Manchester City Council

No Escape

The world loves initials and government especially loves initials, preferably ones that can approximate to a word sound. This morning it's a short walk to C.U.B.E. (Centre for Understanding the Built Environment) for a meeting of the JEC, pronounced ‘Jeck’ of course, the Joint Economic Commission for the North West. I'm sure I've mentioned it before but in case I haven't the JEC brings together GONW, the NWDA, 4NW (I represent them at it), LSC, JC+, NWBLT, NWTUC, Phil Woolas our Regional Minister, and so on to look at the impact of the recession on the North West, its people and its businesses and at what we can do to come out of it economically stronger and more sustainable.

The meeting includes a presentation on the current state of the North West economy which I'm pleased to say was similar to the report we had on Manchester's economy a couple of weeks ago at our own Council economy group (EMG Economy). Month on month the indicators are getting better, and particularly pleasing today was to see that business in the North West is now beginning to gear up for growth. An important caveat though before we get too cheerful is that the first three months of next year are still likely to be very tough, but it does look at last as if we're over the worst.

Another discussion this morning is on the potential impact of cuts in public sector on the recovery. Nobody is arguing that Central Government doesn't have to balance the books but private sector representatives in particular made the case that too deep and too fast cuts in public expenditure could send us back into recession and would certainly hit the rate of recovery.

The JEC now has a discussion topic at each meeting and today's is green jobs. The Copenhagen Summit has made the subject of climate change impossible to avoid for anybody who has been even vaguely conscious over the last few weeks. I argue regularly against hairshirt approaches to tackling climate change and for the win-win of low carbon economic growth. From smart grids to retrofitting our very energy inefficient building stock the discussion identifies lots of ways we can save the planet and create lots of good, skilled jobs at the same time.

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

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