Manchester City Council

Fighting for Fairness

The Council Executive met today to agree its budget recommendations to the full Council. The recommendations now go to Scrutiny and with any proposed amendments are considered by Finance Scrutiny on February 25th. They then go for debate and decision at a special budget Council meeting on March 8th, but even then the process is not over. A number of the budget proposals are subject to separate consultations. The one on Leisure, a non-statutory consultation, concludes on March 8th and is considered by the Council Executive on April 10th. The other statutory consultations on various aspects of the Adult and Children's Care proposals and on Libraries conclude in April and will be considered by the Executive early in May.

One of the decisions of the Executive was to urge people to sign a petition that originated in Liverpool and essentially calls for a fair grant settlement. Local government generally is taking far more than its fair share of the cuts, and areas with significant poorer populations like Manchester ( and Liverpool ) are having to take an unfair share of the unfair share. Council officers calculate that if Manchester's cut was the same as the England average we would, by the end of the current comprehensive spending review period, ie 2014/15, be £55m per year better off. The cut in grant per resident for Manchester is almost twice the national average. I am strongly of the view that the cuts are too fast and too deep, but even with this level of cuts, Manchester would be in a far better position if they were fairly distributed.

The Executive received presentations from the Save Withington and Save Levenshulme baths campaigns. Withington had earlier put forward a community led proposal to keep the baths open until the planned replacement opens with a commitment to community fundraising underwritten by Cash grants and this proposal was endorsed by the Executive subject to the consultation referred to above. Levenshulme and Miles Platting are trying to develop similar proposals and the Executive agreed that officers would support those communities in trying to put their proposals together before final decisions are made in April.

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There are 16 responses to “Fighting for Fairness”

  1. Jeremy Hoad Says:

    Levenshulme residents are not trying to develop a similar proposal to Withington as the circumstances are very different as you are no doubt aware, Sir Richard.

    We are, however, delighted that the Council has agreed to work with us in partnership to find a way to protect our services by further developing the comprehensive proposals and ideas we have already submitted to both yourself and the Council's Executive Committee.

    We look forward to working closely with Council officers to have full, open disclosure of information to enable us to develop a proposal led by the community working with the Council to find a way that our facilities can remain open.

    We also stand ready to work in partnership with the Council to ensure that the replacement facilities proposed for 2015 are the best we can get and are very pleased at your commitment to investing in public services for Manchester residents, particularly in areas that face difficult challenges, deprivation and very different demographics to areas such as Withington.

  2. Fi Evans Says:

    Can we have a link to the petition mentioned above. Not sure i have seen this, never mind signed it.

  3. mr t metcalfe Says:

    can we not use our reserves to sofen blowswhat about joining ten councils with same powers as london also what happens when mr pickles and gov have to find add 64 billion black hole in finances with 1.2 million more public jobs to go im clad im taken e/ret from m/c council after 35 years all i have had is job evaluation lost 4 grand and pay freeze for last 6 years yours disgruntled soon to be ex council worker

  4. noredundancies Says:

    I see MCC Deputy LEader on page 19 of MEN has assured staff no compulsory redunandancies, were all saved then!?

  5. Mr MCC Says:

    Being that VER/VS has now ended and it is clear we have not met the quota required to meet the cuts what is in store for us loyal employees? If we are assured of no compulsory redundancies can we expect a pay cut as well as a pay freeze on top of cost of living freeze? Or is the threat of compulsory redundancies expected to help us swallow any changes yet to be made? I shall await the MEN to tell me what will become of my job as per...

  6. franky Says:

    Its a damn shame closing swimming pools. Kids need top swim to save themselves, and you can see them racing to the pool. Withington swimming pool is ver 100 years old and is a beautiful building which some developer will destroy. Well done councillors!!

  7. Ian Says:

    Since the Government has already stated that in the next round of Goverment Spending review in two years time that the Defence Budget will not be cut along with Education, NHS and International Development, that leaves only Local Authorities and the Welfae budget to take the cuts. What more cuts do we think Mr Pickles will make since he has a big downer on Manchester for some reason.

