean athletes, TV crews and celebrities staying at Hotel Future before travelling down King St and Union St to the Gallery & Coliseum Theatre thus avoiding the real Town Centre with its pound shops, bookies, cheap clothing shops and junk food outlets.
Main pool (33.3-metre)
Learner pool (12.5m by 9m)
Dive pool (12.5m by 12.5m)
Sauna and steam rooms
Power showers and rest area
8 court sports hall
Indoor climbing wall
63 station fitness studio
Spinning classes in multi-use hall
Indoor bowls hall (four lanes)
2 squash courts
meeting / training room
Main pool (25-metre)
Learner pool (unspecified)
No dive Pool
Sauna and steam room;
Wet changing village;
8 court sports hall including flexible seating for 250
No combat room
No indoor climbing wall
80-station fitness studio
Indoor bowls hall (four lanes)
Two group exercise studios;
Separate changing facilities for dry sports and fitness
Spectator seating gallery at the main pool, providing 250 seats & 150 competitor seats.
Every Government policy or announcement that specifically identifies Oldham is either about the currently expanding religious communities and issues surrounding cultural integration or benefit claimants and by benefit claimants we of course mean the childless unemployed. The latest Government press release is “Multi-faith communities to benefit from new £3 million grant” Oldham is not a multi-faith community it is a borough of separate disjointed communities ranging from the indigenous mainly a-religious community to the authoritarian South Asian community and the emerging Eastern European Catholic migrants. According to Oldham CCG 59.7% of the Oldham population are Christian, in reality this information means nothing more than people ticked Christian on the 2011 census form. The actual percentage of practising Christians in Oldham is minuscule at best, multi-faith is tagged onto these policies so they appear not to discriminate. Oldham has real problems and this constant pandering, spending & policy allocation to bolster the privileged status of superstition is distasteful and self-deafeating. Deal with actualities, Oldham occupies the Greater Manchester bottom spot for health, wealth and opportunity the majority could care less about others invisible friend.
"Having discovered that the 2011 Census found nearly half a million more East Europeans in Britain than the immigration figures had suggested, the ONS have at last adjusted the official statistics in today’s release 28/02/2014. As a result, we can now see that net immigration under Labour peaked at 320,000 in 2004/5 and that total net foreign migration came to nearly 4 million during their period in office"
Sir Andrew Green
Official census statistics released today confirm that Oldham has the worst levels of adult qualifications in Greater Manchester & the 16th highest rate of people with no qualifications in all England & Wales out of 348 local authority areas. For level 4 and above qualifications Oldham ranks as 312 out of 348 meaning just 36 areas in England & Wales have lower levels of degree and above qualified residents. If you take the more affluent & educated residents of Saddleworth out of the total figures the situation is substantialy worse.
2011 government data shows that the Rochdale & Oldham Travel-To-Work area had the 8th lowest job density ratio in the UK at just 0.59 the England average is 0.78. This means for every 10 economically active people needing a job less than 6 are available locally. When benefit entitlement reforms were introduced the job density ratio dropped further as large benefit subsidised Oldham demographics lost the left-wing protection of their payments and were told they had to work. Oldham council responded with four costly employment schemes providing in the majority the potential for new low-skilled jobs to accommodate the growing shortfall between job hunters and job availability: Foxdenton Warehouse Park, Hotel Future, Town Hall Cinema & Hollinwood Old Gas Works.
Oldham Council leader Jim McMahon has announced at the One Oldham Business Awards that The Odeon will be running the new town centre cinema in The Old Town Hall. Oldham Council still refuses to reveal to the Oldham public how the £30,000,000 refurbishment & extension to the building is being funded or the implications this raises about Council budgets. See the news item below
Oldham Town Centres much lauded regenerated Union St along with it’s so called “cultural quarter” is fast becoming Oldham’s robbery central with the Thunderdrome & Victory Apartments both burgled in 2014 & charity MENCAP which has been subjected to three burglaries. The latest break in victim was The Link Centre on the 20th of March. Also released today are statistics showing that six out of the top twenty shoplifting hotspot stores in Greater Manchester are in Oldham. The six stores are Oldham Town Centre Debenhams, Boots & Home Bargains: Tesco Huddersfield Road & Failsworth & Asda Chadderton.
