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Council Propose Major Job Losses With New Budget

Manchester City Council statement as the cuts get deeper

Written by . Published on January 16th 2013.


Council Propose Major Job Losses With New Budget

THIS IS MANCHESTER CITY COUNCIL'S PRESS RELEASE ABOUT THE CURRENT ROUND OF PROPOSED BUDGET CUTS. WE'VE PRODUCED IT HERE IN ITS ENTIRETY - FOR THE SAKE OF COMPREHENSIVENESS. LATER TODAY CONFIDENTIAL WILL BE TALKING TO SIR RICHARD LEESE ABOUT THEM.

MANCHESTER City Council has published its proposed budget for 2013/14, setting out how it will address a £40 million funding shortfall over the next financial year, rising to around £80m in 2014/15.

The Council's financial position, and proposals for dealing with it, are set out in a series of reports to be considered by its Executive when it meets on Wednesday 23 January.

The Council has already had to make £170m of savings between 2011 and 2013. Now, following the latest financial settlement from central government, the Council must address a further funding gap of around £80m by 2014/15 

The £80m is accounted for by a combination of around £50m in central funding cuts and £30m in unavoidable cost pressures caused by factors such as inflation, a growing population – with extra demands on services for older people, people with learning disabilities and those with mental health and physical disabilities for instance - and increased levies on the council from transport and waste disposal authorities which the settlement from government does not take into account.

In the financial settlement for 2011-13, Manchester was the fifth hardest hit local authority in the country despite having the fourth highest level of deprivation. This time round, using the government's own Spending Power calculation (which understated the real level of cuts) a reduction of 8.2 per cent over the two years 2013-15 – has been handed the biggest percentage cut of any of England's core cities (the eight largest cities outside London), the biggest in Greater Manchester and the largest of any large metropolitan area outside the capital.

(The savings needed identify c830FTE reductions (c11% of the workforce) with a value of c£24m, resulting in c30% of total savings).

Manchester viewManchester view

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: "Manchester has again been one of the places hit the hardest by the government's financial settlement.

"It is inescapable that the funding gap we have been left with, coming as it does on top of the severe budget reductions imposed on us in the previous two years, means the Council has to make very real cuts and at the same time make fundamental changes to the way it operates.

"There are glimmers of light in the gloom through new and innovative ways of working and through some well planned investment. Imaginative restructuring of services to promote better integration will mean better outcomes for many of our most vulnerable residents.

"We are absolutely committed to doing the best we can for Manchester residents and the businesses that provide jobs for them given the extremely difficult hand we have been dealt. Our priorities remain to support and protect the most vulnerable residents while continuing to show leadership by investing in the future to promote the economic growth, job creation and skills development which will underpin the city's future success."

It is proposed that as part of the budget package the Council Tax freeze will end.

Council Tax revenue is used to fund city council services and levies for waste disposal and transport. The financial position after the latest settlement means the Council can no longer absorb the rising cost of the levies and is proposing to fund part of the increase through Council Tax. However, the increase is being kept as low as possible and the amount of Council Tax used by the Council to support its own budget will actually decrease by 2.45 per cent.

The impact of the levies, though, will mean a Council Tax increase of 3.7 per cent in 2013/14, excluding police and fire precepts. This would be equivalent to around a £2.68 a month increase for an average Manchester council taxpayer. As part of the proposals, it is planned to offer 12 monthly payments rather than the current 10 to help spread the cost.

Manchester has frozen its Council Tax for the last three financial years and has kept any increases at or below inflation for more than a decade, leaving it with one of the lowest average council taxes in the country. Even taking into account the proposed rise, it would remain one of the lowest average bills nationally.

For Neighbourhood Services, savings of £12m have been identified for 2013-15. The service remains committed to supporting safe, clean and sustainable neighbourhoods with a high quality, accessible network of facilities such as parks, libraries, leisure centres and other sports facilities.

An analysis of swimming pool usage in the city shows that excluding school use and lessons, the average number of users is low. Experience from elsewhere shows that a smaller number of well-located modern facilities should increase usage.

The Council will make a one-off capital investment of £10 million in modern replacement facilities for Chorlton/Withington (to open at Hough End in spring 2015) and Levenshulme (to open spring 2015) alongside an already-funded new pool in Beswick (to open autumn 2014).

