Manchester City Council

Stormy weather

Two government Ministers in the Town Hall today but as they are both Greater Manchester MPs as well I assume this is also a convenient staging point on their route back to their constituencies. First up is Environment Minister Phil Woolas who is helping us launch a Greater Manchester "mini-Stern" report looking at the economic impact of EU and UK Climate Change legislation on Manchester City Region and the North West (available at www.manchester-enterprises.com). One comment on an earlier blog entry suggested I was overly concerned with economic matters in comparison to social issues. It's true that money can't buy happiness but it's also true that you are a lot more likely to be happy if you can keep a decent roof over your head, have your home comfortably furnished, take the occasional holiday, have the occasional night out, i.e. all things that cost money. The council did some research a few years ago that showed that the biggest single determinant of the sustainability of a neighbourhood was its level of benefit dependency and that's why our biggest priority remains creating more and better jobs and giving Manchester people the aspiration and skills to do them. Obviously the necessity of tackling climate change is much more than an economic necessity but this report done by Deloittes suggests that not tackling climate change in Greater Manchester would cost the city-region economy £billions over the next decade.

I go straight from climate change to join Hazel Blears in tackling violent extremism. As well as an important speech from Hazel setting out what has been achieved and the measures Government will take in the future to protect our generally both diverse and cohesive society there are three other speakers, Siddiqua Ahmed, Fiyaz Mughol and Irfan Chishna, talking from the points of view of community, civic and faith leadership about the actions they have been taking to tackle this serious issue. Manchester is of course no stranger to terrorism, most notably twelve years ago with the IRA bomb. The nature and source of terrorism has changed with the biggest threats now coming from the far right or from people purporting to be acting in the name of Islam. All aim to replace the ballot box with the bullet and we do need to do all we can to make sure susceptible youngsters don't get drawn in to seeing violence as a means to achieving political objectives.

The Mini-Stern Report

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

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