Happy New Year

 

The first blog of 2016 and traditionally a time to speculate on what the New Year will bring. I've often thought that being a futurologist might be quite an interesting career but it’s not the job I've got and I really need to be concentrating, not on predicting the future but on creating the future. A little later today I will be talking with the Fulbright scholars conference, taking place this year in Manchester and that has caused me to reflect on the changes that have taken place over the last 35 years in the city - the journey from a dying old industrial city to a modern, dynamic and growing city. Growing yes, but we clearly still have a way to go to wholly reverse that long period of decline which only really bottomed out less than twenty years ago.

The mission hasn't changed over that period, and at its heart we need to continue to create more jobs with decent pay and conditions and ensure that Manchester people have the skills and aptitudes to benefit from that job growth. The Council has to provide a lead to all sectors but at the same time will be grappling with even more budget reductions. Although not as severe as they might have been, they compound earlier enormous cuts, and make it increasingly difficult to take a balanced position to the budget that allows us to give adequate support to the most vulnerable in our communities, whilst at the same time both grow our economy and take effective action to reduce the number of people becoming highly dependent. Devolution is not a magic bullet that will eliminate that tension in one shot but it will help enormously, particularly in allowing us to take a more joined up approach to early intervention and prevention.

It will undoubtedly be another tough year, but we can still ensure a better Manchester at the end of the year than at the beginning.

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