Manchester City Council

A turn of the wheel

I am looking forward to my second trip to Salford this week. Yesterday was Central Salford Urban Regeneration Company's Board meeting but I expect today to be more enjoyable, a working lunch (don't worry, you haven't slipped into Manchester Confidential by mistake) with John Merry, the leader of Salford Council. Later on, and I hope the weather holds, both of us will be slipping off to Old Trafford for the 20-20 international, but the working day did begin at 7.20am with another appearance on Radio Manchester, this time on the theme of courts, casinos and East Manchester. My cue to take us back into May.

The 29th May to be precise when, along with Deputy Leaders Jim Battle and Val Stevens, I spent an hour at 10 Downing Street discussing how we could bring jobs to East Manchester now the Regional Casino proposal has been scrapped.

I announced earlier this week that the City Council would not be taking legal action against the government over the casino. Why and why now? A couple of weeks ago Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Andy Burnham, signed the order allowing sixteen towns the right to issue licenses for eight large and eight small casinos. Once the order was signed the longer we delayed legal action the less chance of success and that's why now. As to why, what would a successful legal action achieve? It would stop the sixteen other casinos going ahead but would not force the government to let us go ahead with our casino. The only work it would create would be for lawyers. Gordon Brown, even amongst all his very public current trials and tribulations, gave time to East Manchester, was very thoroughly briefed and knew about all the job-creating projects we are developing. He committed himself to accelerating progress, and offered us an open door if we think things aren't moving along well enough. The choice was between confrontational legal action, which even if successful may have delivered nothing against working co-operatively on wide-ranging regeneration proposals with the support of a Prime Minister who does understand the need for jobs in East Manchester. What other part of the country has a working group of eight cabinet ministers meeting to work out how we can get those jobs in at least the same numbers as the casino would have delivered.

There are 2 responses to “A turn of the wheel”

  1. No No Casi-No Says:

    I'm very glad to hear that we are not taking legal action over the super casino. It would give the impression that we are very bitter and that we are throwing our toys out of the pram. It would also give the impression that we actually wanted the casino in the first place.
    Yes- lets bring vital jobs to East Manchester. But lets do it with with an industry that isn't full of blood-suckers. The only beneficiaries would have been multi-millionaire developers taking money from an already vulnerable comunity. Yes tourists would have come but at what cost to the local population who this casino was supposed to have helped?
    I commend your decision not to take action and i hope we can now draw a line under this whole sorry affair.

  2. I love jack russells Says:

    I too am glad that we are not taking legal action over something that we didn't expect to win and (for a lot of us) really didn't want. What benefit would a seedy warehouse full of slot machines staffed by part-time minimum-wage and no hope jobs have bought to East Mcr ? Increase leisure facilities for the residents who would be too poor to use it given their low-paid jobs at the casino ? Also, I would like to know where I can obtain a magic box of numbers - you know like the one that Mcr cllrs use when they are talking about £X number of jobs or £X amount of income that will result from various spurious events, buildings, etc ?



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

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