This picture was the winner of Oldham Councils Bloom & Grow competition 2013 the area is known locally as buttercup field but will be more familiar to Oldham residents as the proposed location of the new housing development associated with the Foxdenton Business Park. Perhaps in 2014 Oldham Council should run a Bloom & Demolish competition.
Oldham Council is seeking approval for the formation of a new Foxdenton Joint Venture. According to the council "Providing the approval would bring forward the delivery of the Foxdenton Employment Area and ensure that the Council had control over the delivery of the development. It would also result in the Council realising a substantial capital receipt for its landholdings." The council of course ignores the wishes of residents who don't want the atypical area they live in to become another typical minimum wage over-populated slum area with jobs and housing targeted and populated by the councils primary voting demographics. Oldham has the lowest wage levels and lowest levels of educated adults in Greater Manchester; what does it gain from yet another low paid unskilled warehouse park? The question has to be asked whether this inner town oasis is being sacrificed so the councils “substantial capital receipt” from the sale of land and business rates receipts on and around Foxdenton Lane can be used to bankroll the councils secretive funding of the Old Town Hall Cinema project? It remains certain that the councils capital gains will not be invested back into Foxdenton but will at best be disproportionately spent on housing & amenities, and not promoting educational attainment & improving quality employment opportunities, in the areas the current councils primary voting demographics live!
Released on the same day as the new sports centre plans was the Ukactive report showing physical inactivity rates for UK adults with Oldham occupying a top 10 position. Oldham Council and partners once again put plans in place that serve the boroughs bank balance more than the people of Oldham. The current Councils core voters & circumstances of poverty & ill health will continue to self-perpetuate under such deliberate policies. Oldham is now officially the fattest borough in Greater Manchester (source Public Health England 2014)
In the wake of same sex marriage becoming legal in the UK on the 29/03/2014 & Oldham rhetoric about staging the first ceremony in Greater Manchester here’s a reminder that in 2012 Oldham had the lowest levels of Civil Partnerships in Greater Manchester: 4 Female & just 1 male ceremony for every 100,000 residents which is Less than 50% of the next lowest levels. Unsurprisingly the City of Manchester had the highest levels with 78 male & 61 female ceremonies per 100,000. Official statistics for Oldham shows that 0.26% of the population is openly LGB which is almost 6 times less than The Office For National Statistics UK estimates and 38 times less than The Kinsey Report UK estimates.
If PFI liabilities, as reported by an an official 2013 audit, were added back onto the ‘balance sheet’ to show the true extent of Oldham Labour Councils borrowing the figure would rise from approximately £150,000,000 to £382,500,000
Oldham has the lowest available employment opportunities in the professional science, research, engineering, technology and the information & communication sectors plus the joint lowest levels of employment opportunities in the administration & support services industries in all Greater Manchester.
The Children’s Society says that 12000 Oldham children may be living in poverty due to fuel costs and parents personal circumstances. Oldham Council announces they intend to build a new Town Centre primary school because of “an unprecedented rise in the number of children needing primary school places” Oldham’s elected representatives & charities should be working together to change both endemic Oldham culture and to protest against the high levels of poor foreign migrants clearly being directed to Oldham in addition to a continuation of asylum seeker allocation within the borough. Should but will not!
In it’s latest press release Oldham Council is once again patting itself on the back stating that “Oldham sees 24 per cent fall in 16-18 year-old NEETs” The release ignores the wider issues which saw a drop in apprenticeship 16-24 take ups in parts of Oldham probably due to the quality of the work on offer; examples being warehouse apprentice & reception apprentice. I also question some of the dubious claims of work experience (44 local youths on a film set for a film company with a tiny budget that did not pay staff a salary) & some of the disciplines in which apprenticeships are being created, for example, in the last week one of Oldham’s education establishments advertised for a “family engagement apprentice” an Internet search brings up just one apprenticeship or adult job opportunity for “family engagement” in the UK & it is in Oldham. It was renowned political theorist Hannah Arendt who questioned the validity of educational establishments teaching non-existent academic disciplines, we can also see this lack of validity in the deliberate creation of such fictional employment.
