Manchester City Council

Green and Blue

The first half of the week is very strongly linked to climate change, both mitigation and adaptation. Yesterday the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Davey, was in town. His first call was at the Town Hall extension where the refurbishment and conversion work is not only making the building far more operationally efficient and energy efficient, but also the first link of a series of heat networks that we hope will eventually cover the city. Then it was on to 1 Angel Square, the Co-op's remarkable new headquarters building, which at BREEAM outstanding will be one of the most energy efficient commercial buildings anywhere in the world. After a chance to listen to a range of Manchester people from both the public and private sector, the Minister then went to Oldham to hear about the energy switching scheme being very rapidly developed by Oldham Council supported by the energy unit here at Manchester City Council for the whole of Greater Manchester. The aim is to make it easier for Manchester people to switch to the cheapest tariff available and to help us tackle fuel poverty.

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Through the Looking Glass

Two accusations that regularly appear in comments on the blog are firstly that it only ever covers good news stories, and secondly that critical comments are censored or excluded. Anybody just spending a few minutes going through the back catalogue of posts would quickly see that neither of these are true. The general rule is that all comments are posted as long as they are in some way related to the theme ( and we're pretty generous about that ) and aren't defamatory. On rare occasions comments have been excluded on the grounds of excessive length but comments that are posted are not cut or edited in any way.

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Afloat

A fair few openings and launches this week. It's generally the Lord Mayor that represents us at the more formal events but I am very happy to be taking part in three such events this week. Yesterday the City launched its age-friendly programme. Manchester is a world leader as a result of the work done on valuing older people which is transforming the way older people are regarded. There has been a tendency to see aging as something that creates problems with the notion of people becoming a burden on society. Clearly there are going to be times when anybody of any age is going to need support. Certainly as we age, and I am an older person, those times are likely to be more frequent. But older people also have a tremendous amount to contribute and can still continue to grow and develop as a person. That's what valuing older people does. It sees older people for what they bring positively to the life of the city.

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At the Heart

The pleasure of the 7.42am East Midlands train service to Nottingham this morning. I'm off to a meeting of Core City leaders, the first meeting for over a year, and half of the eight leaders have changed since I last attended.

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A Growing Problem

The day starts with the quarterly Manchester Partnership Board which has a very full agenda. The first main item, once the usual apologies, minutes and matters arising are out of the way, is a report from the Director of Public Health on childhood obesity.

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With a Little Help

Spend an hour with John Thornhill this morning, the new Chief Executive of the Manchester College. Although John only took up post last week, I've already met him a couple of times in passing but this is the first proper sit down. Education and skills are one of Manchester's top priorities, if not the top priority, both for growing the economy but also for individuals to successfully participate in the economy. Manchester College is by some way our biggest provider of post-16 education and training and so are a vital partner in continuing to create the city we aspire to. It is a very positive meeting, and I'm sure we will be able to maintain the positive partnership we had with the college under his predecessor Peter Tavernor.

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On Foot to Football

Although yesterday was the last day of the Labour Party conference I was largely engaged with other, very contrasting things. First thing I had a walk-about in Crumpsall with Harry and Jane Johnson who are, amongst other things, private sector landlords, but are the sort of landlords who would if replicated many times over give the sector a good name. Their properties have been refurbished to a high-standard, they are well-maintained, and they care about the area in general. I wish a few more Crumpsall landlords would follow their example.

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Passing the Time

Only the most unobservant citizen will have failed to notice that the Labour Party's Annual Conference is currently in town. I've rehearsed the economic arguments as to why bringing major conferences such as this to the city is good news several times before so won't do so again here, although I might do next year when the Conservatives return to Manchester Central. The last four days have been very busy for me, squashing everyday business into the gaps around a series of fringe meetings, roundtable meetings, and side meetings.

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