Industrial Action

The 99 funds which make up the The Local Government Pension Scheme, of which Manchester is a member, are together the biggest pension scheme in the country, holding more than £120 billion in assets on behalf of its four million members. The LGPS provides salary-related, defined benefits, which are not dependent upon investment performance. As it is a statutory funded pension scheme, it is a secure pension arrangement. Currently, the LGPS income from investments and contributions is between £4-5 billion more than it pays out. As a major shareholder in British businesses, property and regeneration, the LGPS is a secure and sustainable scheme, with enduring viability.

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Fast Work

Probably the shortest 'ordinary' meeting ever of the Council's Executive Committee this morning. Last time's bumper agenda was followed by an exceedingly thin one, though it still contained some significant items like £10m added to the capital programme to make some inroads in to the demand for additional primary school places.

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200 and Still Running

It's the press launch of next year's 10th Great Manchester Run this morning. Between the first run in 2003 and next years event it will have quadrupled in size with forty thousand people taking part in the main 10k run. It's also grown in scope with a number of junior runs and the world's best sprinters hurtling down Deansgate on the track that will appear for the fourth time next year.

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Climb Every Mountain

The day starts just round the corner from home at Carmel Court. This is sheltered accommodation provided by Manchester Jewish Housing Association, but they are planning to move to another site, still in Crumpsall. I'm there to meet the prospective purchasers of the Holland Road site and to find out what they intend to do with it. Then it's on my bike and a rather breezy ride into the Town Hall. Is it my imagination or is it a lot windier than it used to be.

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If I hadn't already declared my hand last week, I might have called this 11111111 but then my pedantic friend in France would probably want to change it to 1100111111 or something equally incomprehensible. It will be a hundred years before we have a repeat so for most of us it will be the only 11111111 in our lifetime so I hope it was memorable for you.

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Health and Happiness

The second meeting of the shadow Health and Well-being board this morning. It brings together the Council, GPs, Health Trusts and NHS Manchester with the task of working together to improve the health and well-being of Manchester residents. The first task is to decide a collective view of what we mean by health and well-being - a harder task than it might seem, especially as we move away from clinical definitions of good and bad health. Once we've agreed our definitions and what we aspire to for the health of our city, we then need a baseline measurement of how Manchester people fair against that aspiration, and then a strategy for how we bridge the inevitable gap between aspiration and current reality. It's a good discussion tempered by a colleague pointing out the obvious, that we're all going to die and it won't necessarily be a health episode.

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Keeping Cool

A bit difficult in the Town Hall at the moment. Heating in the old Town Hall is either on or off, takes a week to fully switch on, and equally takes a week to fully switch off. It's currently on on the basis of a long range weather forecast that said we were going to have an extreme cold spell in October and of course exactly the opposite has happened leading to every window in the place being wide open in an attempt to keep the temperature down. Not very environmentally sustainable and not very pleasant to be in, so one of our many tasks will be to see how we can retrofit a more efficient heating system given the constraints of a Grade 1 listed building.

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Which is not some weird exercise in binary code but will be followed up next week with 111111. As I think I've written before, the hardest thing about writing the blog is thinking up the headings, as I am now clearly demonstrating. Talking of weirdness, my appearance on American breakfast radio yesterday live from Salford Quays was decidedly unusual and never thought I would get quite so much attention for using the word " shed ".

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