Apprenticeship Programme Starts for Oldham West & Royton dropped by 7.2% in 2012/13 from the previous year (Year being August to July).
“Oldham Council has prosecuted a takeaway after poor standards of hygiene and a dangerous gas situation were discovered at the premises. During an inspection of Gold Star, on Union Street, in Oldham, on August 7, 2013, an environmental health officer had to call out a utility company following fears of a gas leak. The owners were then forced to call out a gas engineer immediately to fix the hazardous problem.The officer also found the premises to be dirty with thick grease caked on the floor around the fryer – plus an infestation of mouse droppings.”
No mention that Oldham Council Deputy leader & Cabinet Member for Business & Town Centre’s Shoab Akhtar owns a 25% share of these premises, we acknowledge that this does not necessarily mean he had any involvement in the actual food business but he should have monitored any business in these premises making sure they complied with law & legislation if only because of the business locality & his Cabinet position.
Questions are being asked about ex-police boss Cathy Butterworth pay after it was revealed that she recieved £900,000 pay & pension for three years work as head of training and development at GMP. Missing from the story published in the Manchester Evening News was the information that her £70,861 current job at Oldham Council is to determine other people's "appropriate terms & conditions” of employment.
Under Jim McMahon's tenure as Oldham Labour Council leader the average Oldham wage has slipped down to the 23rd lowest in all the UK as revealed by official figures released in April 2014. The Council website still states “The average wage rate in Oldham is 16% lower than the UK average, representing a significant cost saving for businesses considering locating in the borough” In actuality the average wage rate in Oldham is now 20.3% lower than the UK average wage. Foxdenton (Broadway Green), Hotel Future & The Old Town Hall schemes will all add to the problem by creating yet more potential employment in the bottom two lowest paid UK job sectors thus maintaining Oldham’s low living standards & encouraging yet more foreign migration & an ever expanding population dependent on supplementary benefits.
A recent freedom of Information request shows that the Cost cutting Pennine Acute NHS Trust which may outsource information management & technology jobs abroad to India hired an IM&T project manager for £52,000 for 80 days work in 2013/14 that is £650 per day. In total The Pennine Acute Trust IM&T Dept used contract & agency staff for 5127 days in 2013/14 at a total approximate cost of £1,551,898
Oldham’s Labour Council is spending £157,500 of prudential loan cash on resurface five Town Centre footpaths, which have been damaged by vehicular parking, with a stronger material rather than preventing parking on footways with bollards or parking restriction enforcement. The Council has borrowed a total of £1,315,000 for Metrolink highway & footway work in 2014/15. The staggering true cost of Oldham Labour Council’s debt from borrowing including PFI now stands the borough at almost two fifths of a billion.
Oldham Council has agreed it’s 2014/15 “priority programme funding” allocation with specific area demographic, ethnicity & religion at the forefront of the Labour Council’s continuing massively disproportionate allocation of priority & regeneration policies, spending distribution & grant procurement within Oldham.
Over 100 people turned up in monsoon conditions at the Civic Centre planning meeting last night to show their disapproval of the plans to turn the currently undeveloped green areas of Foxdenton into a sprawling minimum wage warehouse park and 500 unit housing estate. People have vowed to carry on the fight as the already “done deal” was approved after just over an hour of debate which continued to provide no answers to the growing list of concerns posed by local residents.
Prior to the 2013 benefit reforms it was calculated that 316 Oldham households with children were collectively in receipt of more than eight million two hundred & 16 thousand Pounds in benefits per year
There are now more asylum seekers in (COMPASS) housing in the North West than in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland & the South West combined!
Oldham is one of only 19 English local authorities outside London offering migrant settlement checking services, London has 9 making a total of 28 for England, Wales has just 1 authority offering migrant settlement checks & Scotland has just 2.
According to Oldham Council the Town Centre is on the up, in their latest press release "Businesses help boost Yorkshire Street" Councillor Shoab Akhtar, Cabinet Member for Business and Town Centres, said: "We already have a series of major regeneration projects getting underway that will enhance our entertainment, cultural and leisure offer and we believe Oldham town centre can become the strongest in north Manchester." I have been out with my camera judge for yourself how strong the so called regeneration triangle really is by watching the film over on the video page or
Chronic-Oldham has no connection with UKIP, Joe Fitzpatrick or any other political party!
