Manchester City Council

And Now For Something Completely Different

Had the unusual experience ( for me ) of spending the full day in London yesterday. Was on the 7am train down which was running early until just outside Euston when we had the not unusual experience of sitting outside waiting for a free track for ten minutes. Lack of capacity now - just imagine what it will be like twenty years hence and that's why we need HS2. Early appointments were Manchester Airport related before moving on to the Local Government Association.

Star turn at the LGA Council meeting was Louise Casey providing an update on the Troubled Families programme and giving a very impassioned exhortation to local authorities to continue taking the lead in turning round the lives of our most difficult and in public service terms most expensive families. Greater Manchester was one of a number of areas singled out for praise and this work is at the heart of our public service reform agenda. The LGA Council was quickly followed by the LGA Executive which stayed on the public service reform theme as it started with a presentation on integration of Health and Social Care before moving on to community cohesion. This is something that will grow as an issue over the next twelve months in the lead up to next year's European Parliamentary elections when a number of political groupings will be competing to tell the biggest whoppers about how many Bulgarians and Romanians are going to flood the country.

Late afternoon I met with Core Cities Cabinet colleagues for a session with Ed Miliband, Hilary Benn, Jon Cruddas, and Helen Jones discussing the policies required to ensure that our city-regions are able to play their full and essential part in delivering growth and jobs and public service reform. We meet similarly with government ministers particularly Cities Minister Greg Clarke, and indeed one of our suggestions to Ed was that he should appoint a Shadow Cities Minister.

Then some fun. Met up with my daughter who took me to see Spamalot. Don't make a habit of dragging my family into the blog as they didn't stand for election but the point here is that this meant staying overnight. Had to be on the 6.55am train back to Manchester, so stayed in a hotel near Euston ( at my expense - I know somebody will ask ). Don't know how London hotels get away with it. They're nearly always one star worse than their Manchester equivalents but can still charge twice as much. As always, was very happy to be on that train heading back up the West Coast mainline.

Make a comment

There are 9 responses to “ And Now For Something Completely Different”

  1. franky Says:

    What about the Northern Region? Such an entity could revive unemployment in the North and make us more indendependent from London!!

  2. Bruce Badger Says:

    We don't need HS2, what we need is that money spent on existing infrastructure, like more platforms at Euston perhaps? Or improved services to northern towns from Manchester? Or an number of other rail improvements which would be much, much better value than HS2.

  3. Tim Says:

    Echoing what Bruce says, better links between northern cities would be far more welcome than HS2. Faster trains to and from London just help further prioritise the capital. Maybe just invest in some extra rolling stock to improve capacity on the existing network. The main cause of the capacity issues are that the private rail operators have little incentive to invest in rolling stock. Privatisation is to blame. Of course labour promised to renationalise but completely failed to do so when they had the chance.

    Alternatively, just imagine what that kind of money could achieve towards a comprehensive joined-up cycle network around a city like Manchester (rather than some isolated proposed improvements along Oxford Road). Making cycling possible and appealing for a much wider demographic could have benefits relating to health, the environment, as well as making the city less congested and more pleasant to live in. HS2 can't begin to compete with those varied benefits.

  4. hoteladvisor Says:

    Sir Richard - for London hotels.. use priceline and book a 4 star hotel for example at the cost of a premier inn, worth looking at, if you book it in an area like westminster you are sure to get a decent one..

  5. Bill Raymond Says:

    Simplest way to increas erail capacity? Convert under-utilised first class carriages to standard.
    And then increase platforms at Euston - much better value than HS2 which will suck wealth out of the NW.

  6. toBill Says:

    they are going to increase number of platforms in Euston FYI

  7. Mr X Says:

    A further 10% cut to Local Govt. resources.
    HS2 may cost £10bn (that's ten billion... more...£10,000,000,000).
    A bit like building a conservatory when your house is subsiding.

  8. Mr X Says:

    Should read:
    HS2 may cost £10bn more (that's ten billion... more...£10,000,000,000).
    Taking it to £42bn.
    Hm the Digital Age and £42bn on Victorian Technology.

  9. Peter Copping Says:

    I travel on that train at least once a month and have never been held up outside Euston. And they are usually a few minutes early.

    Lots of cash is being spent on the connections with Leeds and Sheffield and my mate a signalling engineer spends the occasional Sunday in the tunnels choosing where to put them!



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

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