Manchester City Council

Aiming High

Greater Manchester Combined Authority ( CA ) meets today in Rochdale Town Hall, a beautiful building which it's always a pleasure to visit. The morning consists of a succession of meetings starting with a Labour Leaders meeting, where I'm relieved to see that the leaders of Rochdale and Oldham are still on good terms after the breakdown of their proposals to merge management teams. Next we're joined by the leaders of Trafford and Stockport for a private session which is largely about looking at what's coming up in the future.

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Down to the Core

7.15 interview on Radio Manchester this morning following the publication of a report from Volterra commissioned by the English Core Cities which makes very strongly both the economic case for High Speed rail ( HSR ) and the cost case. On cost it demonstrates not only will HSR pay for itself, but that in countries that have had HSR for some time, it already has. Tokyo-Osaka opened in 1964, yes forty seven years ago, and has long paid for itself.

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Take the Slow Train

Meet the acting Principal of Manchester College this morning, partly for a catch up on the college's current development plans, partly to discuss the lack of progress in making satisfactory post-16 provision for Cheetham and Crumpsall. The Further Education review that led to the creation of a single Manchester college, identified two areas of the city where provision needed to be strengthened, Wythenshawe and North West Manchester. Great and very welcome progress has been made in Wythenshawe where the final phase of the magnificent Brownley Road site opens this September. In the meantime, through no fault of the college, proposals for a new centre on the site of the former Boddingtons brewery have collapsed.

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Memory Lane

At the University of Warwick today taking part in a conference. As a former student here I always feel a touch of nostalgia when I'm down here, but this is not a trip down memory lane. For many years Manchester belonged to a local government research consortium based here which produced much practice based research to help us get the right answers to the problems we faced as a council.

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On the Spot

Scrutiny week this week and I've been summoned by our Economy, Employment and Skills Overview and Scrutiny Committee to present a report and answer questions on the progress of Local Enterprise Partnership. Not quite the grilling the Murdoch family got yesterday, but a lot of tough questions concerning composition, accountability, terms of reference, how its objectives are being delivered, and its relationship to other parts of the " Manchester family ".

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and now Blue Monday

Went to talk to that lovely Allan Beswick on Radio Manchester's breakfast show, the subject the third Manchester International Festival, which sadly drew to a close yesterday.

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Nothing but Good News

I've spent most of this year reporting on/ commentating on/ discussing bad news so it's a pleasure to talk today about something that is nothing but good news, the arrival in Manchester of Aegis, a leading global business process outsourcing provider. They're headquartered in Mumbai, but they're not here to take lots of jobs from here to there. They're here to create six hundred brand new jobs, jobs that haven't been moved from anywhere, and to recruit local, Manchester people to do them.

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What a Performance

Theatre in the morning, Art Gallery in the afternoon, although today the performance was in the Art Gallery rather than the theatre. After an Executive agenda setting meeting and a special Executive meeting discussing the London Road Fire Station CPO and then the East Manchester draft Community Plan it's on to full Council.

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Strategic and Local

The Manchester Local Strategic Partnership Board has its first meeting of this municipal year bright and early this morning. The most significant item on the agenda is a presentation on this year's not quite yet completed State of the City report. This is a warts and all account of our progress in delivering the city's community strategy, our long-term strategy to 2015, and should be publicly available in the next few weeks. It is also the key document by which the Board sets its priorities, and as the Board meets quarterly, we needed to discuss it today even though there is still some work to do on it. I won't reveal any details now and spoil your pleasure when it is published. Suffice it to say that as a result of our consideration we intend to have the same priorities for this year as last - promoting economic growth, tackling worklessness and building aspirations.

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Blue Friday

Out to East Manchester for a press launch which seems to have been already covered by every national newspaper, but the press conference is packed. Earlier this year, the City Council, supported by Sport England, who have a major stake in the stadium and surrounding sports facilities, agreed a new rental agreement with Manchester City FC. The agreement replaced one in which rental fluctuated with attendances, to one where rent was higher, guaranteed and upwardly mobile. In return MCFC were able to market the naming rights, and today was the official announcement that for the next ten years it will be the Etihad Stadium in the Etihad Campus.

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