At no point was my permission given to any political party to place my web address on their leaflets. This website remains factual in the reports, statistics & analysis it conveys whilst (1) vehemently opposing EU membership (2) fighting against the Oldham Labour Party & it’s continuing discriminative demographic specific spending & regeneration policies aimed at securing core votes whilst creating almost 2/5 of a billion in debts for Oldham residents. Chronic-Oldham remains an independent resource of information that will not be used by politicians for juxtapositioning. By all means link to this site but do not imply that it is part of your organisation.
Whilst the prerequisite accusations of discrimination and prejudice are being offered by all the major political parties let us take a look at The Oldham Labour Party and it’s fine example of gender segregation. So exemplary is this picture of testosterone superiority that it receives retweets from the TUC & Labour Central. An adult community consists of men & women, deal with your own sexist, homophobic & discriminative members & supporters before appearing “holier than thou”
Although Oldham’s Labour Council & Foxdenton LLP have failed to confirm one way or the other it would appear that a major company lined up for one of the huge warehouses planned for the Foxdenton site has already decided to locate elsewhere before construction has even started.
Being born in Oldham is bad for your health
Of the 211 Clinical Commissioning Group areas in England it has been revealed that life expectancy rates for both Oldham born males & females are some of the lowest in the Country with Males occupying the 12th & Females the 11th shortest life expectancy positions respectively.
This is how our undemocratic Oldham Council responds to a Freedom of Information Request from Council Tax payers of Oldham concerned about the debt and financial risk to council budgets arising from Oldham Council acting as developer for the town hall cinema project. No information was asked for that would identify companies nor individuals so I fail to see under what grounds the council can refuse this request which asks for financial information relating to policies that have the direct potential to significantly impact future local government finances.
Dear Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council,
Please provide information on the following questions that will elucidate the currently communicated ambiguous financial costs and
implications of The Oldham Old Town Hall Cinema Project to Oldham Council & the residents of the borough.
The complete cost of the project was recently communicated by the Oldham Council Leader to be £30,000,000:
(1) Where is the projected £30,000,000 funding coming from? ie How much will be from Oldham Council entering into prudential loan
arrangements? how much will be grants? how much is from private businesses? Etcetera.
Oldham Council Response: Under the Freedom of Information Act I can confirm that the Council holds this information, however this information is exempt under Section 44 (1) and is therefore being withheld.
(2) With Oldham Council acting as developer how will the loans be repaid and what provisions are in place to protect the people of Oldham from potentially having the cost of the project repayments taken from the existing council budget?
Oldham Council response: As Question 1.
(3) In what year is Oldham Council projected to have completely repaid any outstanding loan and financial debts associated with this project?
Oldham Council response: As Question 1.
(4) With extensive surveys already having taken place how much of the projected cost will be spent on repairing and renovating the building it's architectural features & period interior?
Oldham Council response: Approximately £7.5m
That is £7.5 million just to repair the building and reinstate the repulsive, opulent interior of the Old Town Hall that various Oldham Councils left derelict for 30 years & which in my 47 years has never been in any use other than as a court building and prior to that was the habitat of the local government elite! This is not my heritage this is the councils & central government representatives heritage. Could you possibly choose a more inappropriate building in which to house a cinema? Oldham needs to move into the 21st century with new modern efficient buildings showcasing the latest technologies not back to the early 20th century magic lantern days.
In 2004 there were 84,346 workplace-based jobs in the Oldham area by 2013 the figure had dropped to 73,637
What did we learn from the local Oldham elections? We learned that wards which elected councillors with a share of over 50% of the total votes cast; all elected Labour Councillors and were within areas with the highest rates of children, the highest levels of total out-of-work benefit claims & all had received or were due to receive the highest comparable ward rates of beneficial regeneration spending. Labour Oldham biggest local election wins were: Coldhurst 77.8%, St Mary’s 82.2%, Werneth 90.3%, the average winning vote for the other 18 Oldham Council seats was just 39.6%
If you have ever wondered why Oldham Council keep championing the Metrolink direct connection from Oldham to Manchester airport despite the impracticalities of even hand luggage on a busy tram it is because Oldham Council own a 3.22% share of Manchester Airport Group & received £2,323,000 dividend in 2013/2014 which was an increase of 132.3% over their dividend in 2012/2013. Good to know Labour Oldham don’t have an ulterior motive.
