Manchester City Council

Sunny Oldham

Very sunny at least outside Oldham Civic Centre . Not so sunny inside as AGMA Executive is looking at its own budgets and those of the four Greater Manchester Joint Boards.

Fire and Police are relatively straightforward as they are both precepting authorities i.e they both raise their own Council Tax charge which is added to the bill Council Tax payers receive each year. For 2011/2 they are both proposing a 0% increase in precept but as has already widely been reported in the press their loss of government grants will mean large cuts in the number of firefighters, police officers, and police support staff. Transport ( the ITA ) and Waste are both levying authorities. their money coming directly from each Greater Manchester Council's budget i.e the more they spend the less we have to spend on other services. For Manchester there will be a small increase in the transport levy next year although that is largely because our population has gone up in comparison to the other nine districts. Again because of loss of national grants and subsidies big changes are being made though to keep the levy down, the biggest being the elimination of free concessionary travel in the morning peak, and for discretionary concessionary travel ( this excludes pensioners with free passes ) a move to half fare instead of a fixed fare. Waste will have a 10% increase in its levy. This is tied to our PFI waste disposal contract and although its a bit steep in the early years that will bring us big savings later on.

It's a very big agenda this morning. Apart from budgets we have reports on arrangements for establishing the GM combined authority due to start on April 1st, on skills and the LEP, on Europe and the potential for european funding after the current programme finishes in 2013, on changes to NHS governance, on how the ten councils can make savings by working together, on how we might get some more money for housing, and on a bid for funding for some innovations in transport including smart ticketing. After a whole series of pre-meetings the formal session doesn't last that long but a lot of serious business is transacted, not all of it pleasant. As we leave the Civic Centre to roll back down the hill from Oldham to Manchester there is a bit of consolation in that the sun is still shining.

There are 42 responses to “Sunny Oldham”

  1. REDSTEVE57 Says:

    They say "the sun shines on the righteous". Clearly not in all cases!!

  2. zzzzzzzz Says:

    Fascinating blog

  3. Ice Says:

    Not sure where the sun is shining but definately not in the UK, this is country is going through a serious depression! This island we live on relies on managers and the movement of paper to hold the fort!

    We import everything in to this country, there is no manufacture or export. (only some high tech R&D). The writing is on the wall! I'd say you're are better off learning Mandarin, it may help you later in life!

  4. Aaron H Says:


    I wouldn't fancy Christmas round at your house.

  5. Realist Says:

    I am getting sick of the negativity on these blogs.

    You will find that the UK export more in £ value than it has ever done.
    Yes plenty is high tech.
    Aerospace, Biotech etc.
    But Financial Services brings in billions too as well as the music industry.
    Yes we all should be learning Mandarin. We need to increase connections with China.

    We have far too many poorly educated people, who lack the skills required in modern Britain.

  6. sparky Says:

    The GMITA levy would be a little lower were it not for the consultancy spend at GMPTE. It really cannot be right that the Director General is still on secondment from Ernst & Young after four years. A partner at a big accounting firm can be paid up to £0.5m per year and if GMPTE is paying anything like that then this is poor value for money. Also it cannot be right that GMPTE pays £millions to Ernst & Young in consultancy fees. Surely this is a big conflict on interest.

  7. Julie Says:

    The Police have cut 100's of jobs in Manchester now I hear the youth service is to be disbanded what on earth is going to happen to the young peoplw in our City?????

  8. Joe bloggs Says:

    To Julie, I volunteer for various youth organisations offering activities, skills, knowledge and basically something to do during the week. I do this as well as working full time and I find those who join in take a lot out of it. The young people should be being directed to these voluntary organisations along with some of the other residents as there is always help needed. Don’t be so pessimistic about what we are losing and be optimistic about what we still have to offer the young people.

  9. Han Solo Says:

    Julie - Perhaps the youth might like to learn to behave and act more responsibly. No remedy required if there is no problem. I'm tired of people having "issues".

  10. OldFella Says:

    @Joe bloggs - really nice to hear some positive and inspiring comments. Thank you!

  11. Youngfella Says:

    Yeah Hans - bring back National Service, eh what! I'm tired of people who are tired of people having 'issues'. Easy, isn't it?

    No need to jump all over Julie being 'pessimistic' (??) - (she asked a question) - why not all try to be more positive? - You could all learn something from National Service!

    By the way, still no word on why the plans for the town hall have been scrapped - amount needed by MCC - £110 million

    Cost of town hall refurbishment - £138 million - even if it cost money to cancel, we'd still have money to play with.

