Manchester City Council

Hope ?

Some big things in Manchester last week not least the finalisation of the Transport Innovation Proposals that will be the subject of a referendum beginning later this month. This is a package. We can't cherry pick. It's either £3billion pounds of investment in public transport, investment on an unprecedented scale, partly funded by a peak-time, Monday to Friday, one-way only congestion charge... or nothing. And nothing means nothing for a long time. On Friday last I was regularly asked what is plan B. There is no plan B, but those urging you to vote No don't even have a plan A.

We also announced progress on Royal Opera House Manchester last week. There is still a long way to go on this but if we succeed we will have a globally unique facility, producing new opera and ballet here in Manchester, and also providing training in every aspect of the production, from conducting to costume, singing to set-making etc, etc. Hundreds of jobs and most, if not all, accessible to Manchester residents.

Of course all of this pales into insignificance compared to events in the USA today, where the choice of a new President will have enormous impact not just on the lives of Manchester residents, but people across the world. If the election was taking place here, it would be a foregone conclusion with an enormous majority for Barack Obama. The relative closeness of the polls in the States shows just what a different place it is to the UK and indeed the rest of Europe. However it does seem that there is a majority for change, for a different less strident America. That's certainly my hope, and I hope that by 6am tomorrow hope is still alive.

There are 13 responses to “Hope ?”

  1. Andy McDowall Says:

    If the Council and Greater Manchester Transport had saved some of the huge amount of money they had received from the council tax bills over the past few years, they would have been able to afford the investment to update the tram network without having the congestion charge.At least £150 a year has gone to GMPTE from every single household yaer after year after year from their council taxes. If people stop coming into the centre, then it is businesses that will close down with he loss of thousands of jobs. It will not in any way whatsoever create business opportunities or employment. What Councillors and Politicions forget is that they are elected to serve the public and not the other way round



  3. Richard Leese Says:

    Hi Jane. Part of the proposals are for a new city centre bus station with Piccadilly being used by through services only.Sorry Andy, we would have had to be saving the entire Passenger Transport Authority budget for at least the last thirty years to do what you suggest - that's the scale of investment we will get if people vote yes, and the biggest threat to business is if workers and customers can't get to them, one of the many reasons that many businesses including the CBI are backing the proposals.

  4. M Spanner Says:

    If it is this proposal or nothing, I am still going to vote no. And if the threat of no new investment if there is a NO vote is reality, so be it. The plan is imperfect and the consultation backed that up. There was opposition to it in all 10 boroughs. You have chosen to ignore that consultation and offer more gimmicks in order to secre a YES vote, so it is not the fault of the NO voters. You cannot say NO voters have no alternative plan, because these plans were offered and ignored during the consultation. Some are on the Stop the Charge website at If you don't believe you can lobby Central government in the same way Edinburgh have or Newcastle have or London have, then its not just the plan that is poor, it is the AGMA leadership. We were promised a Supercasino, the Labour government took it away, and then we got nothing from the AGMA. Now you are saying you are going to let us down again.It's not just a vote against TIF we need. It's a vote against the weak leadership of the AGMA.

  5. Jane Goodier Says:

    Where are we going to put a new bus station? Surely most sites have been built on I wait with baited breath.

  6. Richard Leese Says:

    All of the " alternatives " put forward by the No campaign lose us £1.5billion of government grant immediately, none of them tackle congestion, and none of them deliver any more than a fraction of the investment we can secure through the Transport Innovation Fund proposals. They are a con ! In addition, with the possible exception of London, no other city-region has succeeded in getting investment on this scale into their public transport infrastructure, not Newcastle, not Edinburgh, nor do they have a chance of doing so because most of the National pot is currently allocated to Greater Manchester . Of course if we were silly enough to say no there will be other conurbations queing up to try and get their hands on these funds.

  7. colin riley Says:

    i just hope that this congestion charge collapses around your ears.

