Manchester City Council

Three in a row

There you are, you wait weeks for a blog post to come along and then you get three all at once. Pouring down outside as a thunder storm hits the city - appropriate weather for this morning's activity.

The budget is never far away from my mind and this morning is the last of a series of meetings this week overseeing the implimentation of March's budget decisions. Although the City Council set a budget in March, many of the proposals in that budget were subject to further, more detailed equality impact assessments,and in some cases to further public consultation. This means in practice it will be September at the earliest before we finish the decision-making process with a number of knotty problems still to be resolved. Even though this may have been the worst budget settlement from government any of us can remember, and even though the drawing up and determining of the budget was the hardest any of us can remember, in reality, so far, we've only done the easy bit. Implimenting the budget is the really difficult bit and if we fail to do that effectively and fail to keep our budget in balance then even worse will be in store for the city in the not too distant future. That's why we have developed very clear delivery plans and very clear lines of reporting to senior Councillors - to continue to make the best we can of a bad job and deliver for Manchester citizens.

Part of our balanced approach to our budget was to ensure that we continue to support economic growth in the city and wider city-region. One of the projects we are supporting is the regeneration of the Co-op's estate in the north of the city centre, based around their exciting new headquarters building. Later today I'm off to the CIS tower for a briefing on their plans for NOMA, the name they have given to the redevelopment of this twenty acre site. This is just one example, Siemens announcement today of three hundred and fifty new jobs in alternative energy technology is another, of how, despite the very difficult financial circumstances, the city is managing to continue moving forward.

There are 9 responses to “Three in a row”

  1. ex MCCer Says:

    You may have more luck if you try implementing

  2. i love jack russels Says:

    Not only was Manchester one of the five worst hit councils in the country losing around 25% of its funding. Thirty seven councils lost more than 8.9% of their spending power for 2011/12, and four of these, including Manchester, are among the five local authorities with the highest child poverty rates. If anyone saw that documentary on Tuesday night with children speaking about how poverty affects their lives, then you can only ask why the government saw fit to allocate spending to councils in this way. Couldn’t be that they know there’s no risk in losing tory or lib dem seats in labour dominated Manchester come the election, perchance ? They’ve looked after their own and the marginals and because they haven’t got any seats to save up here they might as well shaft us and similar safe labour areas the most, and keep their own areas sweet by making small or non existent cuts.

  3. Jim Mogg Says:

    I love jack russels:

    But those kind of deprivation figures have been so for donkeys years. But we seem to spend loads on regenerating the THX and vanity projects like the Manchester Day Parade - wouldn't that money be better spent on helping people who are experiencing deprivation? Or is it the point that we want it all and we're happy to sacrifice actually doing something about the problems for appearences and being an 'international city'. Other Cities achieve this simply by being an International City - we seem to have a real inferiority complex about it. We need to stop complaining about it and do something about it instead. If the politicking and point scoring stopped we might just all work in collaboration.

  4. Andrea Says:

    'so far, we've only done the easy bit.'......Is the axing of jobs and services the easy bit?

  5. Andy Capp Says:

    Of course axing jobs is the easy bit, its not their own they axe is it?. When is Bernstein going to make a gesture pay cut to show Marxist solidarity in his city?Cameron has set Manchester a challenge, yeah a 109 million biggie this year (which when you consider MCC are happy to invest hundreds of millions in buildings NOT people is a bit rich!) to see how they would cope in a crisis, and to be honest they clearly can't, we have over the years already had/get generous spending grants of 700 quid plus per head which continuously goes on frivolous ideas and they just dont learn. What the hell are we doing spending over eight million on Urbis?? 19million quid on a bloody theatre!! (a merger of Cornerhouse/library theatre apparently) Where was that consultation? and private enterprises like the Co-Op H/Q which would annoy most taxpayers to know a fair few million (30m+) is going towards a private bank like this. We've bailed enough banks out without any vote isnt this mirroring whats happened higher up? and in bad taste? I dont want to fund it! especially when the boss earns over 1.2m!! This council wouldnt know what a public consultation was if it bit it on the a**** much of the decision making isnt even thrown out to the very people that the cuts affect, decisions generally are made by the two at the top Leese and Bernstein and are non negotiable. Cut and dried (insider info im afraid) and discussed way before any public meetings are held. If there were proper public consultations do you really think all of Manchesters 50 odd youth centres would be closed so quickly with no adequate replacement in times like these? The very people likely to commit crime/anti social behaviour is that particular group! and then GMP play down crime figures whilst MEN reports 30% increases and more? Nothing is ever thought through properly, we are treated as children not to be trusted which is a mere reflection perhaps of our "leaders". Vital childrens centres/elderley care centres and other services are under attack which to my knowledge no other bordering borough councils are to such an extent? so come on get your act together and stop treating the people of this once great city as fools. A playground for the London overspill it aint. Its our city we are proud Mancunians and want to keep our great buildings, green spaces kept intact. Would love to know what these clear lines of reporting are too cos they dont transate very well to us! Do tell? All you seem to do is deliver half baked ideas that no one wants or votes for!

  6. Hmmm.... Says:

    @AndyCapp...I can only agree with you about the situation surrounding the youth the "consultation" can be done after the majority of the staff have taken vs/vr is beyond me...whilst I understand that the budget left the brass some "difficult" decisions,the way this has been dealt with is most certainly not "their finest hour."

  7. Andrea Says:

    Re my previous post. Sorry if I did not make myself clear. I would like you, Sir Richard, to qualify your statement, which seems an insensitive one.
    I note you are very selective in what you respond to but I do think that it would be valuable for us to understand what you mean by 'so far, we've only done the easy bit'. Please do not post a facetious or arrogant response. Remember that you are accountable to me as a Manchester Council Tax payer and voter and that your decisions affect my life.

  8. Nowt New, Then... Says:

    I didn't interpret Sir Richard's comment as insensitive - I think that I understood his meaning as it was intended. Understandable given meanings of the 'easy' word. (E.g. "Agreeing to have my sick old dog euthanised was the easy bit, I had no choice, but it broke my heart.")

    Prior to the December Settlement recall Sir Richard and the Unions agreed an incremental transformation of services, and cash savings over several years including through 'natural staff turnover'. After the December settlement the Council HAD to achieve massive cash savings 'now', mainly through rapid reductions in staff numbers in 2011/2012. Therefore the 'how to do it' was not difficult ('the easy bit' as he put it). However, still a very painful decision, and Sir Richard has said as much many times. The Council has also had to accelerate very difficult 'transformation' planning towards an actual implementation this year. Significant impact on so many remaining staff, services, and service users. Surely this will be the 'hardest bit' to come?

    (As a Blog, and not a discussion forum, Sir Richard can't reply to every comment posted here, nor should he, it would be simply ridiculous. In terms of your insistence upon a response, did you add your email address to your comment? Email Sir Richard with your concerns, adding "Remember that you are accountable to me as a Manchester Council Tax payer and voter and that your decisions affect my life.", and I'm sure that he'll be your very humble public servant...)

  9. Andrea Says:

    @Nowt New, Then...

    Thank you for your didactic response and I am sure Sir Richard is pleased to see he has such a zealous defender. My point was that the cutting of jobs and services should never be referred to as 'easy', especially not by someone who claims to have taken such action reluctantly.
    I am within my rights to call his remark insensitive because it was. I am within my rights to ask him to respond, he is very quick to do so on some matters (see blog 'A Manchester Model?')
    He is a grownup and does not need you to answer for him, he can speak for himself...when it suits him to do so.



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

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