In it’s latest press release about it’s demographically targeted social housing policies Labour Oldham states “Oldham Council has unveiled the first new homes that have been built in Central Chadderton as part of the £113m ‘Gateways to Oldham’ PFI contract.” OMBC term the new homes as creating a sustainable community but in actuality the houses have a 50% allocation by needs which means all 50% of this section of tenants may have benefits as their only source of income. The other allocation is 50% WorkingXtra "The WorkingXtra criteria rewards those applicants on the register who are working more than 16 hours or are actively volunteering or making a contribution to the community" rewarding people who work just 16 hours per week tell’s you more about the composition of Crossley Estate than any other statement. DEFINE SUSTAINABLE: 87 homes with tenants potentially working 696 hrs per week or an average 8 hours per week per home. Chadderton Central & Crossley Estate borders Werneth, Werneth has 59% more children than the England average. Chadderton Central & Crossley Estate borders Coldhurst, Coldhurst has 68% more children than the England average. Chadderton Central has 1.6% less children than the England average & here lies part of the problem & the reason why Crossley has been chosen as a buffer to soak up excess population. This is also why Foxdenton has suffered & will continue to suffer for the next 15 years the worst consequences of the expanding Oldham population and the family demographics currently massively subsidised by an average of £7,195 in tax-credits per year. Whilst this Labour propagated false economy continues wages will remain the lowest in Greater Manchester & the population of core Labour voting wards will continue to expand with no regard for the future of Oldham whilst receiving more in benefits than the sum of Income Tax, National Insurance & Council Tax paid. In our contributory based political & social system that is zero contribution.
All is quiet on the failing “troubled families” program in Oldham so here are the facts as of March 2014: 680 families identified as “troubled”, 586 families worked with as of the end March 2014, 6 of those families achieving continuous employment & 280 achieving crime/anti social behaviour expectations, 19 families achieving “progress to work outcome” as at the end of March 2014.
Oldham Labour Council is up to it's usual demographically driven discriminative double standards as it plans to sell off "public open space" in several Chadderton locations whilst advertising it's pledge 22 "Green Dividend" rewarding green schemes in other wards. Chadderton has already lost Foxdenton the last sizable piece of undeveloped land in Chadderton due to Labour Oldham policy that has seen massive population expansion in other wards whilst jobs have significantly decreased in the last decade & the town has become littered with empty & derelict business premises.
In it’s latest round of discriminative policies Labour Oldham has committed to maintaining “early years” spending in the Coldhurst ward alone as a prerequisite for it’s application to The Big Lottery Fund to win “Better Start” initiative funding specifically for the Coldhurst ward. The Council states this “will impact on the wider budgets for early years and increase the proportion of expected savings to be made by other wards outside Coldhurst” The ward has 67.7% more children as a percentage of the ward population than the England average.
Oldham Labour Council is now the only North West Town authority offering settlement checking services for migrants wishing to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK as the partner of a person who is in the UK and settled here.
The Council today swore in the new mayor Fida Hussain a Labour councillor for Werneth. Mr Hussain has 5 children & lives in a ward with 58.7% more children than the England average, that has 86.2% more total out of work benefit claimants than the England average, a ward that gets 30% of all Oldham Priority Programme Funding grants & voted a massive 90.3% for Labour in the recent local elections. The Oldham Labour Council leader Jim McMahon said 'you are Oldham through and through' at his mayor making ceremony. I couldn't agree more although I would add you are Labour Oldham through and through.
At a recent tribunal Oldham Labour Council were told via a unanimous vote that they must release information about the Foxdenton development which they purposely withheld. The Council are today appealing the decision citing a point of law as an excuse. It was only last year that Council leader Jim McMahon lauding the Councils democratic principles said "this kind of open transparent democracy is worth its weight in gold" What a pity his rhetoric does not match the reality of Oldham Council policy which sees information that affects the public both socially & financially being withheld on a regular basis.
