Manchester City Council

Mancunians All

The day starts at 7.30am at First Street, having a look at the landscaping work that has taken place there. It's the only time I can fit it in but I always think Manchester looks particularly lovely in the early morning light, even on a miserable, wet morning like today.

Half an hour later I'm back in the Town Hall for the quarterly Manchester Partnership Board meeting. First item is a presentation from Professor Ted Cantle of a review he and his colleagues have carried out on community cohesion in Manchester. There is a lot of good news in the report, but also a lot of recommendations on how the partners can do even more to make sure our increasingly diverse city hangs together. The report emphasises the potential of education at all levels to play a major role in building cohesion, the need for public sector bodies including the Council to mainstream their activity, the importance of strengthening 'host' communities and coupled with that the need to focus activity at the neighbourhood level, and the need to clarify the roles of the community, voluntary and faith sectors. One of the most powerful tools available to us is to develop the values of what it means to be Mancunian and use that to build a shared pride in the city.

It's a full agenda also including the draft action plan for this year's board priorities of promoting economic growth, tackling worklessness, and raising aspiration, and an outline of the delivery plan 2011-2014 for the Manchester Community Strategy.

After the board there is a short gap (when amongst other things I get this done) before I meet the Pakistani Consul-General to discuss issues domestic and economic. Yesterday I had a very positive meeting with Mr Hayashi, Minister Plenipotentiary ,based at the Japanese Embassy, later I'm meeting a Dutch Policy Advisor researching economic regeneration in Manchester, and then Councillor Neil Swannick to discuss issues arising from his role as a member of the European Committee of the Regions, so there has been a bit of an international theme to the start of the week.

Everything ends up local though, and this afternoon I'm back on the tram to Crumpsall for our Ward Co-ordination Meeting taking place at the Abraham Moss Centre. The Centre is now half building site with a new school building going up alongside a new tram station. We tend to have a key theme for each meeting, today's being environmental management of green and other open space. Which neatly takes me full circle back to First Street at 6pm for a meeting of the Environmental Advisory Panel where we are now getting seriously into climate change delivery plans.

There are 11 responses to “Mancunians All”

  1. maria Says:

    It is positive that you recognise the importance of education and its vital role in community cohesion. Manchester Adult Education Service (a department of MCC) is a long established community integrated service which works at grass root levels with people of all nationalities and backgrounds. The Service actively supports communities and is committed to every resident to achieving their full potential and accessing support to remove barriers to integration and shared understanding and respect. There has long been duplicity in linking with communities from various sectors. Hopefully partnership working with rise above funding procurement and competitiveness to work together with communities to ensure empowerment. Today brings the uncertainty of Mancunian weather lets hope tomorrows national changes and challenges don't adversely affect services like Manchester Adult Education and the communities it serves.

  2. Val Stevens Says:

    Community cohesion action even more vital to the community given yesterday's announcement. Every confidence that Manchester will get through it. Very difficult for many communities over the next few years.
    ps I notice Mancunian is spelt correctly now!

  3. REDSTEVE57 Says:

    As a Mancunian and a member of a Manc Union I find it difficult to believe that people in our communities will not become insular and isolated due to the huge and devastating cuts from this short sighted coalition government. Many of our fellow citizens who are in receipt of Welfare Benefits that they deserve will be forced to tighten their spending to such a degree that they have no option but to look after themselves to such a degree that they isolate themselves from the wider community that they live in. Their existence will be on a daily hand to mouth regime. It makes me sad and angry that the destruction of some communities will happen in such short time due to the ConDems after more than a decadeade building up our communities and our City to what it is today. No it's not a perfect utopia or Shangri La but it's a damn sight better now than it was pre 1997.

  4. perspective Says:

    I think there is some perspective required here. I have worked since I was 16 (so roughly 15 years), have paid tax and NI, have taken virtually no benefits and when my partner was redundant she was able to claim nothing apart from her stamps being paid - which she had to report in for every couple of weeks and which took up to 2 hours of job hunting time to talk to an advisor who pretty much put her through the mill for her stamps. She did this while watching people coming in spending two minutes at the counter, saying that they couldn't be bothered to look for a job and them getting full benefits paid as they went across to the pub spending my money. I am ranting here, I know, but I really don't see why you could possibly object to cuts. People who have genuine reasons to be in receipt of some form of benefit will get it. And those that don't even look for a job will have to find one. That's all. Why do people value being on benefits so much? Why would you not want a job? There are thousands of jobs advertised on the internet - some of them are low paid - so what, take a second job. People need to realise that benefits are not their money, it is the tax paying public. I've seen people who complain they haven't got enough benefits after subscribing to Sky+ and feeding child 15 with a Big Mac. What people mean when they say there are no jobs is that there are no jobs that they want. What's more there is massive amounts of waste in Local Government, many millions even billions could be saved by combining spending power. Blindly saying let's spend out of the recession is idiotic and dangerous. I am by nature a mild mannered person but this makes me so mad. All the money I have put into this society has been frittered away. For every notable and praiseworthy initiative there is another which has done nothing but cause more cost and waste. This country is a nightmare and we need to all take stock.

