Manchester City Council

Crisis! What crisis?

Spent Monday afternoon and most of yesterday in Liverpool at the Core Cities Summit (www.corecities.com). Monday afternoon was a seminar involving city leaders and senior figures from partner organisations debating what we should be seeking from government of whatever party after next year's general election and what we should be asking the political parties to commit themselves to prior.

Some good discussion and some strong themes particularly the need for faster and deeper devolution coupled to local authorities having far greater financial freedom. Discussions continued over dinner at St.George's Hall. What a fantastic building that is!

Tuesday brought more participants and kicked off with a film and presentation developed out of a Core Cities' Young Peoples Summit held in Nottingham earlier in the year. Lots of energy and lots of ideas. This was followed by a fascinating presentation by Will Hutton using current economic indicators and evidence from previous recessions to describe where the cities are economically and where we could be in ten years time. One snippet of information is that as the recession unwinds government debt will probably rise to about 85% of the value of the economy, but we shouldn't worry about that too much as national debt has only been lower than that for sixty out of the last two hundred and fifty years. It follows from this that although public expenditure will need to be constrained there is no case for severe constraints and indeed savage cuts would undoubtedly harm the recovery. The afternoon included a presentation from me on Employment and Skills. Very worthy and well received but I preferred the early morning show.

My day in Liverpool ended with a meeting between Core Cities Leaders and representatives from Cardiff, Edinburgh and Glasgow, to talk about the High Speed rail campaign but also wider co-operation between the cities, not that straight forward because of their relationship with the devolved administrations. Been speaking again this morning at a transport conference in Manchester about the Greater Manchester Transport Fund.

I've missed out the John Major joke that the days facilitator Jon Sopel opened proceedings with yesterday, but that will have to wait for another day as otherwise I will be late for my Executive agenda setting meeting.

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

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