New figures for 2013 highlight the reason why the Oldham traditional family unit section of the population seems indifferent about average wage rates that are some 20.3% below the national average. In 2013 10,300 'working families' in Oldham each received an annualised average £9,796 in tax credits. Almost ten thousand pounds on top of a wage is a staggering amount of in-work benefits that totally negates any Income Tax, National Insurance, Council Tax & a large proportion of VAT paid on goods & services. 7,400 out of work families each received an annualised £6,482 in tax credits. 2,400 working families with no children received an annualised average £2,542 in tax credits. When universal credit completely takes over in the UK benefit system it will no longer be possible to access benefit statistics by type & amount and the spiraling costs & inequality inherent in the tax credits system will be lost as it becomes a part of the whole.
what does the current unprecedented rise in children living in the borough mean for the Oldham economy? Labour Oldham says an increasing youth population is good as they will fund the pensions of tomorrow but Labour Oldham never chooses to discuss the financial costs associated with bringing those children into educated adulthood in Oldham. Negative contributions: receiving more in benefits than the sum of Income Tax & National Insurance deducted from a persons salary. Remembering that current pensioners never had access to many of the modern day benefits before their retirement including tax credits, figures show that basic pension payments for Oldham in 2012 cost approximately £194,000,000. Tax credits paid to working and non-working pre-pension adults (£190,667,242) when combined to housing benefit costs totaled £228,643,743. 26.3% of all Oldham homes (Dec 2013) were in receipt of tax credits with the average annualised amount received being £7,195 a rise of 18% from 2011/2012. 10,300 'working families' in Oldham each received an annualised average £9,796 in tax credits. Almost ten thousand pounds on top of a wage is a staggering amount of in-work benefits that totally negates any Income Tax, National Insurance, Council Tax & a large proportion of VAT paid on goods & services. 7,400 out of work families each received an annualised £6,482 in tax credits. Compare these figures to the average Tax & National Insurance deductions on a £15000 wage which is approximately £1,850. Oldham is a false economy where childless singles and couples are the most disadvantaged people in Oldham shut out by deliberate political policy that creates an interdependence between the Labour Council & target demographic “family” voters. Compare this to the inequality of a single Oldham person already denied access to social housing & working over 30 hours per week being paid a miserly £13,000 per year who is entitled to just 86 pence per week in tax credits. Many of today's parents will be in a negative contributory situation for 20 years or more of their working lives receiving over five times more in tax credits each year than they would ever have paid out as income tax & national insurance. Many of these parents have voiced the inexcusable opinion that pensioners should be subjected to austerity, a withdrawl of the winter fuel payment, lose their rights to a free bus pass & TV license so families can have more. Families within the high end tax credits niche in Oldham already get the lions share of all Oldham public spending from Oldham Council, the NHS, Central Government and local authority housing partners whilst in real terms financially contributing absolutely nothing to the services in which they cause backlogs, shortfalls & over-subscription.
10/04/2014 updated 04/07/2014
Today saw the release of the 'Migrants in low skilled work' report from the Migration Advisory Committee some of the most relevant issues & observations to the Oldham population will be highlighted in orange: “Migrants in low-skilled jobs are concentrated in certain parts of the country. This means some areas are likely to experience possibly significant impacts, while other areas may experience very little or almost no impact at all” Clearly the continuing migration and asylum seeker allocation in Oldham affects service provision, resource allocation, employment availability & culture at every level, Oldham has experienced unprecedented population expansion especially in the youth population yet has 10,709 less workplace based jobs than in 2004. Three-quarters of the total increase in migrant numbers 2001-2011 occurred in just a quarter of all local authority areas of England & Wales. The report found that national studies on immigration dilute the true local outcomes “Because of migrant concentration by area, it is likely that the (possibly considerable) impacts at the local level become lost in the national average”
“EU-born migrants are predominantly seeking work, while most non-EU migrants cite family reasons as their main reason for migrating to the UK. In the absence of a specific route for low-skilled migration from outside of the EU, this may indicate some system abuse (e.g. students coming to the UK to work)” For the last five years non-EU student inflow numbers have been steady at around 155,000 so outflow numbers should be broadly the same as people return home after completing a degree yet the number returning home last year was 50,000, just a third of the number that should have returned home. Oldham is expanding it’s higher education offering and institutions such as Oldham College have a license to issue tier 2 student visas directly thus creating yet another avenue by which immigrant numbers can increase in Oldham.
