Manchester City Council

Soft Landings

A wretched comment on the last post from Scrooge's mate Bob, referring to most people being back in work on January 3rd. For the record I didn't come back into the office until January 4th, though with the wonders of modern technology much of my " paper " work can now be done from pretty much anywhere in the world. However the requirements of public service meant that many Council staff were working throughout the Christmas and New Year period including on Christmas Day, and the same is true for many other parts of the public sector. I don't think there is any thing like enough appreciation of the commitment of many of our staff, and I'd like to say thank you to all of our staff working when the rest of us were enjoying our Christmas pud.

Spent Wednesday morning at the Economy, Employment and Skills Overview and Scrutiny Committee who held their meeting at the CIS building. Got to the building dead on the dot of ten, the starting time for the meeting, but still managed to be around ten minutes late on account of lifts that made the prospect of walking up to the twenty fourth floor an increasingly attractive prospect. There were interesting reports from from the Economic Commission on the Greater Manchester Economic Forecasting Model, and from Marketing Manchester, but undoubtedly the highlight was a presentation looking at a vast array of activity taking place in the city aimed at boosting jobs and getting Manchester people into jobs.

Just one of a number of major projects referred to in the presentation was the Airport City Enterprise Zone. I'm always a little wary of mentioning the Airport here, as it does tend to rouse my antipodean friend to make comments that have nothing to do with the post. I'll take that risk today as yesterday we saw the formal launch of the EZ by the person I introduced as the MP for the Southern tip of Runway 2, though he's now slightly better known as the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Airport City seeks to replicate the success of similar projects elsewhere in the world by attracting new companies to Manchester where proximity to an international transport hub is important, and to develop and grow Manchester businesses trading internationally who would benefit from being close to the airport. There will be some niche elements, not least the Medipark adjacent to Wythenshawe Hospital. The key element though is about growing business and growing jobs, not simply, as the old-style enterprise zones were rightly criticised for, businesses moving jobs around to benefit from the tax breaks but without adding anything extra to the economy. Airport City has good prospects for making rapid progress, and growth in business rates in the enterprise zone will be retained and re-invested for at least twenty five years in the whole of the Greater Manchester economy.

There are 12 responses to “ Soft Landings ”

  1. John Says:

    Actually, I think you'll find Council and Public Sector workers that work over the closedown is very much in the minority. It's not about a lack of appreciation, it's about there being nothing to appreciate.

    I have Worked as a private sector employee seconded into a company with council employees, I saw all to often the 'commitment' of a section of the public sector.

    There is absolutely no need to close down as long as public sector workers do, on top of all their other benefits too. None at all, every other sector are working.

    Admittedly, some staff are in over the closedown given that their role is one that demands it - but they shouldn't necessarily earn an added level of recognition for that if their role demands them to do so. A demand they were aware of one starting the role.

    I think the closedown simply comes from the fact that most money in the public sector is not earned but rather handed out from Central Government. Whereas Private Sector companies have to earn every bit that they spend, more now than ever. It's why the public sector was so wracked with expenses fraud (no one cares when the taps always on), why you can take 30+ holidays a year plus a closedown period over Christmas, plus bank holidays, plus some councils get flexi-time...

    I am sickened how Councils keep turning around stating all the good and all the hard work they do when and claim they are hard done by. Look out the window at the private companies and the publics worsening situations, one that you and the public sector are perpetuating!

  2. worker Says:

    John - you are so out of touch it is scary.
    There is no 'close down'. You are simply wrong. Apart from bank holidays you have to take well earnt leave (or do you think my 25 days a year are an extravagance). Your comments are just ridiculous, what do you think people in the public sector do, just sit around? Just grow up and have a little respect.

  3. Suzanne Says:

    Does John really believe that ensuring that our roads are gritted during the holiday period so we can all get to where we are going safely to celebrate with family and friends is nothing to appreciate? Are the social workers and care workers who are protecting and looking after vulnerable children at Christmas nothing to appreciate? Are the Doctors and Nurses working over the holidays saving people’s lives nothing to appreciate?
    Not only – according to John – are they nothing to appreciate they are also the blame for the economic crisis and the cutbacks we are all having to face. This demonization of the public sector is getting very weary and isn’t based on fact. The majority of public service workers earn less than £22,000 a year, and 20% of them – more than 1.5 million in total – earn less than £7 an hour. The average pension for a local government worker is about £4,000 a year, or £1,600 for women.
    Forgive me if I am wrong but it was irresponsible borrowing and lending in the private sector that caused this crisis – in 2008 household debt was 109% of GDP, and corporate debt almost 300%.

