Although I will be in the office tomorrow this will probably be the last post for this calendar year and not I'm afraid full of Christmas cheer. Councils up and down the country received their provisional grant settlement late yesterday afternoon. The Treasurer and his staff now have a big task to work through all the figures, both to check the accuracy of the data used in the grant formula and also to understand exactly what the financial impact is on the city's coffers. However the headlines are pretty clear. Manchester faces another enormous cut over the next two years. Yet again the most deprived areas face the biggest cuts whilst some more affluent areas including, according to the press, the local authority containing the Prime Minister's own constituency, actually appear to gain.
Yesterday also included the last Council Executive of the year. The agenda is as usual on the Council website and there was at least some cheer there. Draft masterplans for the Medipark and Wythenshawe Town Centre parts of the Airport City Enterprise Zone were on the agenda and there is real potential for serious job growth over the next few years. The Ordsall Chord, a key part of unlocking the Manchester, now Northern, Hub was also considered. The current solution here is not ideal, but that is partly a result of the difficulties in introducing major new infrastructure in the heart of a densely developed city. If the proposals can be refined that would be great but overall this proposal is of such importance to not just Manchester but the whole of the North it has to be supported. One final mention goes to a report taking us a bit further forward on how the Council, Manchester Schools, and other stakeholders work together to make sure our young people are ready for Christmas future. Recent reports show that results in our schools have continued to improve and are now pretty much on a par with neighbouring areas. That's good news but we can and must still improve further.