  5. Dave Bishop Says:

    Yes, 'perspective' I think that your contribution is a bit of a rant. What I think you're really saying is: "people who I consider to be of lower social status than me are getting more than I think they're entitled to and I think that this should be stopped!" If you're right (biggish 'if'), and you achieve your objective, you don't say what might happen then (?)
    That's not to say that we haven't got problems in our society (problems which could well be worsening) but my view is that two of our biggest problems are the increasing social divide and lack of opportunity for certain sections of society.
    Things have certainly changed in my lifetime. My father worked in a factory from the age of 15 to 65. He was a skilled craftsman and earned just enough to bring up a family - he was never out of work. I grew up in the 1950s and 60s and went to a rather poor Secondary Modern school. When I left school I went to the local Technical College to do O and A levels (my parents supported me). During the last term at college local employers visited and offered jobs to me and the rest of my classmates! After a rather desultory interview I was given a job on the understanding that I would go back to college, on day release, to do a HNC. When I moved to Manchester, in 1972, I also walked into a decent job. After 15 years with that employer I was made redundant (after they had paid for me to do an OU degree). I then got a third job - again rather easily. I stayed with that employer for 17 years until they made me redundant 5 years ago.
    By then everything had changed, both in the workplace and outside of it. The only job that I could find was in a call centre - a job for which I was totally unsuited - and I got out as soon as possible.
    Having paid off my mortgage I now find that I can live reasonably comfortably on my pension.
    I suppose that all of this sounds a bit smug - and I do consider that I have been reasonably lucky (largely because I was born at the right time). Nevertheless, it grieves me to think that, from now on, there will be many young people who will not have the opportunity to use their talents as I have been able to use mine (modest though they are!). I am convinced that our problems will not be solved, in the short term, by bashing the poor and depriving them of benefits. What we really need to do is to build a more equal society and to give people back the sorts of opportunities that I had - and that is a much bigger challenge!

  6. Ian Says:

    Dave Bishop

    You were lucky that was a time when there was more people paying tax than living long enough for the pension but now it is all changed as you say. The welfare state at the moment is unsustanable as it stands. The country can only move forward if the government expenduture is not cut back.


    I totally agress with you I to work in a low paid job I leave my house in the morning and on my street of 12 homes there are only two who get up to go to work the remainder have never worked in the last 10 years. This is no rant are you telling me there are no jobs to be had in Manchester what it is its easier to stay on benifits and thats the worst thing the past Labour government failed to tackle it is better both for the person and society if they work...

  7. perspective Says:

    Dave Bishop - I think perhaps your response should be on what I said instead of what you think I said.

  8. Dave Bishop Says:

    "Dave Bishop - I think perhaps your response should be on what I said instead of what you think I said."

    Perspective, what I heard you saying is that the problems in our society can be laid at the door of people on benefits - whilst 'Ian' blames pensioners.
    What I'd like to ask both of you is:

    Was it people on benefits and pensioners who destroyed British manufacturing industries?

    Was it people on benefits and pensioners who were responsible for runaway house price inflation?

    Was it people on benefits and pensioners who brought down the banks and left taxpayers to pick up the pieces?

    And was it people on benefits and pensioners who destroyed the opportunities for ordinary people, that existed in my lifetime, and replaced them with a grossly unequal society which leaves so many people dependent on benefits in the first place?

    Still, it's easier to blame your peers and those you regard as socially inferior, isn't it? The right wing gutter press and their sponsors must be rubbing their hands with glee!

  9. Ian Says:

    Reference: Dave Bishop

    Do not young people grow up into pensioniers then...

    TBH I truely believe we should be like america 24 weeks benifits and then nothing no child benifitt no housing beniffit and you pay for your education yourself and look after you own old age.

    Why should you expect others to give you a living its not right wing press we need but a sense of personal responsbility, your not owed a living by anyone....

  10. Dave Bishop Says:

    "your [sic] not owed a living by anyone...."

    Unless you're a banker on fat bonus, of course. Then you can do anything you like and expect the tax- payer to bail you out when you foul up!

  11. Squidge Says:

    "Unless you're a banker on fat bonus" Do you mean "on A fat bonus" Dave? Pedantry begets pedantry y'know.



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

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