  8. concerned Says:

    how ridiculous that international development spending is frozen when everything else is reduced. I am not suggesting that we shouldn't spend on int dev (as being a democracy in the modern world should demand) but with cuts on everything to not reduce this slightly is ridiculous. Not sure how many more rounds of cuts a city like Manchester can take! (given that it has affected Mcr so disproportionately badly!). Mr Pickles does not like local government - thats why he is in charge of it-it seems.

  9. i love jack russels Says:

    Richard Leese is right when he says that it is an unfair share of an ufair share - can someone put the address for the petition on here ?. The government are supposed to be legally required to set and implement a funding formula for councils across the country that is fair and non-partisan. Since the coalition came in they have repeatedly cut large,mainly northern, always labour (so no impact on the tory/lib dem vote) cities at a drastically higher rate than any other areas, and this has been proved by an independent House of Commons report. Some, such as Cameron's consistency have actually had increases in funding.I would like to see the cities like Manchester and Liverpool that have been unfairly decimated lauch some sort of legal challenge to the government about this.

  10. i love jack russels Says:

    re: my blog above. That would be constituency, non consistency. Oops that's where typing in anger gets you.

  11. Fighting? Says:

    What fighting, you are doing the Tories dirty work for them. Why not use the council's reserve to try and protect jobs and services until, hopefully, a change of government?

    What happened to the 2000 who took VS last time, did they regret it? Bribing people to give up jobs in the middle of a recession.

    Fairness? Is Howard Bernsteins £200K job still safe?

  12. concerned Says:

    "fighting?" - sorry but you are misguided. The Council has to set a legal budget (it cannot legally ignore its now reduced operating costs!)and whilst there may be debate about which sections to cut; it has to cut services as with the new settlement it simply cannot afford it. The Chief Executive does a very good job and his salary reflects that, its always laughable when people harp on about this - would you prefer all people of that level to go off inmto the private sector where they could earn way more! Unfortunately the Council had to cut services/budgets and reduce staffing costs, no-one is happy about it and everyone is working hard (including the Chief Executive). This is coming from someone hardly high up the Council ladder. Its tough times and very tough decisions but people in MCC are working very hard to listen to communites and do the best they can.

  13. Verity Says:

    Re: 'concerned'. I agree that cutting the Chief Executive's salary would not make a difference to the budget problems. I wonder, however, where you think these private sector are for him to go? and what is the standard you are using to measure how good a job he is doing? I would also state that his salary, including pension etc, is comparable to the private sector.
    I would like to see some scrutiny of the top heavy, senior management level at MCC. It is a crowded structure at seniour level and some pruning would be in order, to allow vital local services to Manchester residents to continue.

  14. Fighting? Says:

    I know the cuts are not Howard Bernsteins or Richard Lease fault but both their names were on emails asking me to consider giving up my job in the middle of a recession. I'm sure Howard could get by on £150K and, thus, save 2 jobs. He is not going to leave a job for life with a final salary pension. Does he work 10 time harder than me? May'be Concerned would like him to get a pay rise?

  15. Ad Infinitum Says:

    Strangely enough pretty much exactly the amount of "reduction" in central funding predicted by the senior management at the council eventually came to pass...in that case-why all the thinly veiled threats of "we might have to go to compulsaries if we don't get enough volunteers"" and the usual rumours of endless,drawn out "service redseigns" at best...at worst being placed in an mpeople holding tank.....when the bigwigs and planners must have known EXACTLY the amount of staff reductions and the future implications and structure of services required beforehand?Why string it out for an already beleaguered,bemused workforce again,and make people go through a repeat of the stress and uncertainty of 2010/11 over the next few months?Why not at least give people the opportunity to see the potential "future plan" for services,before forcing them to decide whether to hold out and go through it all again...or take the blind leap of faith and take VS/VR?It's like playing the roulette wheel....my argument isn't that I don't acknowledge the unenviable postion that the council finds itself-just that surely there has to have been a fairer and better-informed way of informing staff of the alternatives?

  16. concerned Says:

    Verity - I hear what you are saying and agree with you on your second paragraph, I suppose I am tired more of the standard 'have a go at the CEX' salary' approach but fair points!
    'Fighting' - it isn't nice is it, basically being asked to leave all the time.. good luck to one and all