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The Grouch 21/10/10

Liverpool axes MIPIM cash; spending review reaction; best of East Manchester and mixed messages in jobs survey

Published on October 21st 2010.

The Grouch 21/10/10

Liverpool’s yacht grounded
Liverpool is out of it but Manchester is still a dominant force. Not the Premiership, but MIPIM, the annual property extravaganza that takes place in the South of France every March.

Liverpool City Council has decided to pull its £150,000 funding to concentrate on promoting the city in the UK and specifically London. That means no yacht for our North West neighbours this year. Manchester ditched the yacht a couple of years ago but The Grouch understands that the number of private sector sponsors is already up on last year, with more than 20 signed up.

That private sector support effectively pays for Manchester’s involvement, with Marketing Manchester looking after the organisation and administration side of things.But where will that leave our friends at Peel Group this year? Last year, Peel buddied up with Liverpool and was overhead by a close friend of The Grouch proclaiming that Manchester was ‘done’.

But the biggest buzz of last year’s MIPM was what came after it. The Grouch was wondering why so many delegates decided to hang around a few days after the event. To catch some more sun? Probably. The Grouch is sure that a hardcore porn exhibition loading in to the exhibition centre the day after MIPIM moved out had nothing to do with it.


CSR Manchester – the reaction
The Government’s spending review was interesting viewing. A couple of points. Osborne performed reasonably well at the dispatch box, although he threw out a lot of numbers with very few comparatives. His Labour equivalent, Alan Johnson, was a total mess, and sounded like he was making up the party’s response on the hoof. Maybe he was.

The biggest issue of local significance was the 7.1 per cent year-on-year decrease to local councils. Only time will tell if Manchester City Council’s pledge that it won’t compromise the delivery of frontline public services is true or not.

Here’s the reaction from some of the city’s leading business bods:

Forum of Private Business:
“The government can go further to create an even playing field on tax for small firms. The forum is backing the departmental reforms providing they save money for small businesses as well as the government by streamlining the UK’s complex tax system. For too long, large companies have been able to exploit tax loopholes and avoid paying tax at the expense of small firms. This simply has to stop if SME growth and job creation is to drive sustained economic recovery. “

Prof Colin Talbot, Prof Public Policy and Management at Manchester Business School:
"University funding is essentially being privatised. I can see at least one North West university perishing."

Stephen Chalcraft, head of real estate and public sector at Pannone:
"Big conflicts here in terms of procurement between the local agenda and drive for collective purchasing."

John Ashcroft, chief executive of Pro-Manchester:
"It's a benchmark day. The waiting is over, and uncertainty has been inhibiting growth."All the nonsense about back from the brink of bankruptcy can be put to bed. It’s not as bad as we thought, there's going to be spending on schools and hospitals."

Mike Harrison, partner in the Manchester office at Saffery Champness:
“The message is clear – the government continues to crack down on tax evasion and sees huge potential to generate revenue from such measures. Anyone with undeclared income or unpaid taxes, on- or off-shore, would be well-advised to come forward and negotiate a settlement with HMRC.”


Six of the best
Six East Manchester companies have been short-listed for The EnterPrize Awards, an annual competition now in its fifth year.

The awards, organised by urban regeneration company New East Manchester , are worth £10,000 to the winner, the approximate cost of one lock of Sheikh Mansour’s hair.

The six businesses include Project Simply and Sunde Technologies, both based at The Sharp Project, FC United and 4D Creative based at Hope Mill in Ancoats, Pedal Precision at the Manchester Velodrome in Clayton and Key for the City in Miles Platting.

One candidate will also pick up the East Manchester Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. This award is sponsored by One Central Park (OCP), University of Manchester Incubation company (UMIC and Manchester Science Park (MSP).

Eddie Smith, Chief Executive of urban regeneration company New East Manchester Ltd, said: " These six companies were selected for the final stage because they all showed high growth potential and a clear demonstration of how the prize money could make a significant difference to the company both in terms of growth or job creation.”


Survey finds positive outlook on jobs
According to a survey by office provider Regus, almost a third of companies are looking to increase their workforce in 2011.

The survey canvassed 69 ‘senior business people’ in Manchester – although frustratingly, Regus’ PR people couldn’t give a breakdown of what sectors there were in - asking them about their current revenue performance, profitability, projected future revenues and their wider expectations of national economic growth. Sixty-two per cent of companies were expecting revenues to rise in the coming 12 months.

Tellingly, however, 40 per cent of companies in the city are still looking to reduce their overheads through other means than reducing staff – which often means reducing pay or cutting hours. Job preservation comes at as price, after all.

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