However, under the proposals four of the current Manchester pools – Broadway, Levenshulme, Miles Platting and Withington – will close in 2013. All are old and in poor condition and the move would avoid high ongoing maintenance and running costs. Chorlton Leisure Centre would remain open until a new facility is in place because it is essential to support the school swimming programme for South Manchester.

The Council has invested heavily in libraries in recent years, with 65 per cent of the library network significantly improved. Its library strategy for 2013/15 will ensure that the council meets its obligations to provide a high quality, accessible library service with a network consisting of a transformed Central Library and 13 neighbourhood libraries.

It is proposed to replace six smaller libraries with outreach libraries or community book collections in alternative community premises, with some ICT provision as we have already done in Clayton and Northern Moor and are doing in Barlow Moor. These would be managed by a community group or partner organisation. The libraries affected are Burnage, Fallowfield, Miles Platting, New Moston and Northenden. Levenshulme Library is proposed for closure but a new library facility for Levenshulme will share a building with the new leisure centre.

Some 99.9 per cent of Manchester residents will still be within two miles of a library, and almost 85 per cent within one mile.

It is proposed that lunchtime opening, which had been withdrawn at all libraries in 2011, will be reinstated to the neighbourhood libraries to improve library access.

Among the other proposals are a range of changes designed to increase recycling levels as the amount of waste sent to landfill has significant financial as well as environmental cost. Residents can help by maximising the amount they recycle. Other changes include reducing the frequency of green bin collections from September through to March to fortnightly and reducing the number of free bulky waste collections to one a year.

Also under consideration is either charging to attend annual bonfire events or ceasing to hold them altogether.

It is aimed to more actively pursue bus lane enforcement, with money raised reinvested in environmental, highways and transport improvements. Similarly, we aim to make on-street city centre parking more competitive with new spaces created and parking zone pricing adjusted from June to support improved traffic management. Some prices will go up, balanced by others coming down with a broadly neutral impact on the average charge across the city.

City centre skylineCity centre skyline

However, the biggest changes are in Targeted and Specialist Services. The Council's existing Children's Services and Adults directorates, together with the Public Health function which the council will take on from April this year, will be integrated into one service.

This will enable economies of scale as services integrate the commissioning and delivery of services for families with an emphasis on early intervention and prevention and make the process simpler and clearer for those who receive services. Tackling issues early before more costly interventions are required later will deliver savings and help improve people's life chances.

The proposed 2013-15 savings for this service are £41.5 million after £11.5 million to meet the demands of population growth has been factored into the budget.

The changes are part of a service reform agenda, exemplified by the Manchester Investment Fund, which is improving the co-ordination of services across organisations to ensure that scarce resources are used as effectively as possible to tackle deep-seated issues such as troubled families and save money by helping them turn their lives around.

For the Corporate Core, which includes departments such as finance and personnel, legal, procurement and corporate property, savings of almost £15 million have been identified.

The savings include those which will be achieved by reducing the number of properties which council staff are based, especially as staff move back into the town hall extension which is currently being extensively refurbished to increase its capacity and improve the services delivered from it.

Communications savings will be made through efficiencies, maximising income, reductions to events funding and collaboration with partners, such as Greater Manchester Police on printing. Other savings include a projected £1.44 million on ICT through contract savings and restructuring.

The Council anticipates it will need to lose around 830 full time posts, on top of more than 2,000 lost in the previous two years. It is aiming to avoid compulsory redundancies by achieving this through a programme of voluntary severance and voluntary early retirement.

Councillor Jeff Smith, Executive Member for Finance, said: "The last time we had to make savings on this scale, the severity of the settlement came as a shock. This time we were braced for it and have been planning for some time the new ways of working which will help mitigate against the worst effects of the reduction in our funding and help us plan for the future.

"But those savings come on top of the significant cuts we have already had to make and there is no way to achieve this through efficiencies and innovations alone.

"This has necessitated some painful decisions, not least the proposal to increase Council Tax. We know times are tough for Manchester residents and have consistently kept bills down for more than a decade which is why we have one of the lowest average council taxes in the country. But the severe financial pressures we face mean this is no longer sustainable and we have to look at a rise as part of our package of proposals.

"I'd stress this is just a draft budget and, just as we did last time, we will listen carefully to people's views before putting forward definitive proposals. But this scale of saving is not optional and that means the cost of any changes we make to these proposals will have to be found elsewhere.

