Fast and not Fast
Off to London this afternoon for the third meeting of the Putting the Frontline First Taskforce and then a meeting with the Secretary of State for Transport about High Speed Rail. It says something that I can now with confidence catch the 12.35 train to London for a 3.30pm meeting and with the second meeting finishing around 6, have a reasonable expectation of not being home too late. With High Speed Rail I could be home for tea!
Yesterday started with the Council's Executive, the biggest item on the agenda being next year's budget. Under the constitutional arrangements we are obliged to operate under, most decisions are delegated to the Executive within a policy framework set by the Council. The budget of course is not a delegated decision, so at the Executive it is a rather brief and formal presentation of the Executive's budget proposals, which then go to Scrutiny before being debated at a special budget Council early in March. One item on the agenda was a bit of good news around housing. Work on new housing will start later this year on a number of credit crunch hit sites in Moston and Harpurhey and unlike other recent starts supported by the government's Kick Start programme, these will require no public subsidy, a strong sign that the worst of the recession is over. In fact the Council might even get some money out of it to reinvest in other housing schemes.
Don't get any tea as I go with our Chief Executive to Trafford to talk to their Council about the Manchester City Region proposals. A rather strange experience to be quizzed by Councillors from all three parties on another Council but if we are to work together effectively it might become a common rather than a strange experience.