THE ELECTIONS have now finally passed and I suspect most people have now settled back into ‘normal life’.
As the dust settles we will all reflect on the campaign – nationally and locally – to understand the results and also to plan ahead for what it means to our country and, of course, to our borough.
I am fearful for what another five years of cuts might mean for Oldham and for the public services that we rely on.
But there will also undoubtedly be new opportunities for our borough too with full force devolution to Greater Manchester – in particular on health, skills and transport, with the prospect of us having much more say over the public services and investments which affect all our communities.
What we must be clear about is that while devolution is welcome it cannot be seen as a solution to deep cuts to council budgets.
With the added weight of more power and responsibilities here we must ensure that the foundations on which those opportunities are placed are strong and secure.
We must also make sure that although the pressures facing the council are significant, we do not lose our focus on regenerating Oldham, creating new jobs and providing better quality homes, schools and decent care for the elderly.
And as those candidates who were unsuccessful on May 7 are getting back to their normal lives, I can tell you that things have barely stopped since for those of us who elected.
Immediately following the elections all political groups must meet to appoint lead members for posts on the Cabinet and Committees, and then prepare for the Annual Council meeting which took place this afternoon.
That leads me to pay tribute and offer many thanks to our outgoing Mayor Fida Hussain and his wonderful wife of 25 years, Tanvir. Both came into their roles fully realising that for 12 months year they would be utterly giving themselves up to Oldham as they represented the borough.
After attending more than 500 community events, facing Fida’s fear of heights (!) and raising over £43,000 for charities including Dr Kershaws, Mahdlo, Christies and the Voluntary Action Oldham fund, they can be well satisfied with their efforts.
My very best wishes also go now to our new Mayor and Mayoress Ateeque Ur Rehman and Yasmin Toor.
Finally, as part of the business at Annual Council, we confirmed our commitment to meeting our firm election pledges which have now been incorporated into a new Corporate Plan for Oldham Council which you can now view or download from our website by clicking here.
Thanks for listening,