”A consultation with residents and businesses on the budget proposals and priorities set out by the Council will be launched immediately. In addition, consultations on a number of specific proposals will be launched from Wednesday 23 January. Click here.

Firmed up budget proposals will be put forward at the Executive meeting on Wednesday 13 February with a definitive budget to be approved at the Council meeting on Wednesday 6 March.

Other notes

In addition to the £68 million savings identified, £10.3 million will be used from reserves to bridge the gap until other expected savings are realised.

Council Tax

While the government has offered a one-off grant equivalent to a one per cent rise to councils which freeze their Council Tax bills, this would only equate to £1.44 million in 2013/14 so it is considered that maintaining the freeze is no longer sustainable. A further freeze now would necessitate another £6m of cuts over the two years 2013-15.

The government has not confirmed that this funding would continue after 2014/15 so if the Council did accept it then there is a risk that higher council tax increases or futher spending cuts might be required in the future to meet the ongoing cost.

The Council Tax bill is made up of three elements: Funding to support the Manchester City Council budget, funding for levies paid for waste and transport and additional precepts charged by the police and fire services.

Although the police and fire precepts have yet to be set, the total increase including precepts will be no higher than 3.9 per cent.Although the government has said that authorities raising their Council Tax by more than two per cent would require a referendum, this is based on the element of the charge used for the council's budget and does not include levies, so no referendum would be triggered.

Live Twitter Q and A

 There will be a live Twitter question and answer session for Manchester residents who have questions about the budget proposals with Manchester City Council leader Sir Richard Leese from 4pm to 5pm this Friday, 18 January. Follow @SirRichardLeese and use the hashtag #asktheleader to take part.

Manchester skylineManchester skyline

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59 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

StephJanuary 16th 2013.

Live twitter Q&A is a great idea but what's the point of having it on a Friday between 4-5pm when council tax payers are in work? Or is that the point?

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 16th 2013.

Or is it so he can get down to Levenshulme to see the picket at the library and swimming pool?

AnonymousJanuary 16th 2013.

Forgot to say it starts at 5.30

DavidJanuary 16th 2013.

In the interests of balance perhaps Manchester Confidential could get some non Labour apparatchik to comment on Manchester Council financial management.Or perhaps the editor might like to question Mr Leese on what he is doing to stop the rampant council tax avoidance that has been going on for years in this city.Something that is just as much morally indefensible as big business and the rich and their tax avoidance.

7 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 16th 2013.

People who are so authoritarian like you make me sick, crying 'bias' and wanting to smooth out the sheer monstrosity and inequality of this Governments Policies. How is it justifiable Manchester's population rose by nearly 20% in last 10 yrs (Census). So why the hell are we the MOST cut city out of the CORE 8 cities and the 5th hardest hit national local authority? Oh, yes, because yet again the Tories know Manchester will never vote them in and so target them relentlessly, overlook the dynamism and strategic greatness owed this city and focuses on protecting the wealthy and safe seat local authorities. What on earth would you like any Mancunian to think about that beyond the PR and spin of the party?

Duke FameJanuary 16th 2013.

David is very right, Manchester still gets more per head from Central government than any other Conservative council. Surely Manchester cannot be that much more inefficient than the competent councils?

AnonymousJanuary 16th 2013.

But there is a reason that deprived authorities receive more per head - needs are greater. For example there are something like 4 times the number of looked-after children per head in Newcastle than in Wokingham but the settlement Newcastle receives barely covers the costs of the current service needs and to compound matters budgets have been hit much harder in Newcastle than in the latter.

The current crop of Tories, like yourself, seem to see the world in a very naive, black-and-white sort of way. On current form they well and truly deserve their characterisation as a party of (and for) only the most privileged in society.

AnonymousJanuary 17th 2013.

Jees David was just suggesting a question that would be worth asking and suggesting to mancon that it would be interesting to see a non labour view on the cuts when they publish a more detailed story. Both are sensible suggestions that do no harm so why have a pop at him?

Duke FameJanuary 17th 2013.

Anonymous, I'm not a Tory as such, more of a liberal but I am still horrified at the old Labour government and the nonsense the lying Ed's spout so to you i'm a tory.

The point you are making is OK but the funding per head that Wokingham gets is far less than say Newcastle & manchester. I belive children have heads.

