Looking forward to a half day doing the Wigan Deal training this morning which I might report on next week. In the meantime I thought I would mention a couple of other noteworthy items from the last couple of days.
Last week, Manchester Airport Group published its half year results, including an interim dividend 20% up on the previous year. The Manchester Evening News continues to describe this as a windfall. It isn't!
Just over three years ago the ten Greater Manchester councils decided to bring in an equity partner, buy an under-performing airport, Stansted, and invest in it to improve its performance. The result so far for Manchester City Council is a tripling of our dividend receipts - pretty important in the current fiscal climate - but definitely not a windfall.
Part of that increased return comes from growth at Manchester Airport itself, and that means jobs. Not necessarily jobs with the Airport itself, but with the airlines, their suppliers, and the increasing number of companies based around the airport. This week local residents are being given first look at two and a half thousand vacancies around the airport. That's the end result of Councils prepared to invest in the future of our city region.
On Wednesday, the government announced the new operators for the Northern and Transpennine rail franchises. Some three years ago Northern local authorities started work on taking local control over the franchises. We're not quite there yet, but our involvement led to a transformational franchise specification, a specification exceeded by the successful bids. More trains, better trains, bigger trains, better stations, smart ticketing - and jobs.
Historically the North has struggled with the notion of one voice. We've preferred petty rivalries. Now we are beginning to speak with one voice, to act together, we are already beginning to make an enormous difference to our economic prospects. And yes, that means more jobs across the North.