Manchester City Council

What are we made of...

Association of Greater Manchester Authorities Executive this morning and a decision on the proposal I put a month ago for a county wide referendum on our proposals to improve transport in the city-region including of course the introduction of a congestion charge in 2013. I'm delighted that all ten leaders agree to the referendum, to be counted by district, and the final decision on whether to proceed requiring the support of at least seven of the Greater Manchester Councils.

This is a chance for the people of Greater Manchester to decide whether we want to continue developing as a major international city, a city ahead of the pack, or whether we want to slide back to where we were twenty years ago. This vote will be all or nothing and we will probably never get another chance to give this city a world-class transport system. I think the people of this city have the vision and the courage to grasp the opportunity with both hands.

There are 13 responses to “What are we made of...”

  1. sarah gibson Says:

    Sorry - but I don't think the people of Manchester have the vision to support the delivery of a 21st Century transport system. The result of a referenduum will be highjacked by the 'no conjestion' charge lobby, which will no doubt be led by the likes of Peel Devt. etc. I am extremely annoyed and sorry, that the Council's of greater Manchester do not have the leadership to make the necessary decisions. Perhaps I should move to London????

  2. John Says:

    A rare case of the council listening to the people. Don't let it go to your heads.

  3. David T Says:

    Any referendum must be fair. I've recently received an invitation to answer questions on the TIF proposals in the consultation process. The questions are dangerously slanted to form opinion rather than guage opinion.

    In business, we must guage opinion of our customers before making a decision. To perform market research in trying to lead the respondent to give the answer you want is very dangerous and leads to the wrong decision being made.

    Of course, in business, it's the business owner who pays for mistakes, If TIF goes ahead it's the taxpayer who bails out the ultimate decision maker. The taxpayer should be given hte facts in a fair manner to indicate their intention and not led by misleading propaganda. Our taxpayers money is more precious than certain individuals egos (and for that matter well paid cushy seats on various comittees)

  4. David T Says:

    Sarah Gibson, those who are against the proposals are not simply led by the likes of Peel devt (I had to find out who they are). We're simply concerned at the impact of the plans and do not want to see the economic ruin of the region. Pushing the cost of employment in the region is a very risky thing to do to business and it's employees. It's easy for public sector types to assume that everybody has a job for life but that is not the case. Business must compete in a world market and it's already difficult, putting cost onto business and the working man is not the way forward.

  5. Steve Says:

    Finally a referendum; not only can this proposal get put to a vote, but a lot more information about it can hopefully be released so that people know fully what they are voting on.

  6. Devils Advocate Says:

    Sarah I am both annoyed and appaled by your suggestion that the people of Manchester don't have any "vision" as you put it. In my experience Manchester has, and has had in the past many highly informed and intelligent people residing in the city. A referendum is the only way the government will hear the voice of Mancunians on the congestion charge. This is called democracy. If you think the ten councils should ignore the wishes of the Manchester people then perhaps moving to London as you put it is a viable option. They already have a congestion charge that shold fulfill your need to pour your hard earned into a bottomless pit. A referendum on the Manchester congestion charge wil serve two purposes. 1. It will show what the people of this great city really want and 2. Show if the powers that be "have the leadership" to listen and act on the peoples wishes

  7. Amanda Says:

    Whilst I am broadly in favour of a congestion charge I think there are a lot of unanswered questions. Firstly, I would like to see a breakdown of the economics of this proposal, where will the money to implement this scheme come from; Manchester council? If so, that money would seemingly have to be taken from another department - as I think its unlikely we have millions just waiting to be spent - if so where, and how will those departments be compensated. If Manchester council isn’t going to foot the bill the next obvious option would be national government or a private company – both would involve some form of loan, being on the verge of recession and all, the government will not be providing this money off their own backs – which also raises the point of how much ‘vision’ the government have considering they are not willing to pay for it. I would also like to see where all the money that is taken from this charge is going to go – I would expect the majority of it to go on improving public transport, yet irreverent of what Sir Richard says I very much doubt all of it will go on Public Transport. No doubt some Chief Executive in the Private Sector will benefit hugely from this.

    In addition to my questions I have recently noted that the 24 bus service, running from Rochdale to Manchester, has dramatically decreased its timetable. When I spoke to First Bus regarding this they said it was due to recent cost cutting and indicated that the referendum on this charge would have very little bearing on the matter. I have also been informed that the 58 bus service, running from Rochdale to the Trafford Centre, has stopped running altogether during the week.
    Now, if the referendum is going to have little bearing on these matters then I’m unsure what I am voting for? And if this has been done deliberately, which I suspect it has, and I will no doubt soon be promised that the buses will go back to normal once I’ve voted in favour, then this smacks of playing politics with the electorate and almost bribing them to vote the way you want, which I find appalling.

