IN keeping with my Labour administration’s ambitions for the borough over the next year to focus on the 3 R’s – Response, Recovery and Regeneration – I want to share how we are getting on with them.

This week the Government finally acknowledged Bury’s need for additional support to tackle the spike in our Covid figures. This was something I called for nearly a month ago when our neighbours in Bolton began to see their numbers jump up.

I felt it was inevitable this would spread to us in Bury, so it would have made sense to boost support then. Only a few weeks ago we were recommended for extra support and this was rejected by the Government. However, they have now changed their approach and this is welcome.

The new measures will mean extra support for testing so that we can pick up cases sooner, in particular for those younger people who are currently making up the vast majority of new cases. We have not had it confirmed we will get extra vaccine supplies, but I am working alongside Andy Burnham to push the Government to agree to this and I remain confident they will agree. Getting more vaccines, and then getting as many residents vaccinated must be the number one priority. It is the best alternative to additional restrictions or a return to the failed local lockdown approach.

In terms of our recovery plans, we must ensure that our economy bounces back strongly and local jobs are protected, especially key workers. This is why I have expressed my opposition to plans by Capita to close their call centre in Bury and force hundreds of staff to travel at least a 70 mile round trip to Preston Brook. These key workers, many of whom are local residents, deserve better. I have written to Capita and Tesco Mobile to support the Communication Worker’s Union proposals to find an alternative to these plans. I would call on both our MPs to support this approach, and show solidarity with those workers whose jobs are at risk.

Finally, on regeneration I was very pleased to chair the recent cabinet sub-committee for Radcliffe Regeneration and present plans for our Levelling Up bid. This £20m bid is designed to supplement the council’s wider plans for Radcliffe, which have already seen the confirmation of a new high school and brownfield housing site grant funding. I am confident our hard work over the past few years puts us in a very strong position to carry on this success and get on with the delivery of the plans.