Spend an hour with John Thornhill this morning, the new Chief Executive of the Manchester College. Although John only took up post last week, I've already met him a couple of times in passing but this is the first proper sit down. Education and skills are one of Manchester's top priorities, if not the top priority, both for growing the economy but also for individuals to successfully participate in the ecomomy. Manchester College is by some way our biggest provider of post-16 education and training and so are a vital partner in continuing to create the city we aspire to. It is a very positive meeting, and I'm sure we will be able to maintain the positive partnership we had with the college under his predecessor Peter Tavernor.
Later in the morning Rosa Battle, the Executive Member for Culture and Leisure, and I meet with Gorton MP Gerald Kaufman and a representative of the Friends of Platt Fields. There has of course been some controversy around Platt Fields this year following the Parklife event which took place in the middle of our horrendously wet summer. We discuss that, the overall approach to events in the park, the condition of the park and particularly the problems with drainage plus a few more things. The Council really welcomes the contribution of Friends groups and it's good to find out that there is a high level of correlation between the Friends aspirations for the park and those of the Council.
The Local Enterprise Partnership Board meets this afternoon. Apart from the regular report on the performance of the Manchester economy much of the agenda focusses on the Manchester family of companies ( New Economy - what a dreadful name!, Marketting Manchester, MIDAS, and Manchester Solutions ) that support different aspects of our economic growth agenda. All have suffered cuts, largely because of the demise of the North West Development Agency and we have to continually explore how we can make our significantly more limited resources go further. What isn't a sensible option would be to not invest in an economic future for the city-region. In this age of not entirely necessary austerity, Councils have some very tough decisions to make. However, as well as supporting the most needy in our communites, as well has doing preventative work to reduce the number of people falling into the most needy category, we must also continue to invest in a better future otherwise the problems we currently face will just grow. And grow.