Manchester City Council

Do Not Pass Go

The eight weekly meeting of Full Council today. There is an anti-cuts lobby at the side entrance to the Town Hall and I have an interesting conversation with one of the lobbyists who puts forward the proposal that I and presumably other Councillors should go to jail rather than vote for cuts.

I ask the obvious question which was what he thought would happen then. The government would step in and make the cuts was his response. So I go to jail, the cuts still get made, and as they would be made later they would be worse - doesn't sound much like a tactic to me.

The later part of the Council agenda will be dominated by cuts and the budget including a motion calling on people to support the Manchester Petition which is formally launched today. However the ordinary meeting of Council will be preceded by a special meeting to confer the Freedom of the City on the 207 ( Manchester ) Field Hospital ( Volunteeers ) . This invaluable medical corps together with its predecessors originated in the city and has seen some 125 years service including providing the biggest general hospital for casualties in the country the second world war. The conferment ceremony won't take place today as the unit has only just returned from deployment in Afghanistan but they are worthy recipients of the greatest honour the city can bestow, and one which is not lightly given.

There are 37 responses to “ Do Not Pass Go”

  1. Sooty Says:

    I like to imagine the fledgling Lib Dem councillors have to sit at the front on the floor with legs crossed in Full Council meetings. At least they get out of the creche for a while.

  2. Bruce Campbell Says:

    That lobbyist sounds like a perfect competitor for the Darwin Awards.

  3. ShyCat Says:

    The power is not in Town Hall. It is in London - and we should all (including the leaders) go there 26 March to inform the governemtn that there alternative options. Look at Egypt.

  4. Mike Ruffle Says:

    I wholeheartedly endorse the conferment especially at a tme when the current Government is busy also cutting our defence budget - one wonders if there will be a 207 ( Manchester ) Field Hospital ( Volunteeers ) in a year or twos time.

    As for going to jail, an unreasonable expectation in my opinion. However, I do not see how cutting 2000 jobs fits in with the Council's Corporate Plan? Taking 2000 employees out of the workforce will not contribute to th City's economic growth. It will however add to it's burden of deprivation, poverty and social exclusion. I appreciate that the Council is stuck between a rock and the Tory Government but I cannot see how we can implement the proposed cuts without totally demoralising our staff and failing to maintain front-line services to the people of Manchester? A term in jail may well give one time for reflection on this conundrum?

  5. Another worried MCC employee Says:

    I'm sure it would be much more convenient for Mr Pickles if you were all in prison!

  6. Richard Leese Says:

    Made a mistake. For second read first

  7. Should I Stay Says:

    @Mike Ruffle

    The only acheivement to the corporate plan in loosing 2000 jobs would be for MCC to achieve its 10% cut in carbon emissions !!!!

  8. Sam Says:

    Sir Richard Lease has done so much for our City - the jail remark is a uneducated blow out to the wrong person. Get to London and lobby there - I for one are proud to still have Sir Richard as our leader! Manchester would be in a much worse state than it is now!!

  9. Help Says:

    Will you and the other councillors be going to the rally on 26th March Mr Leese?

  10. Disappointed Says:

    So after you have finished your meeting will you still be going to the free silver service lunch and free bar? Mmmm.... for what this costs us the mere mortals each year it could save at least a couple of jobs Double standards are certainly not attractive. Surely now you should lead by example and stop these perks of the job and pay for your lunches etc as do all other council employees.

  11. CB Says:

    Hi Richard

    I agree that it is true that Manchester and other parts of the north have had much worse settlements than more affluent areas and I believe this is what the Manchester Petition looks to address.

    But this is only because Manchester and other less affluent areas have been prioritised for more government investment in the last 15 years to try and essentially bridge the north -south divide. I don't remember anyone petitioning on behalf of certain parts of the country recieving less money for the past 15 years?

    After 15 years of extra public investment the north and south divide is larger than ever - the investment hasn't worked? I agree that Manchester has undergone a renaissance and is a much more attractive place but has that invesment really brought about value?

  12. Who Cares? Says:

    I agree with Help. Will you be going to London Mr Leese? How about taking a leaf out of Nottingham Council's book and asking for a judicial review of the amount of money the government is demanding? As leaders you appear to be lying down and taking it. Where is your fight? Come on give us an answer, will you be joining us on the rally and doing what is right?

  13. ShyCat Says:

    Contact your union and get a place on the coach or train the 26th. And I agree with WhoCares? - we don't have to accept this

  14. Tony Soprano Says:

    jail sounds like a excellent idea! It never did me any harm!

  15. Mario Says:

    ShyCat - We do have to accept it a bit though, you can protest all you want but they will get the 2,000 and we'll all move on. Yes, it will still be a struggle but that's it. Sir R and Sir H will still benefit from all the benefits of their jobs and will not lose any sleep. Disgraceful but true.

