Manchester City Council

Merry Christmas!

Probably the last entry before Christmas . I'm in the office tomorrow, mainly to meet Tony Lloyd MP and Graham Stringer MP to discuss what we can do about Manchester's dreadful, and according to the Manchester Evening News, totally unfair financial settlement.

Then I'll take a break until after the new year, building up strength for what will be a very difficult couple of months. But anyway, before I continue can I wish all my readers, regular and irregular, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

The financial settlement dominates today as well. Comments on earlier entries have rightly raised the uncertainty created for all Council staff and service users. We aim to eliminate that uncertainty as quickly as possible but can't do it over night. In the meantime I and my colleagues are appreciative that the fast majority of Council staff continue to show real determination to do their best for the city and its people. Myself and the Executive Member for Finance and Human Resources met with the Trades Union Forum this morning to set out just how bad the settlement is for Manchester, the scale of cuts we are now looking at, and to set out the timetable and process for dealing with them. The Council's budget fixing Council is on March 8th. Before that the proposed budget has to go through scrutiny and we are aiming for a draft budget by the end of January. The severity of the cuts means there can be no sacred cows as we explore all options available big and small. At the same time we don't want to set hares running that will cause even more unnecessary uncertainty and we don't want to make decisions now that balance the budget but in the long term are bad for the city as a whole. As proposals firm up we want to be as open as possible before those proposals become set in stone. A difficult balance to strike but we'll do our best.

The Executive meets this morning with the agenda dominated by the settlement and the prospects for next year's budget. We agree to make representations to government on the basis that the cuts are too fast and too deep, that local government is having to take too big a share, that the frontloading of cuts makes delivery even more difficult to achieve in a cost effective way, that a one year only transitional payment is not sufficient to manage the scale of the cuts, and that the redistribution of £30m per annum grant money away from Manchester to more affluent areas largely in the South is patently unfair.

Make a comment

There are 6 responses to “Merry Christmas!”

  1. OldFella Says:

    Sir Richard, 2010... soon ended, and 'bad luck' said to come in that number! Ughhhh! ;)

    Your post was interesting, and honest. 2011 is another year. When you say "we'll do our best", I believe you.

    Everyone, a very happy holiday!

  2. phil dodd Says:

    i am disgusted with the right wing cost cutting policies of this government and labour councils are hit the a community driven resident,i would like to know how people like me can voice our disproval at whats going on,and how we can support our local council.merry christmas

  3. Frank James Says:

    What a shame that this uncertainty is hanging over so many of your staff who have turned Manchester into a vibrant city. I live and own a business in Manchester and daily think how lucky l am. I just hope if staff have to go, which seems to be on the cards, you treat them fairly and with the respect they deserve - after all Manchester would not be the place it is today without their hard work and dedication. As a long life Conservative member (now ex!) l'm outraged at what they are doing. Sir've got an awful job ahead of you and l don't think anyone would want to be in your shoes right now.

  4. bicolouredpythonrocksnake Says:

    You may well be right. What we're seeing is rather different from the one pound in every hundred that Cameron talked about before the election. That said, given the response to the 'representations to government' over tuition fees (and the 'representations' to the previous government over the Iraq war before that), I don't fancy your chances. What we need to be doing is preparing to deal with the situation as we find it because if we don't come up with a plan soon we're in real trouble. Merry Christmas, though!

  5. REDSTEVE57 Says:

    How ironic that in the week of the 70th anniversary of the Nazi blitzkrieg on Manchester we are openly attacked by the Con/Dem allianze. The Nazis couldn't do us in and neither will the right wing storm troopers. As a proud and cosmopolitan City we will get through this Governments attempt to destroy the Labour heartlands. The uncertain future for the staff at MCC is matched by the citizens of Manchester and the realisation that their services, which have improved year on year for the last decade, will be slowly dismantled if the Tories, in particular, and their lap dog Libs get their unscrupulous way.
    my grandfather who fought in the and went through the blitz on Manchester used to say to me that it's not the dog that can fight, it's the fight in the dog that counts. One thing is guaranteed the communities and residents of Manchester have fight in them by the bucket load.
    So less pessimism and lets look to the future as yet another challenge to win!! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you Richard and all your hard working staff and to all the residents of tis great city. Manchester and proud!!!!!

  6. Star Gazer Says:

    Let's hope you bring the City a reasonable christmas present and protect front line services. Friends tell me of yet another fat salary job being advertised which is a bitter pill to swallow when lower paid workers who actually live in Manchester and pay their council tax, taxes, and work much more than the 35 hours a week proclaimed in some of the replies. They are deeply worried about their future and the life chances of their families.

    How about letting Manchester residents decide which services they want you to prioritise and inlcude this in the budget consulation as a direct question. Come on Sir Richard command that those at the top start getting rid of the fat salaries - most of these people don't even live in the City and never would but they will always put themselves first. I think you should peronally oversee this and show your commitment to those at the bottom of the pile - Merry Xmas.



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

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