After almost half a century working for the City Council, Chief Executive Sir Howard Bernstein retires from the Council at the end of the month. Tonight the Council will be saying a formal thank you at a dinner in the Town Hall, a thank you to someone who has contributed so much to the renaissance of the city he was born and brought up in and has worked for all his working life. However, he's not actually retiring, just from the Council, and Manchester will benefit from his talents for many years to come, I'm delighted to say.
I was speaking this afternoon at the launch of the RSA Inclusive Growth Commission's final report, Making our Economy Work for Everyone. This is an important piece of independent work compiled over a year of hearings and evidence gathering and makes a powerful case for a new approach to economic growth. Alongside the traditional measures of GVA and GVA per head we need new metrics of good growth, measuring what it means to people on the ground. We need to scrap the false divide between economic and social policy and create place-based interventions that not only support growth but ensure everybody has the chance to benefit.
A big thanks to our Trading Standards team for hosting me for a couple of hours yesterday afternoon. Growing out of what used to be ( and still is ) Weights and Measures, their responsibilities now include animal safety including pet shop licensing and animals brought in via Manchester Airport, counterfeit goods, product safety, fair trading( misdescription ), underage sales, fireworks sales, doorstep crime as well as working with national agencies on postal scams and e-crime.
After an hour in the office looking at some of the things they have to deal with, we went out to Strangeways, where electricity and gas operatives were busy disconnecting dozens of businesses illegally hooked up to power supplies, to see where the Council had used its freeholds to drive out many of the counterfeit goods businesses. Great team of people and a real eye opener for me.