Manchester City Council

Ta Duck(s)

A conversation yesterday about the Stoke bye-election was the prompt for today's heading, taking me back to my Kirkby-in-Ashfield roots, but I do need to say thank you - to Ruth and Lesley in the Council's Customer Services Centre for giving me a tour of the facility this morning. As this was preceded by an opening session speaking slot at the Northern Powerhouse Conference (not on an all male panel I hasten to add) at Manchester Central and followed by welcoming the Japanese Ambassador to a Japan-Manchester Business lunch in Central Library, it was definitely a morning of contrasts!

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Drowning in Paper

Nowadays as likely to be drowning in PDFs and Word files as real paper but the effect is the same.

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Flying High

I should mention the Council's Executive Committtee meeting which took place on Wednesday. The most significant item on the agenda was a suite of reports that allowed the Executive to finalise its recommendations to Council on the 2017-20 revenue Budget, the bit that pays for services, the Capital Budget including the £100million extra investment in roads and pavements, and the Housing Revenue Account, a ring-fenced budget covering Council housing.

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We've all been there. Home delivery, no specified time slot, and a day of waiting. Has given me a chance to catch up with some paperwork though that's just set me thinking about what we call paperwork when most of it is no longer on paper.

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Sex and the City 

Thursday 26th January, 2017 Full Council yesterday. As always, all the papers are available online and you can watch any of the discussions on catch-up. One of the big decisions related to the Council Tax Support Scheme (CTSS). When this used to be Council Tax Benefit, some people on very low incomes would receive a 100% rebate on their Council Tax, the benefit tapering down as income increased. The scheme was funded through national taxation and was in effect a redistribution from richer areas to poorer ones.

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Who Cares?

Writing ( actually typing with one finger ) this on Thursday evening so will probably be Friday by the time it gets posted. Had a series of meetings in London today starting with a presentation to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Patient and Public Involvement in Health and Social Care, giving evidence on Greater Manchester's devolution deal. Since work got underway on this in 2015 public engagement and awareness has increased significantly, but given the Our Manchester ambition to involve service users in service design, we still have a way to go. ( I ought to perhaps caveat that a little as we are unlikely to be getting heart attack patients for example to design by-pass surgery ).

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Cathy and Cardboard

I said I would return to the Council's draft budget and homelessness later in the week and this is it. It comes on the back of a visit to the Royal Exchange studio theatre last night to see Cardboard Citizens perform their play Cathy and to take part in the discussion that followed. The play itself was excellent in script, production and performance and I would highly recommend it except the remaining performances are already sold out. There is however a live streamed performance coming up and I will see if I can add the link for it.

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F for Future

The Executive met today to, amongst other, things approve our draft budget proposals for 2017-20. I have already blogged about these and they are available in full on the Council's website so I'm not proposing to say anymore on them at this point other than to give a reminder that these proposals are still subject to consultation and we would welcome feedback on them. There is one specific aspect I will try and pick up on later in the week but in the meantime I want to go back to Monday.

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Happy New Year?

Welcome to the first post of 2017 and yes, Happy New Year!. The first working day back started with an 8am Executive Members group budget meeting, making the final adjustments to our draft budget, the papers for which will be published later this afternoon. I covered the very disappointing provisional financial settlement from national government two posts ago so won't repeat that here. Today is how we plan to make the best we can of the poor hand we have been dealt.

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Although I don't finish for Christmas until Thursday this is likely to be the last blog of the year so I do want to wish everybody Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Having said that, it will be a very sombre post as we reflect on yesterday's tragic events in Berlin. Our first reaction is always our sympathy for the victims, and for the families and friends of the deceased. We see ourselves in their city and our hearts go out to the whole of the city of Berlin. And we think about who is responsible for this indiscriminate slaughter and why?

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The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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