The major point is that the "deprived authorities" have received far more than the non-deprived authorities so i don't know how deprived they really are. Moreover, this has gone on for many years and is clearly not working very well. Why has Wokingham got responsible hard working people and Manchester hasn't? It's either Mancunians are lazy and backward in comparison or the council are backward and not very good.

AnonymousJanuary 19th 2013.

Lets see if I can put it in simple enough terms that our dynamic duo of Duke and Dave might be able to understand:

If I ran a private consumer-facing company like a restaurant or retail chain, do you not think I might allocate my resources based not just on a per-head population calculation but other factors like demographics, income, local tastes / preferences, demand and need?

Public services are no different. Ergo the needs (and hence per-head costs of public services) of the populace in one of the least deprived parts of the country such as Wokingham are likely to be vastly different to those in one of the most deprived wards like inner city wards up and down the country.

AnonymousJanuary 19th 2013.

The reason that public services cannot on their own eradicate deprivation is because there are other external, structural factors which limit their impact, most prominently the appalling income inequality that is a feature of the UK and US in particular.

It is no coincidence that more egalitarian countries like those in northern Europe are prosperous yet have nothing like the same social problems that we face in this country.

Public services are therefore play an extremely important role in mediating the appalling inequalities people experience in this country, which makes it all the more infuriating that the current government seem to be so blind to the impact of their regressive and ideologically-driven cuts are having on ordinary families.

CobbydalerJanuary 16th 2013.

Would you care to ask Leese to expand on the reasons for refusing the grant to freeze Council Tax? Oh, and while you're at it, do they propose funding any more concerts for their mates? Perhaps they could consider charging retrospectively for the Alicia Keys concert? £425,000 would have been better spent on 'services for older people, people with learning disabilities and those with mental health and physical disabilities'...

8 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 16th 2013.

The answer is here:

"While the government has offered a one-off grant equivalent to a one per cent rise to councils which freeze their Council Tax bills, this would only equate to £1.44 million in 2013/14 so it is considered that maintaining the freeze is no longer sustainable. A further freeze now would necessitate another £6m of cuts over the two years 2013-15.

The government has not confirmed that this funding would continue after 2014/15 so if the Council did accept it then there is a risk that higher council tax increases or futher spending cuts might be required in the future to meet the ongoing cost"

AnonymousJanuary 16th 2013.

And I suspect the answer to the second part of your question is that councils have economic as well as social responsibilities and judged that the concert was a powerful and cost effective way of promoting the city.

CobbydalerJanuary 17th 2013.

So, anonymous, would you care to quantify the benefits to the City of this £425,000 freebie?

CobbydalerJanuary 17th 2013.

So what Leese is saying is that we want to spend more than the freeze will allow. So more people who actually PAY council tax will have to cough up, while the defaulters will continue to get away with it...

Duke FameJanuary 17th 2013.

If that's their judgement Anon, they must be the most stupid egotistical idiots in Manchester.

AnonymousJanuary 17th 2013.

What the council is proposing is keeping some council jobs at the expense of higher council tax. Presumably because the council considers the benefit to the economy of those people still being in work to be greater than the damage to the economy done by the higher taxes.

Duke FameJanuary 19th 2013.

If they think that Anon, they are economically illiterate. Employing people for the sake of it is stupid, it crowds out private employment and investment. Far better that someone is employed in productive sector the by the state.

AnonymousJanuary 19th 2013.

No offence Duke, but do you mind me asking how old you are? Its just that you seem to hold an extremely simplistic world view...

DavidJanuary 16th 2013.

Anonymous who did you think the last Labour government benefited with their settlements?.They looked after their vote just as the Tories would,just as all political parties the world over do,because politics is about gaining and holding power.But what did the Labour council do with this money?.It seems they wasted a lot of it on non productive employment,instead of investing it wisely.
It's true Manchesters poulation increased significantly,but it was not unique in that.It increased of course dramatically because of Labours immigration policies which resulted in less jobs and lower wages for the working class in this city,the very people it was claiming to represent.At least the Tories unlike Labour did not shaft their own voters,like Labour has done.
You also totally avoid the question of tax avoidance in this city.Its wrong that so many people are getting away with paying for local services,while others are forced to pay more,because of this.This is just as wrong as the tax avoidance of the likes of Google or Guardian Media,that make use of tax shelters.
You sound like a Labour cry baby to me.Babbling on about how much support you have in the city.But that support is built on rampant political apathy,expressed in the pathetic voter turn out in the last council elections.The majority of Mancunians have frankly given up bothering to vote at all,including for you.
Finally the creativity of this city comes from the talents,and enterprise of hard working Mancunians, it owes nothing to the efforts of Leese or Stringer.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Duke FameJanuary 16th 2013.

