Agenda item

Public Question Time

To receive any questions from and provide answers to the public in relation to matters relevant to the Council’s activities.


Members of the public were invited to put questions to the Mayor and councillors on matters within the powers and duties of the Council.


Four public questions were submitted as follows:-


·         Relating to the deficits being accrued within the Greater Manchester integrated health care system and whether this was an indication the system was failing and what the impact would be on health and social care provision in Stockport.


The Leader of the Council (Councillor Mark Hunter) responded that there were strong relationship across the health and care system and that all organisations were working closely together to drive improved outcomes on behalf of the residents who needed support on discharge from hospital.  It was stated that the number of people in hospital who were unable to return home had been on a downward trend since it peaked in April 2022, and that the Council and its partners continued to do all they could to get people home quickly with the right care.  The Leader of the Council acknowledged that the GM system was under pressure financially and operationally, and that he had asked for an urgent item on this matter to be placed on the agenda for the next One Stockport Health & Care Board.


·         Relating to Leader of the Council’s support for the Mayor of Greater Manchester’s statement calling for a ceasefire in the Middle East to allow for the hostages to be released and for aid to reach the Palestinian people, and whether this has been discussed at a Liberal Democrat group meeting, and if the Liberal Democrat Group would submit a motion to the next Council meeting calling for a ceasefire.


The Leader of the Council (Councillor Mark Hunter) confirmed that he had put his name to a statement on behalf of all ten Greater Manchester council leaders, and that while discussions in group meetings normally remain confidential, he stated that he had discussed the situation with his colleagues.  He further confirmed that he would be happy to engage with other group leaders who may have views on this matter.


·         Relating to the Leader of the Opposition’s confirmation that he agreed with the position on calling for a ceasefire in the Middle East and whether this has been discussed at a Labour group meeting, and if the Labour Group would submit a motion to the next Council meeting calling for a ceasefire.


Councillor David Meller responded that he was not convinced that a motion to the Council Meeting would necessarily have the effect suggested by the questioner.  Councillor Meller reaffirmed his position that he wanted to see an end to the conflict.  It was further stated that Stockport Labour Group wanted to see the safe return of all hostages, a cessation of the conflict and a return to diplomacy, where the world could then work to ensure a two-state solution where Israel and Palestine could live together in unity and peace.


·         Relating to the introduction of new cycle lanes and whether the Council was sure that these had public support, and further whether the approach to responding to questions satisfied the Nolan Principles.


The Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Climate Change & Environment (Councillor Mark Roberts) responded that he didn’t agree with the characterization of previous interactions during the public question time process.  Councillor Roberts stated that the Council was united in recognising the real and present danger that climate change presented to our normal way of life. 


It was stated that the Council had a duty to look to the future, to take risks seriously and to provide leadership and take our residents with us as it sought to create a more resilient community.  Any active travel schemes were fully consulted on, and the vast majority of works were funded through separate pots of money that were ring-fenced by government for this purpose.


Councillor Roberts stated that the Council was determined to tackle the climate crisis through a range of approaches including more sustainable modes of transport and that it would continue to invest in walking and cycling infrastructure to make it easier and safer for residents, commuters and children to choose to walk or cycle.  It was further commented that as those networks were connected together and increased in coverage across the borough, more people would choose active travel as an alternative, especially for shorter journeys.