A typically varied day yesterday. First meeting was to be taken through files itemising 590 different Council buildings ranging from the Town Hall to park huts. One of the ways we are looking to protect front line services is by minimising building costs and this work has identified how we can save £3.5m by rationalising building use. It also starts to look at what we can do to ensure we don't have empty, boarded up buildings blighting local neighbourhoods.
Then I go to the Manchester International Festival launch at MoSI. One of our budget objectives is to maintain economic growth in the city and the MIF is a flagship element in that. For every pound the Council puts in it generates at least two, and the economic value is more than six times the total cost. In a global economy it presents to the world a picture of a modern and inventive city. It's also a great programme with around a third of the events free, so it's also a chance to have some fun.
The day stays on an economic theme with a meeting between the Shadow LEP ( local enterprise partnership which loses its shadow from April 1st ) and Minister of State in BIS, Mark Prisk. It's a positive meeting where the Manchester partners set out what we believe government can do to help us promote sustainable growth in the Manchester city-region.
Then it's off to Belthorne Avenue Childrens Centre to meet parents and discuss the changes we are making to Sure Start as a result of government cuts, particularly cuts to the Early Intervention Grant which funds Sure Start amongst other things. It's a lively meeting and I take away a number of things to do ( which I have done ). There is an obvious connection between Sure Start and early years work with the economic development agenda. The latter is about making sure that our young people have a future they can look forward to, the former is about ensuring that they have the best start in preparing for that future.