Manchester City Council

Planning Ahead

Whilst the national budget is busy grabbing all the headlines I'm locked away in a basement on Portland Street along with the rest of my Executive and the Council's Strategic Management team working on our budget - for 2010 !

The Chancellor's statement is reasonably OK for local government for the next financial year but everybody is expecting a few very hard years whoever wins the next general election and if we want to continue delivering our policies and priorities, doing those things our citizens say are important, and ensuring Manchester is well placed for the economic upturn which will inevitably come at some point, we need to be ahead of the game.

The day concentrates on how we can further improve our business planning processes to, in short, do more with less. It's a constructive few hours and we'll meet again in June to begin budget modelling but we won't really see the benefits until next February when we present our three year budget proposals for 2010-2013 but I'm convinced that with good planning and early decision-making we can get Manchester back on a growth trajectory and do even more to make sure Manchester people benefit from that growth.

Hidden away in Alistair Darling's budget is one thing that might help us in this. We've been arguing for far greater devolution to the local level of the powers and resources needed to drive the economy and it does seem that the Chancellor has been listening. The budget contained an announcement that Manchester will be one of two pilot city-regions, and the small print indicates that the Chancellor himself will oversee the work, work which will be done very rapidly, to ensure that here in Greater Manchester we do have the right levers for economic growth and local benefit. It's a great opportunity for us, which we must firmly grasp.

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

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