Very well put. I'm not so sure immigration should be a bad thing, it seems that generations of work shy types have hidden behind that excuse.

AnonymousJanuary 17th 2013.

Of course it's unique and is a true phenomena of growth (which of course many of your Blue Bully Boys would probably like to reverse, & moves such a BBC etc, would never have happened under this government)! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-18853714

I am not so dogmatic to think labour is flawless or indeed that I am such a massive advocate. However, the poverty, the suffering and the pain being caused by this government's approach to struggling people is appalling. To have malnourished children, food banks in the city, people being forced to work who can't and examples that disabled are being severely neglected are humanitarian issues that only right wing, incompassionate and those with the slave vs master dictim can deny. Suicides are increasing which I'm sure a charming man like you would argue is a 'benign' form of social clensing. www.guardian.co.uk/…/rise-suicides-blamed-impact-recession…

Tax avoidance! Yes, the corrupt of any power seeking party will remain corrupt but the CORRUPT in the Conservatives have always been a hand in hand phenomena. Remeber the 80s and 90s? This headline says it all - Morally repugnant tax avoiders can rest easy under David Cameron www.guardian.co.uk/…/morally-repugnant-tax-avoiders-david-cameron… Perhaps like Douglas Hogg tried to justify you think the mere surfs should "clean his moat" www.telegraph.co.uk/…/ses-claim-The-letter.html…

Sweetheart, Matthew Sephton came third with 754 – losing his deposit in the process. What is your point about the elections? That people are so apathetic because of corruption in all politics? Yes perhaps. However, I agree with Liverpool's Major that these Government Cuts will predict riots in the North West. www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/…/… Then rigght wingers like you can go all these people are scum, give out disproportional sentences and go and sit and scream about immorality and a broken society whilst breaking it further.

Hardworking Mancunains come in many forms and certainly aren't limited as you infer. It comes to compassion and cohesion. I can afford more and so would give more. The sadness around me is something I find harrowing and I have the compassion and empathy to know the greatest division between rich and poor is a moral injustice and outrage that is unjustifiable while the super rich act like the grim reaper, estranging themselves from social conditions and the concern necessary to be a fair, decent, empathetic and humane being. www.guardian.co.uk/…/pay-gap-rich-poor-widens…

I hope 2015 will be the year we can force the insidious forms of denial, snobbery and hatred like yours further back into a political closet. Why live in Manchester supporting a party who'd gladly ignore it and the very worst, reduce it to tatters? Is it a desire for the slave and master dichotomy on which you see yourself at the top of the pile? You should realize the people who are being hurt by these policies are not lazy lefties and you're solutions and arguments are gross simplifications and denials of the suffering caused by the too rich, too uncaring to struggling people everywhere.

Duke FameJanuary 17th 2013.

@ANONYMOUS - the BBC should move on the grounds of what is good for their business, not for the whim of the central government. I'm assuming costs in London were too high and they could do it cheaper in Manchester.

I'd like to see the BBC privatised and it stop being a drain on society in any case.

The rest of your post is all a bit wibble I'm afraid

Duke FameJanuary 16th 2013.

There was the opportunity to freeze council tax wasn't there, surely the city leader should know about this or is it all about his ego?
There are also hundreds of jobs at the council earning above £50k. £50k for a council job, that is unbelievable, I don't get that and I do a real job that makes money for the country, not some leeching job for failures.

Cut these roles, get rid of the non-jobs and save a bit of money

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 17th 2013.

There is something in the argument some non-essential jobs in the public sector, but very few in this squeeze and agonized sacrifice of public services! The emphasis needs to be on the social and community sector than redundant bureaucracies and top heavy, red tape laden process.

However, this does not excuse the appalling inequality or those highest earners. How much do these people need? Where is there community spirit? Where is their honor? We are heading for the triple dip recession in the worst economic crisis of modern times. To quibble at the deeply suffering public sector as a form of scapegoat to endorse rich millionaires being unable to show humanity is just a form of rhetoric.