One observation for the Conservatives & Liberals at the council along with Labour is the misrepresentation of current record employment levels which I have to admit I missed but is glaringly obvious “However, much of this increase in employment is a consequence of the increase in working-age population such that the employment rate (employment divided by working-age population) has not increased but cycled without showing an upward trend between approximately 68 and 76 per cent for this entire time period (1971 to present). The employment rate in the three months to January 2014 was 72.3 per cent”
Construction jobs around the town centre building schemes, Metrolink & PFI housing in Oldham has been lauded as a land of employment & apprentice opportunity by the Oldham Labour Council with further opportunities available in the hospitality sector after Hotel Future & the Old Town Hall schemes have been completed. Yet the report identifies how construction & hospitality fall outside the Gangmasters Licensing Authority & are open to abuse with the increase in temporary, casual & agency employment. “based on what we have seen and been told, we are concerned that the interaction of a flexible labour market with relatively unregulated labour providers (especially in the sectors such as construction, hospitality and care not covered by the GLA) is contributing to reduced compliance” The Oldham Care Homes Association recently accused Oldham Council of refusing to pay the real costs associated with care in independent care homes.
To conclude the report stated mass immigration of low skilled workers DOES impact local social housing, NHS services, schools and other public sector services yet does not add any beneficial increase at all in per capita GDP contributions. Local authorities such as Oldham Council know this which is why the report authors met a wall of local authority silence. “At local authority level our objective was to gain a much better understanding of the dynamics of recent immigration and how issues related to employment, housing and social cohesion are inter-linked, especially in those areas experiencing rapid increases in EU and non-EU migrant populations. But some local areas that would have served as ideal case studies were clearly unwilling to engage with us” no surprise as to the unwillingness of local authorities to participate because most people would be truly shocked at the information contained within closely guarded statistics, costs & facts regarding the impact of mass immigration in areas with high migrant numbers.
Official documents show that the building of Hotel Future has actually been delayed because Oldham Councils funding eligibility has not yet been clarified because funding is normaly only provided to Greater Manchester Further Education colleges and private training providers. The Hotel Future scheme is the only one out of 17 proposals in Greater Manchester that has a Council applying directly for funding.
Good to know that despite Oldham Council claims that the Foxdenton development will provide 50% of Oldham’s future employment needs The Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) don't consider Foxdenton as one of the most significant locations for future economic growth.
“Key Growth Areas in Greater Manchester
Ensuring that our key growth areas are well integrated with the transport network (particularly the public transport network) is essential in achieving sustainable economic growth and this is central to GM Core Strategies/Local Plans and the Greater Manchester Local Transport Plan. A number of important sites are being delivered throughout Greater Manchester, including Logistics North in Bolton, Foxdenton and Hollinwood in Oldham and Kingsway in Rochdale, however the most significant locations for future economic growth are:
A lot of people still contact chronic-oldham asking about the Councils plans for Oldham Town Centre, Oldham Council do not engage with us so we form our opinions on what literature is available. It would seem so far that Oldham Council is following the assessment recommendations for Oldham Town Centre conducted by The Greater Manchester Combined Authority “GM Town Centres Project: Concluding Report” I have made an unedited PDF copy of the relevant Oldham section of the document which is available to download by clicking the file link below, it makes interesting reading and I have highlighted in yellow statements that I found striking.
At tonights full Council meeting Labour leader Jim McMahon answered questions about the Town Hall Cinema project costing's with an interim cost projection some 20% higher than the amount he communicated a year ago. The scheme is now projected to cost £36,000,000 some £6,000,000 more than a year ago. The Council had previously stated in 2012 that they are also willing to underwrite the cinemas performance meaning they would cover an operators operational losses.
|OMBC Jan 2013 spending records|
|OMBC Feb 2013 spending records|
|The impact of benefit reform on Oldham|
|Saddleworth West & Lees|
|Liberal Politics & Religion|
|The NHS constitution in Oldham is a discriminative propaganda exercise.|
|To what extent is the idea of state as a solution to violence alive within politics?|
|Armchair Critics of Oldham|