Manchester City Council

Resolutions and Predictions

Happy New Year and welcome to the first blog of 2015. You're probably heartily fed up of all the predictions and resolutions that have filled the pages and screens of virtually every media outlet over the last few weeks so I won't add to them here. What I might talk about are some of the considerable challenges Manchester faces over the next twelve months, a year when, from a local government perspective at least, the upcoming General Election creates even more uncertainty than usual.

Everything is underpinned by the economy and we very much need to keep our economy growing, creating good jobs, and doing what we can to ensure Manchester residents have the skills and aptitudes to get those jobs. Over the last few years we have done an enormous amount of work to demonstrate the link between worklessness and a whole range of social policy issues - child poverty, poor mental health, criminality, substance abuse etc. The evidence says that the more we can get people into work and keep them there the fewer social issues we will have to deal with. It's not a universal panacea but it is the biggest single thing we can do to address deep seated deprivation and all its consequences.

We have another extremely difficult budget to manage. Since we started the ( still ongoing ) consultation on the 2015/16 budget we have received some good news in the form of an £11m Airport dividend but that hardly compensates for a provisional financial settlement from central government which reduces funding from them by £51m and makes no allowance for other factors like inflation and demographic change. On Thursday the Council's Executive Members will be publishing an update on our thinking around the budget in the form of a draft budget, taking account of the additional information now available. These are still some way from being decisions but does allow the consultation to continue on the basis of up-to-date information before we make our final recommendations to Council on February 13th.

The two paragraphs above lead to a third challenge, that of public service reform and devolution. If we are to not only survive and thrive in the current environment we need far greater control over our own future and we need the power to deliver public services in a completely new, locality based and integrated way. Greater Manchester has made enormous progress in this direction but in 2015 the pace of change needs to accelerate significantly if we are to meet our objectives for a better city benefitting all its citizens.

There is one response to “ Resolutions and Predictions”

  1. Shades of grey Says:

    Here's a couple of predictions...The city centre will continue to rush headlong into becoming a bland,characterless capitalist carbon copy of everything bad about London....and "public sector reform" will finally be referred to by its real title of "public sector privatisation."



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

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