I hope the LibDems break up this appalling coalition and get their backbone and strength back to do so.

Duke FameJanuary 16th 2013.

If Richard Leese cannot work to a budget that is far higher per head than almost every other council then perhaps he should consider whether he himself is up to the job that he's handsomely rewarded for. He should have resigned by now for many reasons, at least he can go now without scandal.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 16th 2013.

This has really got Duke Fame frothing at the mouth!

CobbydalerJanuary 16th 2013.

Well said Duke...

AnonymousJanuary 17th 2013.

Duke Fame is just fond of one thing. Himself (and the claptrap emanating from him).

Dave MartinJanuary 17th 2013.

Does anyone have a link to actual subsidy per head from central government, based on the latest census figures? We all know about the PR disasters of non-jobs and jollies but the council provides many essential services with the bulk of its budget. Anyhow I expect the elderly and disabled are going to end up suffering due to these central government cuts. Funny how they still have plenty of money to spend on London infrastructure projects.

7 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 17th 2013.

I know! These bloody right wing people jumping on here and going on about a concert. Yes it was a massive mistake and totally unacceptable but quite how this makes this Government right to be socially irresponsible I just do not know.

The problem is with such dogma there'll always be a tedious response about the error of x, y & z and projecting all this failure on to 'lazy lefties' 'damn trade unionists' or the 'corrupt politics of MCC leaders'. My goodness if it were that simple this mass social experiment would be working! Clearly it isn't.

Yes, corruption and destruction are all around us. But these individuals are only concerned about one thing, their perceived assets and no-one else getting their hands on it. The self-elevation of the ego is a defence mechanism and the likes of Duke Fame can hide behind their psychological defences in order to protect their insecurities and emotional ineptitude.

I am quite sure Richard Lesse et al are not the devil incarnate, as sure am I that the salvation of humankind is not in the petty bigotry of these arguments. There is good and bad in everyone.

Historically, there have been many flaws, many failures in all parties. However the biggest flaw is to advocate this suffering, to advocate the inequality of the politics that effect more deprived area's and the blatantly prevalent biases that go into wealthy and safe Tory Local Authorities over those that are deemed unworthy, unloyal and deserving of punishment.

I absolutely agree with Nick Forbes (Newcastle) www.guardian.co.uk/…/nick-forbes-newcastle-north-south-cuts… This will result in civil unrest www.guardian.co.uk/…/cuts-councils-newcastle-liverpool-sheffield… and I genuinely hope the short sightedness of this North South bias will politically backfire, even in terms of gaining support from voters who could swing to these policies.

Duke FameJanuary 17th 2013.

Yes, even after teh cut, Manchester (disregarding unemployment supplement) gets £713 per head, compared, for example, to £125 per head in Wokingham.

i can't believe that Manchester council staff are so bad that they are so inefficient at doing their job compared to those in Wokingham.

Duke FameJanuary 17th 2013.

Perhaps Manchester should look at Manchester and replicate their methodology

Duke FameJanuary 17th 2013.

SPACEMANDAVE in answer to your question, Wokingham (Conservative) receives the lowest amount of money per head of the population at £125, Hackney (Labour) receives the most £1,043 per head and Manchester (Wasteful) receives £714.

Anon's claim that Conservatives & Lib Dems are somehow looking after their own is wide of the mark.

This overspending has been seen as a solution to problems in deprived areas. Well, it's not improved things has it?

DavidJanuary 17th 2013.

Anonymous please tell us what did Labour do during its decade in power to reverse this southern bias in central government?

Nobody lavished financial TLC more on London than Labour did.Whether it was the obscene expenditure on the Millenuim Dome or the vast spending on the transport structures there.Just compare the spending on transport between London and every other British city and please tell me ONE local Labour MP who ever threatened to resign over it?

I am not a Tory and many of the others writing here questioning the Labour council are not either.We are are just questioning what Labour have done for us here in the north.I think it's time for a change,we need political parties with roots here in the north,who care about the north.Not three political parties all led by leaders from London and the Home Counties.

AnonymousJanuary 19th 2013.

If I ran a private consumer-facing company like a restaurant or retail chain, do you not think I might allocate my resources based not just on a per-head population calculation but other factors like demographics, income, local tastes / preferences, demand and need?