    The UK still spends less (21% of GDP) on public services and social security than France (29%), Germany (27%), Italy (25%), or Sweden (29%). Before this crisis, total UK public debt was less than 40% of GDP – lower than other comparable economies and lower than it was in 1997. I think the figures speak for themselves!

    Also John, the millions of public sector workers in this country that you refer to are also the ‘public’ and pay their taxes and contribute to the economy just like the rest of us!

  4. E Says:

    I agree completely with 'worker'. There is indeed no 'closedown period'. For instance our MCC team is forced to work over Christmas to cover the office. Anyone who is lucky enough to have the middle 3 days off has to book it from their entitlement (I also get 25 days).

    John - if you firmly believe your comments of there being 'nothing to appreciate' over the Christmas break, kindly answer me this: What if Manchester was suddenly coated in a few feet of snow, who would be gritting the roads? What about the licencing officers, street cleaners, parking attendants who carry on no matter the weather?

  5. Ian Says:

    Just for John

    Since the country is in such a state could you explain how we managed to get in such a state. Was it the public sector workers grabing loads of holidays or was it those stars in your eyes the Banks and bank workers who just for the record don't work in the Public sector. John if you don't like your job move then, just remember when you get old whos going to be looking after you, yes Public service workers.

  6. Passemourtout Says:

    Just to wade in on John’s side for a second. I am a public sector worker who was in over Christmas and to be honest there was no need to be there. It was dead as a dormouse. Yes, maybe if you were a gritter or a binman you might have something to do, but I can honestly say in the offices I was in, there was no phone calls, very few emails and a distinct frustration that we were needlessly in. The truth of the matter is that some people, probably aware of the lack of activity, do come in just to preserve annual leave (knowing how rubbish telly is and wanting to avoid seasonal visitors) and know full well that there won’t be much going on. This public / private sector battle is all very good, but let’s at least be honest about what it is we do. When I did come back in the New Year, I did loads because people you need to talk to are back to take queries etc. I do think that John made some troll comments in his comments but some of what he had to say was valid. Saying that I went to a café the other day and the staff were idle and inattentive – so the private sector isn’t always best – but they can probably be sacked quicker. Overall the public sector on balance will have a more relaxed approach – let’s not be dishonest and say otherwise.

  7. Bob Cratchet Says:

    Wretched comment? Your first blog of the year was Monday 9th of January, it didnt mention anything about the previous week. There was an 18 day gap between your blogs over Xmas - people can draw their own conclusions.

    It's been said here before, but if you do not like criticism, then do not invite comments!

  8. Mr X Says:

    @Passemourtout - I am certain there were many office workers in the private sector in the same position having come in to work on the three days between Xmas and NY. No phone calls, not much to do and saving annual leave. Works both ways.

  9. nodrog56 Says:

    I have a theory as to why Bob Crachett is being so grumpy about this xmas leave thing. Could it be that Tiny Tim has just had a Fairer Charging Assessment and he is vexed about the increase in costs for the service he receives? It has certainly caused ructions amongst the families who use the service I work for. In fact a number of them have decided they no longer wish to use the service at that price. I'd like to think that they have found something else they wish to do, but I suspect this is not the case.

    Anyway, Buck up Bob, we look to you to be the spirit of xmas cheer no matter how reduced our circumstances may become!

  10. E Says:

    @ Bob Cratchet - I thoroughly enjoy reading the blog, but I don't think we can expect Sir Richard to update it daily... first off you'd probably then be first to moan that the leader has nothing better to do!!

    Keep up the good work Sir Richard, and up that leftover yule log to brighten your day :-)

  11. Passemourtout Says:

    Mr X - Good for you and I agree with your view that the same is true of the private sector. Let's not wear our hair coats, at Christmas everything slows down for everyone. Better to be truthful about it than to pretend we are all super productive.

  12. Son of Thatcher Says:

    Private sector companies do NOT "earn every bit they spend". Market failures are pervasive. You only have to look at the banking sector, energy companies, train operating companies or house builders to know that profit and reward is very often not commensurate with output or effort or service or quality. As a result inefficiencies, incompetence and exploitation abound. Having worked in the private sector I have born witness to this myself.

    There is no such thing as perfect competition, therefore there is no such thing as a perfectly efficient private company; the tendency of firms to aim for oligopoly or monopoly virtually ensures quite the opposite effect in fact.



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

Recent posts