Manchester City Council

Choices

Although in some respects, lack of choices, and most definitely impossible choices. There is barely a day goes past when I don't get a letter or e-mail, see something on Twitter, read something in the press asking why, in the current economic climate, the City Council is spending money on A, B, or C rather than whatever it is the person concerned wants us to spend it on. It's a fair question.

One of the answers, and a true answer too, is that we simply don't have enough money to do everything people want us to. Favourite targets are economic development projects, particularly in the city centre, many of which are at least in part paid for from sources other than the Council's own budget.

An example from earlier in the week is the pedestrianisation of Victoria Street, which for those of you who don't know is the bit of road in front of the Cathedral. Albert's Shed, a bit of listed quayside on the Irwell has come up recently, and the MTV crashes TV programme is a regular. The answer to why we spend money on any of them is JOBS.

The City Council has established very clear principles to underpin what has been our most difficult budget in living memory. We have to do all we can to look after the most vulnerable within our society. We have to do what we can to prevent more people falling into this category and the sort of work we are doing with ' troubled' families, with integrating health and social care, with early years, on reforming justice, on tackling worklessness, on early intervention and in general public service reform is all about this - promoting independence, reducing dependency. But if we are going to do any of this we need to continue to create jobs, and that means we have to continue to invest in things that support job creation in Manchester.

We live in a global economy so our global profile is vital. We need to ensure strategic sites are used in the most effective way possible. We have to look like an international city. There are by far more jobs in the City Centre than anywhere else, and it is the place with the biggest potential for more jobs. There is obviously a balance to be struck with the other demands on the Council's Budget, but we do need to continue to invest in our economic infrastructure. The alternative would be the sort of decline we last saw in the nineteen eighties - the depopulation of neighbourhoods, the consequent reduction in local amenities, and a cycle of decline that would put even more pressure on already overstretched Council services.

These are difficult choices, but if we choose not to invest in the future of the city, the city will have no future.

There are 11 responses to “Choices”

  1. mightbetrue Says:

    much of what you say might be true, but the MTV Crashes Manchester expenditure is a disgrace, a complete waste, i you cannto see that then you should seriously consider why. It is obscene to spend the money on that against not spending n cleaning the streets as they are absolutely disgusting at the moment. Art and culture is important but what is the point if it so filthy in Manchester

  2. Jake Says:

    Must be Manchester International Festival time again. My Dad's Lunch Club closes next week.

  3. Anon Says:

    Talking about jobs, we have had some awful news today with the decision of AstraZeneca move their R&D base from Alderley Park to Cambridge. This employer might sit just outside Manchester but they have their roots in Blackley and are an important part of the wider city economy. There have been straws in wind about this for some time. What action did the AGMA and their associates take to prevent this happening? How hard did the city work to build bridges to this important employer and develop a supportive infrastructure around them? What strategic investments might have prevented this from happening? I hope it was not a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’. As the city is attempting to capitalise on its pedigree in science and innovation (somewhat belatedly it must be said) and project this message to the world, this news seriously undermines that strategy. A dispiriting day indeed.

  4. silenced Says:

    provided a moderate reponse to the above but was not put up. You cannot disagree with Sir Leese is rule number 1

  5. Puzzled Says:

    Surely the City Centre can take care of its self and the council should concentrate on the deprived arears that visitors do not see?

    How many jobs will the International Festival create? They are asking for volunteers on their website. More people will visit the city because of the Robbie Williams gigs but he isnt getting any public subsidy.

  6. to Anon Says:

    surely a Cheshire East issue on the main (in respect of action needed), hopefully in this case having the Chancellor as MP MAY help..

  7. Anon Says:

    In response to Anon2, not at all. Economies do not respect local authority boundaries. By way of example, AZ are quoted in the press as having links to the Christie and Manchester University. They will have a supply chain that spreads far and wide and trade with many small and medium firms right across the region. People who work at AZ spend their money in that same broad economic area too. Given the scale and significance of this employer for the Manchester economy, it is arguably more an issue for Greater Manchester than it is for Cheshire East. I can’t help but feel Manchester University are culpable too. The university originally expanded through forging strong links with local industry. In many of their press releases you read about how they are working with industry partners but few of these firms seem to be based in the city. You wonder how strong and productive their relationship with AZ actually was.

  8. Anon Says:

    Maybe if the city had spent the 00s promoting its scientific credentials rather than trying to woo financial firms to set up here we would be in an altogether better place today.

  9. Anon Says:

    The Chamber of Commerce and the city's various professional bodies have some questions to answer over AstraZeneca as well. There appears to be a serious lack of co-ordination all round. All we see are ephemeral property developer led 'visions'. Where's the economic development to underpin them?

  10. Alicia Sneeze Says:

    Sorry, how many jobs were created as a result of the Alicia Keys jambouree? Come on, dear leader, we aren't daft. Why can't you just admit you got that one wrong!

    As others have said, it undermines the rest of what you're saying, which I for one agree with. Don't panic though, I'll still be voting Labour.

  11. Calypso Says:

    Sir Richard, there are many comments on this and other posts regarding the Council's expenditure on MTV/Alicia Keys concert. You have failed to adequately justify the decision to spend resources on this and cut other areas. Simply writing JOBS in capital letters does not answer these legitimate points (in fact it reminds me of Thatcher's 'just rejoice' response to journalists). Perhaps the blog is not the place to fully respond, (though I see you don't mind going into detail when in suits you), however, I think a full response should be given to those of us who contribute to the Council's budget through taxes, business rates and Council Tax. A response that should be backed up with hard evidence of the benefits this expenditure has brought, including the number of JOBS created.

 

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The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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