Manchester City Council

What Planet?

Yesterday was our 8-weekly meeting of the full Council. Any observer with the misfortune to be sitting in would have spent a couple of hours blissfully unaware of the global economic crisis or would have assumed that Manchester was somehow immune from it as we meandered through a number of remarkably parochial debates. Fortunately away from the excitement of the Council Chamber the Council isn't ignoring the gathering economic gloom and on Tuesday we had a regular meeting of our version of an economic emergency committee, and yesterday another group met focussing particularly on the housing market's woes.

As the world's leaders haven't got answers to what's going on, not surprisingly nor do we. But we are working hard to try and ensure we have as near as possible real time information about what is happening locally, and if we are able, to intervene to do it as quickly as possible (One thing that undoubtedly would help us ride the recession is a successful Transport Innovation Fund bid not least because of the enormous number of construction and ongoing permanent jobs it would create.)

There might not appear to be an obvious connection to the Manchester International Festival and the meltdown of the world's banking system but MIF is a key part of the city's survival and growth strategy. Today three of the events in next year's programme are announced, all newly commissioned work, the hallmark of the Festival, and all showing Manchester at the creative cutting edge - somewhere to be if you want to buck trends and get things done. We are probably a bit short of the things to look forward to so if you want some grounds for optimism go to the festival website at

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

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