    I think the response to this issue demonstrates that those in and around Manchester actually have an awful lot of vision and that we are unprepared to simply be told what to do, particularly by the hypocrites in the Town hall after the underground car park fiasco.

  8. Future Transport Says:

    Amanda, MCC do not have to put up any money to implement the scheme. In case it’s slipped your attention the government are giving us £3billion! Yes we have to borrow some of it on the condition we implement and run a peak-time only road pricing scheme. If you have not received your information pack from GMPTE then please read the FACTS at There is becoming far less of a case for anyone trying to claim that the facts are being withheld.
    When the time comes to vote please try not to vote selfishly. Not everyone will get what they want out of this. Certain habits/preferences may need to change. The great majority of GM residents/workers will benefit from these proposals tremendously. Reliable public transport WILL be a viable option for many many more people than at present. This can only be a good thing!

  9. i love jack russels Says:

    I also am someone broadly in favour of the congestion charge but who is increasingly concerned as questions are posed as to how it will operate, which areas will benefit most, etc, etc. So as of now, I've moved from being in favour to not sure how I'll vote in the referendum. I think it would be good if the TIF people/Council/GMPTEand all involved were to set up an interactive questions and answers website. This would only work if ALL questions were answered - no cherry picking the ones that have optimistic happy land answers. But given the comments, queries, etc coming up on this and other blogs, press, etc - I do think a forum would be in order.

  10. Dave Cheetham Says:

    Future Transport, Manchester is not given £3bn, it is borrowing billions. Not only that, the remaining gift as you put it comes from our taxpayers money anyway! Ive read the facts (as you put it) in the propaganda and having passed basic mathematics I’ve realised that to cover the interest charges alone for this loan, the CONngestion charge needs to get far far more cars into the charging zones than we currently have on the roads of Manchester. So to get funding to reduce congestion, the TIF people need more cars???? On the basis that the trend over the last 7 years is that traffic is reducing, this seems a very stupid strategy. Add to that, given a CONgestion charge, business in the zone will move out or go bust, I’d anticipate that traffic levels sill fall dramatically after a congestion charge and as such revenues will fail to meet forecasts. This will leave the TIF people short of cash and council tax will go up to make up the shortfall.

    So the proposals are likely to cause a huge economic slowdown, unemployment and those who are still in a job are going to pay more tax as well as a fee to do something every other major city-dweller can do for free. Great plan!!!!

  11. Dan Says:

    Future Transport - Yes we have to borrow some of it" ??? How can you be so blase about a £1.2 billion (or 40%) loan. Also, the set up costs of this project have been estimated at £300m, not including maintenance costs. I believe the previous quesiotn referred to this. As for the facts not being witheld, I assume you are not being serious? Just in case you are, please can you let me know how the loan will be repaid as the current figures being bandied about just don't add up. There is a reliance on an increase in congestion to pay back the loan. As soon as I see accurate and independent repayment figures (not through guesswork or heavily biased pamphlets please) I will review my position. Until that day the future of my City is too important to be mortgaged on other people's,(all with hidden agendas such as job security, safe seat etc) say so.

  12. Stephen Says:

    Sir Richard, I am a born and bred Manchester lad, though I have moved to Rossendale, I still work in the City. Not particularly opposed to the congestion charge but I am one of the cases that will be worse off because of it. The transport between Mcr is expensive and poor quality now and despite my feelings that it will improve in Greater Manchester, crossing counties will remain hard. I have enjoyed your blog entries but you don't seem to tackle the issue of transport pricing and it strikes me that this is a core consideration. Are we discouraging people from outside of the City from contributing to the economy by blocking them out inadvertantly? Also, once the £3b is paid back - what happens then? I must also echo the comment about a strange change in timetabling where buses seem to be withdrawing services at peak times - for instance the 471. Is this being done to show us how bad public transport is now?

    By way of context I pay £85 a month to get to and from work on public transport using a county saver and given I sometimes leave work after 6.30pm this offers me no value at all as all the service shut down after 6pm.

    I know you can't talk for Rossendale but given your position I feel you may be able to offer a little insight into this. I have written to Janet Anderson MP three or four times and she can't be bothered.

  13. Ivan Millington Says:

    I shall be voting against the congestion charge for the following reasons:
    There is no projected tram link with Bolton (fast tracking of buses is not a an acceptable substitute) Therefore Bolton along with many other towns are to be second class!!
    2. No allowance made for those of us who are essential patients who travel 3 times per week at peak times to MRI for critical medical procedures which unfortunately cannot ne carried out at local hospitals.



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