  8. M Spanner Says:


    I have to disagree with you. There were no other cities queueing up for the funding. By the time of the TIF award, every other major conurbation had said they did not want the funding if it came with a congestion charge. They are not going to suddenly queue up if we say no. Gordon Brown even said in Parliament that if we vote no, it is up to the AGMA to come up with a new plan.

    The consultation said that the scale of the charge was an issue. I strongy believe that this proposal will be rejected in it's current format. I am more than happy to help you change it to ensure we win the funding.

  9. paul Says:

    This is disgusting. Every other city which has had a NO vote has still had funding and so will manchester. we will NOT be blackmailed. VOTE AGAINST TIF VOTE NO

  10. Parkie161 Says:

    Dicky, please STOP brainwashing and browbeating the citizens of Greater Manchester into believing your TIF proposals are in our best interest. This is blatently not true. Had you run a more efficient program over the past twenty years, we would be well on our way to improved public transport. You say there is no other alternative, how so, when we will still be paying Council Tax for the next thirty years. Do you plan to squander this money too on misleading TV ads. Tell us the truth, what about tag and beacon, ANPR's and the like that we are all going to pay for whether we drive or whether we never go anywhere near Manchester City Centre. Your numbers just don't add up! How is 10% of drivers going to pay off your £1.2BILLION loan over thirty years. This won't happen and will result in increased Council Tax as well as increased PT Fares

  11. Richard Leese Says:

    No other city is receiving funding for transport at anything like the scale being proposed for Manchester through the Transport Innovation Fund which is why in the last twelve months Bristol and the adjacent three Councils have developed a scheme based on a single charging ring, Cambridge and Cambridgeshire having initially withdrawn from the process have now developed a double-cordon scheme very similar to Manchester's, Leeds are developing a scheme, and London are reveiwing their existing scheme with a view to making it more like Manchester's. Of course there is currently no money available for their schemes but there will be if Greater Manchester foolishly turns down what is on offer.M Spanner should really go and have another look at what Gordon Brown said last week. He made it clear that the current funding offer is dependent on the package staying substantially the same. Of course we can approach government with an alternative scheme but then the money is off the table and we are back in the pack with every other part of the country.

  12. M Spanner Says:


    I have taken your advice and here is Mr Browns text

    "I know that the voting paper has options for a 'yes' vote and a 'no' vote, but I am afraid that there is no option for a 'don't know' vote. In the event of a 'no' vote, it would be up to Greater Manchester authorities to decide whether they wanted to do further work on the proposals. The government are in principle prepared to contribute, as he has said, up to £1.5bn towards the Greater Manchester package, but that is dependent on the broad scope and nature of the package remaining the same. If Greater Manchester came back with a revised proposition, we would need to assess it on its merits."

    I can see plenty of room for a plan B. One more akin to the results of the consultation. The one where 10 Council areas all produced a negative response. The one where 29% of 5000 respondents of an IPSOS Mori Poll would cross a charging ring during peak hours. Not 1 in 10 as the YES campaign claim. What I don't see in this statement is the finality of a no vote meaning no funding ever. Unless Gordon Brown is lying or trying to avoid giving a straight answer and we all know he wouldn't do that becuase he is a serious man for serious times.

    I am not in the "car is king brigade" who will say no come what may. I have spent a lot of time considering this plan. It doesn't deliver for Bury, Bolton, Stockport, Trafford. It doesn't deliver for people who have no alternative but to drive. It needs to benefit Greater Manchester not just Manchester.

    You say we will be foolish if we vote note, but the YES campaign seems to spend a lot of time name-calling and calling people selfish if they do not agree with you. There is nothing more selfish than taking from one group to benefit another. It is divisive and does nothing for the sense of community in Greater Manchester.

  13. Richard Leese Says:

    Let's have one final go before closing this one off. " The government are in principle prepared to contribute,as he has said, up to £1.5billion towards the Greater Manchester package, but that is dependent on the broad scope and nature of the package remaining the same. " Seems pretty clear to me. Change the package, lose £1.5 billion, and start again from scratch with nothing on the table.



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

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