Manchester City Council

Budget 2015-17

The City Council faces another round of severe cuts over the next two years. The process of preparing the budget is underway but it will be a couple of months before draft proposals are in any state to consult on.

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Devolution for Real

In London today for a Core Cities business summit bringing our devolutionary message right to the heart of the City. There is now a flood of publications coming from all sorts of positions making the argument that centralisation hasn't worked, isn't working, and the UK and its people would be a lot better off if our major cities had more control of those things that support job-creating growth and those things that ensure our population can benefit from that growth.

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Contrasting buildings

A lot happening this week so I'm going to pick out a couple of things today and then a couple more tomorrow.

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After Austerity

Took part this lunchtime in the launch of a report commissioned by UNISON from CLES, the Centre for Local Economic Strategies, " After Austerity:an economic plan for the North West ". It's great to see the union contributing to a wider political debate about our future prosperity and playing an active role in promoting ideas that would not just benefit the North West, but the whole of the Midlands and the North.

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Must Do Much Better, Will Do Much Better

Cuts and recession notwithstanding, Manchester has had much to celebrate over the last few years, but unfortunately it's not always good news. This morning Ofsted published a report of their recent Childrens Services inspection. It's not all bad news, and front-line workers should take some heart from a recognition of their hard work and committment, but the bottom line is, we have to improve and by a lot, quickly, something we have already started on and are determined to succeed in. Below is the statement made by the Executive Member for Childrens Services at this morning's Council Executive Committee meeting.

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Healthier Together

A meeting this afternoon of the Crumpsall Core Group - the three ward Councillors, our neighbourhood Police Inspector, Ward Co-ordinator, Ward Support Officer, and Locality Manager - largely working through the actions from our last Ward Co-ordination Group meeting, planning the next, and doing any necessary service updates. We had an additional item agenda on today's agenda, Healthier Together, currently the subject of a major consultation across Greater Manchester.

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One North to Another

At the BBC for 6.15 yesterday morning for the first of a number of media spots highlighting the publication of One North, a strategic transport investment plan for the North. The Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield city-regions have been working on this for around six months. It's multi-modal - rail, road, air, sea, and digital. Freight, often an afterthought, is in there from the beginning. It's aim is to build on HS2 and improve connectivity between the major economic and population centres of the North - cities, ports and airports.

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Ghost Train

Don't go to many book launches, indeed don't get invited to many book launches, but was delighted to trot down to the Anthony Burgess Foundation last night for the launch of the latest book from Crumpsall's biggest publisher, Hic Dragones ( here be dragons? ). They specialise in " dark " tales and the new book, Hauntings, edited by Crumpsall resident Hannah Kate, is a collection of twenty one ghostly tales with contributors from all over the world. The readings at the launch certainly wetted my appetite ( although a glass of wine probably helped too ) and will be top of my reading list when I take a break from the office later this month. Run by Hannah and her partner Rob, great to see another example of culture flourishing in North Manchester, and you can get your own copy of the new publication by logging on to hic-dragones.co.uk .

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Gaza and Manchester

This is the text of a statement I made at today's meeting of the City Council;

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Being Representative

An interesting piece in the Local Government Chronicle a couple of weeks ago, at least I thought it was interesting, about the average age of Councillors in England. Essentially as a group we've been getting older. In 2004 the average age was 57.8, in 2010 it was 59.7, and its now 60.2. The South-West has the oldest Councillors, average age 62.3, London the youngest at 56.5. Councillors are also 67% male and 96% white which means that by and large councillors really do conform to the stereotype of old men in suits. How does Manchester do in comparison?

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