Council Leader Cllr Bev Craig has reflected on her first 100 days in the post after passing the milestone.
Cllr Craig became leader on 1 December 2021, succeeding Sir Richard Leese, and set out her priorities as tackling the housing crisis and building the homes the city needs, tackling poverty and inequality, getting the basics right to ensure the services people need in their neighbourhoods work well and driving forward the Council’s work to cut carbon emissions and combat climate change.
On the housing front, This City – a council development company which will deliver up to 500 new homes a year, many available at accessible rents – has been launched and work has started on schemes including Silk Street in Newton Health, where 69 low carbon social homes are being built and a planning application for the next stage of Victoria North (a scheme which will see 15,000 new homes – at least 20% affordable) built over the next 10-15 years) is imminent.
Work is also well advanced on a new housing strategy which will accelerate the delivery of social and affordable housing.
Cllr Craig has set out a plan for Manchester to become a Real Living Wage city and the Council will ensure that from 1 April all externally commissioned care workers are paid the Real Living Wage, following on from previous moves to pay it to all council care staff and homecare workers.
The Council’s anti-poverty plan has been refreshed and the latest budget commits £34m of spending with the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector to help support Manchester residents. An inequalities task force is being established to come up with a citywide plan to tackle historic inequalities.
Free school meals have been extended across the Easter Holidays, funded by the Council in the absence of central government funding.
In zero carbon work, the Council’s Climate Change Action Plan has been praised by Climate Emergency UK as one of the best local authority plans in the country and progress has been made on the decarbonisation of key public buildings, the Council’s £1m tree planting programme Tree Action MCR and plans to purchase a solar farm. The new £23m Mayfield Park, the city centre’s first new park in a century which will open this autumn, is well advanced. Altogether it has been revealed that the Council has so far assembled £192m, much of it external funding, to support its climate change ambitions.
Extra spending has been targeted in the latest budget to support improvements to street cleaning and youth services.
Cllr Craig has also carried out a programme of visits to partners and community organisations and is visiting every ward in the city with senior officers to understand grassroots issues.
Cllr Craig said: “Being the leader of Manchester City Council is a privilege. I was determined to hit the ground running. I’m pleased with what we’ve been able to achieve in these first 100 days and inspired by the commitment to the city shown by so many people I’ve met. Listening to aspirations and concerns of Mancunian is critical.
“I’ve also been proud to stand up for our city – taking Manchester’s seat at the table in Greater Manchester, nationally and internationally and fighting the city’s corner.
“I’m under no illusion how much there remains to do to create the thriving and inclusive world class city which we want Manchester to be but we have strong foundations, vision and determination. The months ahead promise to be exciting as well as challenging.”