    At the minute, which matters more? Some new desks and curtains or putting food on your family's table?

  12. Realist Says:

    I also work with 28 lads twice week running two junior football team.
    This equates to 4 hours a week.
    If more people did this in their area then less kids would get in trouble.
    The adults have a responsibility too.

  13. somebody Says:

    AGMA! And now a GM Authority. For Goodness sake, abolish AGMA and that new thingy before it starts. What a waste of our money! You couldn't save money even if you tried. If you did you would not need to cut front line jobs and services!

  14. OldFella Says:

    It's not surprising that people question the financial common-sense of continuing with the construction work on the library and town hall extension at this cash strapped time. I'm one. However, why think savings on these refurbs would reverse this job loss process? The question from the outset has been how long it would take to achieve a much leaner staff workforce providing more efficient services people want, for much less cost.

    MCC has been trapped by the ConDems into a corner it simply can't escape. Has the December settlement forced the Council into an 'unexpected opportunity' position? Shedding up to 2000 FTEs much faster than originally planned, with real justification, will not only accelerate much needed cash savings, but also accelerate implementation of this mega 're-invention of MCC'. After 31st March the Transformation juggernaut will really start moving! Belt up!

    'No pain no gain'. It's an impersonal message, but it's the bottom line.

  15. Somebody Else Says:


    Re: AGMA, as AGMA is a formal collaboration, surely savings will come about naturally through economies of scale?

  16. Mr X Says:

    The TH refurb is funded mainly through the capital programme whilst the staff cuts are to revenue so the savings are not transferrable.

  17. Aaron H Says:


    Are you the twitter tsar? You certainly to be involved in some kind of excessively positive MCC related promotion.

    And your posts are turning from 'everyman' to increasingly corporate as the blog goes on. Who are you?!

  18. Han Solo Says:

    Youngfella – I never mentioned National Service. I never participated with National Service; far too young – so have no real view on it. I know people who hated it, know people who really thrived on it. I’m not being negative. I am simply suggesting that there would be no problems with young people if they behaved properly. My view of behaving properly being to not bother anyone else, not a big ask. Not sure I view taking responsibility for your actions as a negative thing, but if you do then that’s your call. The tired of comment you wrote in reply: yes whatever, very witty etc. I didn't post to get into a row.

  19. reader rather than whiner Says:

    Youngfella, the leader answered the question on the town hall extension and library on a previous posting. If you think that refurbishing the extension and library are about new curtains, you don't seem to understand what "listed building" means.

    I think we all agree that it would be best not to spend the money on it, but if it's a choice between that or the central reference library falling down I know what I'd prefer.

    Have to agree with realist - the kind of petty whining on these comments really is annoying and makes us MCC employees look like idiots.

  20. Bruce Campbell Says:

    Mr Leese, the council's tagline of 'People. Pride. Place.' seems somewhat vacuous to me. Surely 'Stop. Collaborate. Listen.' would be more in line with a modern progressive council.

  21. Stop the ride I want to get OFF Says:

    @ Mr x

    "staff cuts are to revenue "

    This is not correct - all capital funded FTE positions are also at risk.

  22. Aaron H Says:


    Did you seek appropriate copyright from Vanilla Ice for that tagline?

  23. Bruce Campbell Says:

    Aaron, the copyright authorisation is pending on that one. I have however received authorisation to use 'word to your mother' which I believe would be suitable for the council's parenting advice line.

  24. bicolouredpythonrocksnake Says:

    @Bruce Campbell

    The difference between the actual strapline and the one you propose is that yours consists of verbs, not nouns. The council's use of language, which may or may not betray an inability to actually *do* anything, can be traced to New Labour: 'Education, education, education', 'Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime', and so on. If we must have straplines, GMP's is better: 'Fighting crime, protecting people'. Although it does beg the question, what else would they be doing?

  25. bicolouredpythonrocksnake Says:

    @Aaron H

    Now I look like a right muppet! I can't believe I missed that.

  26. get it right, guys Says:

    MCC doesn't have a tagline, or if it does its "councilio et labore".

    The people pride and place is meant just for staff and meant to make us think about what we do and who we serve. For once, corporate communications has managed to get something right on that one. I could be wrong but i dont think the police have used that tagline for years.

  27. Jeremy Beadle Says:

    Every day we will go further to make a difference to the lives of Manchester people. We will treat colleagues, partners and customers with the respect they deserve and believe only our best is good enough.

