Had our four-weekly Executive Members meeting with senior officers today concentrating on where we are up to with the 2011-13 budget. The meeting would have been on Wednesday but was put back to today to avoid the Pensions strike which I talked about in the last post. A bonus of the deferred meeting has been its saved me from a trip to Liverpool or rather saved me from the trip back. The return journey would have been around tea time and on a Friday that would inevitably have meant cramming on to an overcrowded train with little chance of a seat even if I'd got one booked, an experience I've already had this morning with a ludicrously overcrowded tram from Crumpsall into town.
In this context there were at least a couple of bits of good news hidden in the Chancellors autumn statement - electrification of Manchester/Leeds plus more positive noises about the Northern Hub mean there is at least some prospect of reducing rail congestion in and around Manchester over the next 5/6 years. Pity about the rest of the statement though. Back to the Council's budget. It was a two year budget and it was a very, very, tough budget, but if we don't deliver it, then there will be even more problems in the future. Although we haven't eliminated every risk factor we are currently pretty much on ( a different sort of ) track which is at least not bad news.
A quick mention of yesterday evening. Went down to the University of Manchester Students' Union on Oxford Road to talk with a bunch of students about Manchester and the current political climate. Great to see young people engaging in serious discussion about the future and how we create a better one and being prepared to get involved. There is hope yet.