Manchester City Council

In or Out? In !

This is pretty much my last chance to blog about Europe as we are about to enter the period of " purdah " which will proceed the European referendum. My personal position is to very strongly support staying in the European Union. That's a position overwhelming shared by the City Council and by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

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Sticking with Diversity

This very much follows on from my last post. This Wednesday saw the Annual Meeting of the Council. The Annual Meeting does a number of things including electing the Council Leader ( me again, sorry ) and making any necessary amendments to the Council's constitution ( and there always are some ). However it is probably better known for the Mayor making ceremony as each year the Council elects a new Lord Mayor.

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Make-up

This is my first blog since last week's local elections and thought I would say something about the composition of the Council. Not the political composition, although that, with the election of a Liberal Democrat councillor, has changed. It is nowhere near the most significant change.

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Hungary and Holland

Going to take brief excerpts from three different days this week. On Tuesday, the Lord Mayor and the Hungarian Ambassador unveiled a plaque celebrating the visit to Manchester of Lagos Kossuth in 1851in a ceremony in the Sculpture Hall. Unless you're Hungarian suspect you're now asking Lagos who? Lagos Kossuth was a Hungarian statesman and fighter for democracy who led a failed revolt against the Hapsburg Empire in 1848 seeking to introduce a British style constitutional democracy to an independent Hungary. When he came to Manchester he was greated by tens of thousands of people who lined the streets all the way from Piccadilly Station to near Strangeways all trying to get a glimpse of him. Difficult to imagine now!

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Welcome Back

A few words about Europe, more specifically the referendum on whether the UK stays in the EU or floats off to outer space. This has been discussed by both our Economy Scrutiny Committee,who received presentations both from Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce and Industry and from the Institute of Directors, where in both cases member surveys indicated roughly 2 to 1 support for staying in, and the Executive Committee, in the current meeting cycle.

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Piccadilly Gardens

I'm going to risk a bit more controversy but getting my defence in first, let me say that I would be the first to acknowledge that, as city centre Councillor Kevin Peel put it at the last meeting of the Economy Scrutiny Committee, Piccadilly Gardens is in desperate need of some tlc. I do though still find this week's Manchester Evening News petition on the subject somewhat curious.

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Personal Choices

If the Council had a fiver for every time I've been asked about if I was going to stand for GM Mayor we would probably be looking at a budget surplus rather than cuts next year. I have so far delayed announcing my decision for good strategic reasons but can't put it of any more, not at least as at least two people have already, in my view prematurely, announced their candidacy.

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Velocity

We still face the almost impossible challenge of meeting the transport aspirations of every road user . . .

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Money

The Council is about half way through a public consultation on it's 2016/7 budget. I'm not proposing to go through it in detail - all of that is available elsewhere - but did want to comment on a couple of aspects of the draft budget. The first is Council Tax.

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What's in a Name

Started off yesterday morning meeting the committee of Cheetham Hill Traders Association, a really good group of people intent on improving Cheetham Hill District Centre, the shopping centre located around the junction of Crescent Road, Cheetham Hill Road and Bury Old Road. The district centre lies partially in Crumpsall Ward, partially in Cheetham Ward, and partially in Salford. For a range of reasons the future is looking reasonably bright but there are still some challenging issues to address, including the marketing and promotion of the area.

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