    We are proud of the role we play in making Manchester a success. We will accept the responsibility invested in us and rise to meet the challenges we need to overcome.

    Place - ...Well, its a place isn't it?

  28. Aaron H Says:


    You said it!

    getitright - it should be a given that we remember why we do our jobs, but unfortunately it is lost on quite a sizeable majority of the workforce.

    Grim times at the moment, but one thing that I do hope for that comes out of all this is a change of culture within the organisation that results in people remaining in post who genuinely want to be here, for the right reasons.

    A utopian desire perhaps, but one to aim for. I can't be the only one who has been amazed at some of the stunts being pulled within MCC now that the threat to jobs is so high, particularly those in positions of seniority.

    Machiavelli has got nothing on some of these guys.

  29. Bruce Campbell Says:


    haha, oh well. it happens to the best of us sometimes :)

  30. Youngfella Says:

    Hans, I see your point. You appear to be saying ‘if young people behaved properly, there would be no problems’. Excellent point well made.

    And ‘reader rather than whiner’ (brilliant) Best to address the petty whining issue by... whining about it. Good move. You must be quite 'high up' in the council.

    You obviously have a better understanding of ‘listed building’ than most. The town hall extension is a new build, by the way.

    ‘but if it's a choice between that or the central reference library falling down I know what I'd prefer.’

    You’d prefer we got rid of 2000 members of staff and cut services. To protect some bricks and some books. Material objects. As a point, I did not mention the library – but now you point it out, you’re right – anyone with a disability who keeps getting pushed back on a waiting list for an adaptation or a house –

    “…Please hold while we refurbish a listed building. You can read up on adaptations at our fantastic newly refurbished library. Get enough books out and build yourself an extension with them.”

    Let’s get this straight then – the main thing we should be worried about is listed buildings not falling down, and young people behaving ‘properly’. We’ll be back on our feet in no time.

  31. Vanilla Ice Says:

    Its nice to see my famous song being used for its intended purposes. Local Authority communication procedures.

  32. Jedward Says:

    This blog is well wikkid !!!

  33. Arch Says:

    Town Hall Extension a "New Build"


    gained grade II listed status in 74. words fail me...

  34. Han Solo Says:

    Youngfella - My spidey sarcasm sense is flashing. Ah, your suggestion is that pointing out young people should behave themselves is somehow worthless? Also, the Town Hall Extension isn't a new build, it IS a listed buildi....hold on, something doesn't sound right, nobbled again! Such advanced intelligence....

  35. One of Jedward Says:

    If there's something strange, in your neighbourhood, who ya gonna call?
    Environment on call.....

  36. Not young, not a philistine Says:

    Young fella, you clearly don't read much, but can I recommend farenheit 451. We throw away our cultural treasures at our peril.

    You're also clearly not very good at maths. Let's say we could get out of the contract to refurb it. Let's say the cost of that left the council with £110m (even though it would be significantly less than that and would leave us with two massive, listed, crumbling buildings to maintain at a cost of millions each year). Sure, that would pay for the cuts this year. But they are ongoing. Where does the £110m (plus extra £50m) come from next year? And the year after? And the year after that? And so on?

    The money has already been set aside for this work. That cash is largely now being spent on the redundancy and early retirement payouts and the capital work will have to be paid for through borrowing. Don't you think that if it was possible to get out of it, the council would?

  37. Youngfella Says:

    Bah. Congratulations, Arch! You passed the test! Ha! Fair play, I didn't check my facts and went in half-cocked.

    My point still stands about it though - that money should be put where it is needed - it doesn't matter where the council operates from as long as it continues to provide a good service. A lot of employees will be affected by the cuts but a lot more people who rely on the service will suffer.

    Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to google some wikipedia's about the history of everything.

    Good day.

  38. t matt Says:

    It is a shame this blog has drifted into farce. It used to be a place for meaningful discussion but no longer. Lets be clear, in my view SRL is doing a difficult job and the Council have no option but to cut services. When things worsen just remember how to vote in a general election and never trust Nick Clegg again.

  39. Internet Police Says:


    Sort it our SRL, give the Twitter Tsar/Tsarina another job to do and let them moderate the blod to stop idiots with daft names posting.

  40. Sir Alan Sugar Says:

    @Internet Police


  41. Dali's Octopus Says:

    Internet Police - what are you trying to say?

  42. The Tsar Of The Social Network Universe Says:

    Come on guys this has gone too far. And use my real title.



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

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