Manchester City Council

Rags to Riches

Tremendous turn out for Remembrance Sunday at the Cenotaph. Was dry and mild which I'm sure helped but can't recall seeing so many people turning out. I had to get home smartish to pack a bag, get to the airport and set of for Abu Dhabi, arriving early breakfast time yesterday.

The trip is on the back of the game City are playing here on Thursday evening and is aimed at growing 2-way business links as well as building on the Man City investment. Despite sleep deprivation a very busy day today starting at 8am with a meeting about the football club. Then off to the Emirates Palace ( we're not staying there ) to sign the co-commissioning agreement for the Zaha Hadid installation which was such a success in the International Festival. This afternoon took me to Yas Island, amongst other things the home of the Abu Dhabi grand prix. This was a real chance to see the scale of development here including temporary accommodation for 40,000 construction workers. Tonight the British Ambassador is hosting a reception which will be a chance to make lots of contacts. After 24 hours here I'm already convinced that important though it is a relationship with Abu Dhabi has much more to offer than just football.

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There are 12 responses to “Rags to Riches”

  1. Jason Says:

    Will Human Rights get mentioned whilst you are on holiday in Abu Dhabi?

  2. Peter Says:

    Very good point Jason! I have a friend who has just returned from working in Abu Dhabi alongside immigrant workers from the Indian Subcontinent. He informs me that they are treated as second class citizens and the pay they are receiving is minimal. He was shocked with what he saw and has requested that his employer doesnt send him back. I think while it is important for Manchester to develop its reputation internationally, I also believe it is extremely important for our Council's representatives to question their hosts on issues such as these and be weary of who they are doing business with.

  3. holder of the purse strings Says:

    Incidentally, where are you staying? Be interesting to see the costs. Although freedom of information would allow that to be made public. Also, on the point of wasting money, instead of negotiating business class seats for economy prices, why didn't you all negotiate economy seats for budget airline prices? I guess you all need the bigger seats for the few extra pounds gained during the flight with the "in-flight" meals.

  4. Karen Says:

    I do also hope that you're expenses are kept to a minimum with the financial climate being as it is, bearing in mind the councils overspend, frozen pay and staffs jobs being put at risk.

  5. red arrow Says:

    re; point 3 - also on the point of wasting money, have you managed to get the Sheikh's verdict on the Toure-Lescott combo at centre-half?
    What was it - £40m?
    You could buy 7 Richard Dunnes for that -lol.

  6. lazyitis Says:

    Doesn't the above all seem wrong for some reason that I can't quite put my finger on (apart from the Remembrance stuff of course).

  7. Rowena Burns, Chair, Cityco Says:

    In response to those who think the trip to Abu Dhabi is a waste of time and money, I would like to point out that Manchester's willingness to forge closer links with economic success stories like the UAE has repeatedly proved its worth in bringing business, cultural, and sporting benefits to this great city. To give just two examples - links formed with Kuala Lumpur resulted in an air service to Malaysia that created key links which helped us stage the best ever Commonwealth Games and created lasting links between the universities in both countries, and trips to the USA resulted in the Bank of New York locating here. Like both of those, the visit to Abu Dhabi was a broadly based delegation which in this case included MIDAS (the region's inward investment agency), Marketing Manchester, and the University of Manchester. It is Manchester's greatest strength that it goes out and makes it happen - rather than sitting at home waiting for opportunity to be delivered on a plate.

  8. dave Says:

    Rowena Burns you would say that would'nt you. Another flight to manchester, off course when you speak of Green house gases you don't count the airport in the figures do you. Please no more buzz works or business speak how many new jobs will this give to Manchester then.

  9. lazyitis Says:

    Sorry to appear pedantic, but surely this is more 'grabbing an opportunity' than going out and making things happen?
    The Man City investment was a mystery even to their manager until it actually happened. We know that City were looking for investment, as they were close to bankruptcy due to their previous owner, but we can presume that MCC weren't informed of this?
    Incidentally, were similar business opportunities discussed with City's previous owner? Or is that one now filed under 'embarrassment' and moved on from swiftly?

  10. Richard Leese Says:

    Some interesting stuff here. I have looked at the UAE's labour laws which on the face of it seem to give a lot of protection. We have seen reported one very high profile abuse, but unfortunately that happens in the UK too. The links between Abu Dhabi are not just football. The Zaha Hadid installation at the Art Gallery during the Manchester International Festival was co-commissioned with Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation and we have now formalised a co-operation agreement with that organisation. Etihad fly to Manchester seven days a week, and there are many Manchester based businesses already trading with Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi itself recognises that it's dependency on oil and gas is not sustainable and are for example developing a new carbon free township for 40,000 people.They also recognise the need for econmic diversity, a lesson Manchester had to learn the hard way. All of this means there are enormous opportunities for stronger links with Abu Dhabi, econmic yes, but also cultural,educational and environmental.

  11. Mr Nemo Says:

    "I have looked at the UAE's labour laws which on the face of it seem to give a lot of protection."
    To Who Richard? Certainly not the migrants from the subcontinent. The discrimination is actually enshrined the labour laws of the UAE.

  12. A Shogun Named Marcus Says:

    Am I alone infinding it slightly uncomfortable, to say the least, that MCC is seemingly so pleased about it's associations with a country that still stones women to death for adultery?



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

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