Manchester City Council

End of the Line


There was a terrible start to the week with the news that Thomas Cook had gone into administration with the loss of thousands of jobs, including around 3000 jobs in Greater Manchester. The evidence we have says that much of the company was financially viable and that if the UK government had acted like its counterpart in Germany, it and many of those jobs could have been saved. As it is Council staff, Job Centre+, and the Growth Company jumped immediately into action to try and get as many as we can of those that have lost their jobs back into work as soon as possible.

The week got worse. The Supreme Court ruling, the return of MPs to parliament, and the subsequent chaos saw national government descending to a new low. Apart from anything else, the language used, in a country already bitterly divided, only served to fuel that division. Contrast Greater Manchester. At today's Combined Authority meeting we were able to celebrate some of the things achieved through devolution. Now whilst politics and political debate here can be very robust, our devolution deals were only achieved because at crucial times politicians were able to work together across geographies and across party political boundaries in pursuit of common aims.

Enough doom and gloom. I've been campaigning for integrated, regulated public transport for years. In June this year the CA received an assessment of the best options for improving our bus services which concluded we should move to a London-style franchising system. Today we published the report of an independent audit of that assessment which gave an unqualified opinion that the assessment had been properly conducted. This will be considered by a special CA meeting a week Monday with a recommendation that we now move to public consultation. It is a slow, tortuous process but we are step-by-step moving towards that planned, integrated network with single-ticketing, fair- caps and all the other things London Transport never lost.

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

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