Garth Harkness was elected a councillor on Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council in 2012 for Saddleworth North Ward . He is currently Shadow Cabinet member for Employment and skills.
Garth has been a maths teacher and now works in a resourced provision for students with Autism to enable them to access a mainstream education. Garth is opposed to the cuts to education by the government and the agenda to increase the number of grammar schools, which, he feels, does nothing to help social mobility.
Garth has been working on Oldham council to find ways to provide practice support for those who are facing barriers to work and to help support the most vulnerable back into work such as the disabled or carers. He has been working with MIND mental health charity on mental health support and awareness. Garth has worked to ensure Oldham begins a pilot project for supporting claimants with mental health difficulties or who are particularly vulnerable and in receipt of the Employment Support Allowance (or ESA).
Garth is disappointed that the government has failed to invest in mental health services and other health services. He supports the Liberal Democrat plan to invest £25 million for the Oldham areas with £18 million for the NHS and £7million for social care each year.
Garth is opposed to the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework which will decimate the green belt and green spaces. As your MP he would be calling for more homes to be built on previously developed land, buildings which could be converted, stockpiles of land with planning permission and long-term empty houses
Liberal Democrats propose Oldham council should withdraw from the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework and develop its own environmentally-friendly Local Plan.
His philosophy is to be constructive, is to solve problems, not just to complain about them. Garth believes in straight talking but does not believe that the loudest voices speak truest or work most effectively.
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