Thursday 4th October, 2017.
Full Council Meeting yesterday. A highlight was a presentation from the Chair of the Age Friendly Manchester steering group, Elaine Unegbu, followed by a great speech from our lead member on this, Councillor Sue Cooley, and later in the day a refreshed Age Friendly Manchester strategy was launched over in the Art Gallery. Building on the strengths older people bring to our city rather than seeing them as a problem is at the heart of the Age Friendly approach and is of course very much in line with the Our Manchester approach.
Later in the Council meeting we debated public sector pay and then police cuts. Very timely and with a clear message. Public services and public service workers cannot take any more cuts, any more austerity.
Taxi drivers staged a very noisy demonstration over dinner time, not aimed at the Council, but the Conservative Party conference just down the road. They were highlighting a very real problem, that of taxis and private hire vehicles and drivers licensed elsewhere being able to legally operate as private hire in Manchester, and our licensing officers having no power over them whatsoever. For example, there are almost twice as many hackney carriages licensed in Rossendale as there are in Manchester. Not many of them actually operate in Rossendale. The day before, I'd met with the Deputy Mayor of London responsible for transport ( who comes from Middleton ) who face the same problem but the solution does require new legislation. There is a private members bill going before parliament on this and hopefully government will adopt it and we can do something about these pirates.
Also on Tuesday, I went to the launch of the Journeys Festival which is taking place in Manchester until the 15th October. It's an Arts Festival but one that celebrates the art of refugees and asylum seekers. It is a fantastic programme and returning to the theme I started with, it's an example of the strengths many refugees and asylum seekers bring to our city, rather than seeing them as a " problem ".