  16. Airwaves extra Says:

    Manchester Evening News tonight - MCC spend £60m in ONE MONTH!!

  17. 50 Cent Says:

    A spell in the 'pen' will get you 'props' on the street, Mr Leese.

  18. Tim Bucktooth Says:

    @Airwaves extra

    Thats nothing, Chelsea spent £50 million in one day.

    P.S. Your name is mint

  19. Hmmm Says:

    Think an Egytian style protest on the goverment sounds like a great idea at the moment coz i cant name 3 people i know who wanted them bandits in power anyway, and the cuts and the speed of the cuts which they are undertaking are too much too soon and will no doubt lead to a double dip recession, God i love how you educated folk reason, you do all them years of education to get smarter but still do dumb things there's a lesson in there somewhere.... school smart aint street smart.

  20. strangeways inmate Says:

    I agree with Tony and 50 cents. A bit of bird might do all you politicans some good. Bring it on.

  21. OldFella Says:

    @Hmmm... Well your 'people' would say that, wouldn't they, or are you saying that the general election nationally was rigged? Sounds to me like you have a chip on your shoulder regarding your educational attainment, and wear it as if it were a badge of honour, like an ASBO. Great role model. Say hello to 'Tony' and 'Strangeways inmate' on your next visits.

  22. there's no joke without satire Says:

    Whilst nobody likes to see other people lose their jobs. Manchester's workforce is inflated. There are too many staff who've been there on a cushy number for over 15 years and too many staff working 35 hour weeks taking lots of holidays. I know people that work there and they get over 30 days holiday and can take '14 extra days of flex leave' each year. I'm aware that there are many hardworking staff, but now they've had a big wake up call and a dose of reality. There are too many staff like Policy Officers and Admin people sitting around killing time and clock watching. Without wanting to sound harsh, this might be the best thing that could happen in that senior management will be able to deliver a more effificient service that delivers vfm.

  23. Demotivated Says:

    I do not want to pay more taxes to sponsor councillors' stay in prison, I thoguht the goal was to save money. However I do feel that MCC employees are still owed two apologies that are yet to be made. Firstly for making us hear about the job losses via the media after all the Council's talk of M People, and secondly for even mentioning compulsory redundancies when as far as I am aware, the position has always been NO compulsory redundancies and nothing else has been agreed with unions. I know the first one is an old point, but why are Richard Leese and Howard Bernstein so unwilling to apologise for this error. Even if it was nothing to do with them (which I do not beleive) as representativs of the council, whiy have they not issued an official apology to all staff for this grave error. Whatever happened to valuing staff?

    And as for the redundancies, look how the language has changed in the past few months.

    "The Council values its employees and we are aiming for NO compulsory redundancies despite the challenges we will have to meet over the next few years."

    "It is still our intention to continue to work with the trade unions to aim for no compulsory redundancies and this is a significant commitment to you and all our workforce."

    "we are still aiming to avoid compulsory redundancies...The Council will continue to work in partnership with and consult the recognised trade unions. They will be kept informed and be involved throughout the process."

    "It is still our intention to avoid compulsory redundancies. If it is not possible to achieve the reductions in staff that are necessary, we will of course be forced to reconsider our options, including compulsory redundancy"

    I am finding it very hard to be proud of Manchester right now.

  24. Optimistically Cynical Says:

    It seems it's not just our leader who is supporting the Manchester Petition, with several Lib Dem councillors and a Conservative councillor throwing their names into it publically along with words of support for Manchester, which I am sure have everything to do with principles and nothing to do with the likely scalping they may or may not get in a month or so by an angry electorate...

  25. t matt Says:

    'There's no joke without fsatire' talking absolute nonsense. Nothing at all wrong with 30 days (due to length of service so earnt) and 14 days flexi per year (due to extra hours done within a month period due to being personally felxible to suit the needs of the organisation) and 35 hours a week; the standard hours in the Council. 'Admin and Policy sitting around clock watching' - how distasteful a comment and inaccurate; lots of people scared of losing their livelihoods and working for the community and you think they are 'clock watching'! Shame on you for this nonsense post.

  26. flexo Says:

    @there's no joke without satire. I'm not sure what you are getting at, complaining about the 14 flex days, If someone is in a position to take that then they have already worked those 14 days and usually hours more without pay. There's a lot of people who work well over the hours you could possibly get back with flex - no paid overtime - no bonuses - no subsidies for food or drink, ill informed people belittling your work banging on about how lazy you are, Cushy number indeed...

