A wretched comment on the last post from Scrooge's mate Bob, referring to most people being back in work on January 3rd. For the record I didn't come back into the office until January 4th, though with the wonders of modern technology much of my " paper " work can now be done from pretty much anywhere in the world. However the requirements of public service meant that many Council staff were working throughout the Christmas and New Year period including on Christmas Day, and the same is true for many other parts of the public sector.I don't think there is any thing like enough appreciation of the commitment of many of our staff, and I'd like to say thank you to all of our staff working when the rest of us were enjoying our Christmas pud.
Spent Wednesday morning at the Economy, Employment and Skills Overview and Scrutiny Committee who held their meeting at the CIS building. Got to the building dead on the dot of ten, the starting time for the meeting, but still managed to be around ten minutes late on account of lifts that made the prospect of walking up to the twenty fourth floor an increasingly attractive prospect. There were interesting reports from from the Economic Commission on the Greater Manchester Economic Forecasting Model, and from Marketing Manchester, but undoubtedly the highlight was a presentation looking at a vast array of activity taking place in the city aimed at boosting jobs and getting Manchester people into jobs.
Just one of a number of major projects referred to in the presentation was the Airport City Enterprise Zone. I'm always a little wary of mentioning the Airport here, as it does tend to rouse my antipodean friend to make comments that have nothing to do with the post. I'll take that risk today as yesterday we saw the formal launch of the EZ by the person I introduced as the MP for the Southern tip of Runway 2, though he's now slightly better known as the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Airport City seeks to replicate the success of similar projects elsewhere in the world by attracting new companies to Manchester where proximity to an international transport hub is important, and to develop and grow Manchester businesses trading internationally who would benefit from being close to the airport. There will be some niche elements, not least the Medipark adjacent to Wythenshawe Hospital. The key element though is about growing business and growing jobs, not simply, as the old-style enterprise zones were rightly criticised for, businesses moving jobs around to benefit from the tax breaks but without adding anything extra to the economy. Airport City has good prospects for making rapid progress, and growth in business rates in the enterprise zone will be retained and re-invested for at least twenty five years in the whole of the Greater Manchester economy.