Public services are no different. Ergo the needs (and hence demand for public services) of the populace in one of the least deprived parts of the country such as Wokingham are likely to be vastly different to those in one of the most deprived wards like inner city wards up and down the country.

AnonymousJanuary 19th 2013.

The reason that public services cannot on their own eradicate deprivation is because there are other external, structural factors which limit their impact, most prominently the appalling income inequality that is a feature of the UK and US in particular.

It is no coincidence that more egalitarian countries like those in northern Europe are prosperous yet have nothing like the same social problems that we face in this country.

Public services are therefore play an extremely important role in mediating the appalling inequalities people experience in this country, which makes it all the more infuriating that the current government seem to be so blind to the impact of their regressive and ideologically-driven cuts are having on ordinary families.

CobbydalerJanuary 18th 2013.

But MAG can afford to buy Stansted for £1.5 billion...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21093783

3 Responses: Reply To This...
DavidJanuary 18th 2013.

Where will MAG have its headquarters if that happens.I bet it won't be in Manchester.
You would not get Boris Johnson investing Londons money in Manchesters transport infrastructure.But it seems our glorious leaders prefer to do that,rather than investing to make Manchester a world class airport.

DavidJanuary 18th 2013.

The worst thing about that is its an asset owned entirely by the people of Greater Manchester,yet they intend to sell part of it to private investors to help pay to buy Stansted.If they prepared to dilute public ownership,why are they not doing it to invest in Manchester Airport,which certainly needs it.

DavidJanuary 18th 2013.

The worst thing about that is its an asset owned entirely by the people of Greater Manchester,yet they intend to sell part of it to private investors to help pay to buy Stansted.If they prepared to dilute public ownership,why are they not doing it to invest in Manchester Airport,which certainly needs it.

MANCLOVERJanuary 19th 2013.

Remember MAG contributes heavily to the budgets of all ten boroughs of Grtr Manc... More airports.. more money.. Selling 35% of a smaller pie to have a share of a bigger pie can work....

1 Response: Reply To This...
DavidJanuary 20th 2013.

That's assuming they don't lose money,as lots airports in UK do.

AnonymousJanuary 20th 2013.

So where's Leese's response if you were talking to him on Wednesday?

EditorialJanuary 20th 2013.

It's coming on Wednesday. Thanks

4 Responses: Reply To This...
Duke FameJanuary 20th 2013.

I wouldn't mind betting that you don't have the guts to ask him any of the above points.

Why doesn't he save money b staging more Alicia Keys concerts?
Is he a coward who's playing politics with other people's jobs and money?
Why not cut the waste first?
Does manchester really need a nuclear-free secretariat etc etc
Why not take a cut in salary
Why do we need him & Bernstein
Why does he have more roles earning over 100k in his council than any other authority (in an area which is relatively cheap cost of living)

You will not ask anything because you like o brush his ego so you get invited to all his council events.

DavidJanuary 21st 2013.

What is the point of this interview,if you can call it that.We all know the editor of this website is not going to ask any difficult questions.He is incapable of comprehending the idea that Manchester can be run by anybody else but Labour.

Jonathan SchofieldJanuary 21st 2013.

Hello boys, I'd like to answer these questions but I'm too busy attending council events. Now where is that glass of champagne? Honestly you guys you kill me...Although it would be nice if you used your real identities to create an effective alternative to Labour.

Duke FameJanuary 22nd 2013.

We'll see what hard hitting questions you come up with Jonathan. I'm sure it will not be some grovelling yes-man interview this time.

Poster BoyJanuary 21st 2013.

David's lost his plot again...

DavidJanuary 23rd 2013.

Today is Wednesday and where is Leese?.Or is he no longer speaking to you?.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
Jonathan SchofieldJanuary 27th 2013.

When I get the Lib Dem response it's up.

DavidJanuary 31st 2013.

Since when have you needed Lib Dem response to your interviews with Labour figures?.You didn't bother at the last by election on the grounds that only Labour could win.
This is a very feeble excuse that is wearing thin.

DavidFebruary 1st 2013.

Still waiting

DavidFebruary 1st 2013.

Still waiting.

CobbydalerJanuary 26th 2013.

Still no grilling of Leese...

DavidFebruary 2nd 2013.

Wait long enough and hope people forget what you promised.Sums up Mr Schofield version of journalism.

Barry FlemingMay 26th 2013.

What will be the expenditure on The Manchester Day Parade 2013?

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