  27. Andy K Says:

    Sounds like the lobbyist is nothing more than a liberal ... the only chance they have of getting in any power position again is by sending us all to jail .... nice!

  28. a_little_concerned Says:

    What's wrong with 30 days holiday and flex days. They have all been earned. If you can guarantee that only those who having been riding high on the hog get the chop then I'll be happy. However, I wouldn't bet on that at all.

  29. Jimmy Says:

    Many of us dream of being able to take TOIL/FLEX for all the extra hours we put in - I'm still waiting to take the TOIL I earned from the Commonwealth Games, and have just stopped counting the extra hours I work. That's the public service ethos that most of us work to - and which many services rely upon!

  30. There's no smoke without satire Says:

    Firstly, it is thanks to the Leader for having the blog to permit members of the public like myself to air my arching comments. I forgot to mention that I worked for the council several years ago and during that time, I came across some staff that came in late and were out of the building at 4.01pm, lacking rudimentary communication skills, managers that couldn’t manage and staff that weren’t trained properly, many of whom are scared because they know they cannot command the inflated salaries they’re on in the private sector. Some departments wasted money on luxuries and had too many staff doing the same roles. For instance, why pay 5 Policy Officers for doing a job that could be done by 3 people? Why pay Consultants extortionate salaries for short contracts? And why, did they have 100’s of temps in long-term roles? This may have changed recently. As a resident and tax payer in Mcr, there are many achievements MCC can be proud of. I find it incredulous that some staff are throwing their toys out of the pram because of the they are facing a situation that affected those in the private sector.

  31. Ian Says:

    there's no joke without satire Says:

    I'd love to know which friendly privite company you work for of course your not making money for a nice company are you. What you seem to miss is the work that council people put in is more than above what they get paid for, right lets see 30 days leave whats wrong with that instead of complaining about that why don't the privite sector do the same? Flex days do you actually know what they are you work 7 hours above your contracted hours a month and you get a day off whats the problum maybe more privite companies should do that. You see when one of your elderly relatives requires help from social services and you find that the service is no longer suppilied cause of the cuts is that what you want. I know the service given by privite companies in the care sector leaves a lot to be desiried. Profit and care just don't go together.

  32. John Shiers Says:

    I know you are hardened Richard from the failed campaign against rate capping in the 1980's but there is a real case for saying that the Coalition is making local government into nothing but a cypher for administering it's cuts. It's sad that the Labour Party in Manchester is now so de-politicised that there seems no engagement with local people about what to do in this dire situation. (Focus Groups and Mori polls are a mockery of real participation). I certainly wouldn't like to be in the shoes of you and your colleagues right now. But at what point do you say enough is enough and refuse to run an administration that dismantles what remains (after New Labour) of public services? At least allow some debate Richard both inside and outside the Labour Party. Going to prison is a futile gesture, but resigning the administration and campaigning from the Council chamber against these cuts and for the services the people of Manchester need, seems to me good politics. But then, maybe I am just a dreamer?

  33. Anon Says:

    Actually, I get 30 days holidays a year, add flexi days and bank holidays and I could have 50 days off - thats 10 weeks. I'd rather have a cut in holidays than a cut in hours or pay.

    And dont get me started on colleagues who regard sick leave as another perk to be taken as oftern as possible (but just short of actually getting fired for non-attendance).

  34. United_We_Stand Says:

    I think Sir R is being a bit hard on the anti-cuts lobbyist - from Mcr Trades Council - with whom he spoke. He did indeed suggest civil disobedience to break the ConDem attacks on our city; but he also emphasised that we must all work together around activities like The Manchester Petition, and public meetings that oppose the ConDem cuts. Sir R was happy to agree with this call for unity. (I was nearby, also on the lobby.) So let's get away from talk of jail, at this moment - if the Egyptians considered only that consequence, they would never have left their homes.

  35. mrs wilson Says:

    as the council are making all these cuts to public services will this be reflected in a council tax rebate

  36. not so shy Says:

    lets face it there all bent and dishonest its political madness playing with peoples lives why would anyone wnt to live in england with all the cuts and price of living going up but wages frozen hows anyone suppost to afford to live can see this snowballing out of control and something simular to egypt happpening here

  37. paddy Says:

    @ no smoke

    you havin a laugh mate i have worked 35 yrs first year didnt get hols then 15 days after 5 yrs 10 ays and so on had to 21 yrs to getmy 30 days and higher managers will be able to deliver a better service open your eyes the vs scheme is not limiting peoples salarys only the weeks they receive so a higher manager on £500 + a week will benefit more than a front line employee on £150 a week so guess who will be leaving certainly the poorsoda in the sure start centers we been reading about they will be sold off like cattle to private providers and put on £5.50 an hour so better service i should coco



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