Or Downtown Manchester to be precise. Started the day at RBS's Deansgate offices this morning, not to protest at their Chief Executive's bonus though I'm very firmly in the camp that nobody actually " earns " that much, but to speak at a business breakfast organised by Downtown Manchester to launch their business survey. Passed on breakfast again as I'd long since had my daily porridge and honey, but was happy to support an event and an organisation that has a slightly left field approach to engaging with business. Also, for absence of doubt, happy to support RBS as one of the biggest employers in the city.
Much of the rest of the day is taken up with the series of meetings ( Labour Leaders, Informal Leaders, GMCA, AGMA Executive ) that constitute the last Friday of the month roadshow formerly known simply as AGMA. Some big items on the agenda today - Transport for Greater Manchester's budget and consequent levy, the Waste Disposal Authority's levy, and the Fire and Police precepts. Not going to explain the difference between levies and precepts here but perhaps a friendly local government accountant might do that in a comment. We agreed the AGMA and Combined Authority budgets for next year at cash stand still, we received a report on the government's dispersal of asylum seekers contract for the region, and a confidential report on grants to Arts, Cultural, and other organisations which will now be reported back to the organisations concerned before being re-discussed with the outcomes made public in a couple of weeks.
There was a very good item on Youth Employment where John Merry, the Leader of Salford, has led the putting together of a really good scheme, combining local money and national money for an enhanced programme to tackle youth unemployment. John was not surprisingly a little pre-occupied with events yesterday in Salford, where their mayoral referendum returned a 3:2 yes vote on an appalling low turnout. Is it right that a place's system of local government should be changed with only 10% of the electorate voting in favour?