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'Unmitigated misery' - budget cuts live feed

@simonbinns tweeting from the council chamber

Published on February 8th 2011.

'Unmitigated misery' - budget cuts live feed


- Richard Leeds welcomes us to a morning of 'unmitigated misery.' I don't know...I got a free coffee.

- Council saving £109m in next year. Among other things, that means no lord mayors reception in 2011.

- Cllr Bernard priest calls cuts 'a list of disaster' for the city.

- Oh, and I meant leese, not Leeds. Damn you predictive text.

- Real sense of anger towards government in council budget meeting this morning.

- @simonbinns just started following @deblinton despite fact she's sat about five seats down. Morning Deborah...

- Bernard priest claims idea that council has £108m 'sloshing around' is 'convenient myth'. Will mostly pay for redundancies.

- So, where will cuts come...? Ok. Adult services - £39.5m; childrens services - £45.1m; neighbourhood services - £31.2m...

- Corporate core (finance/personnel) - £33.9m; voluntary sector grants - 22% down. BUT...new Manchester investment fund worth £37m planned.

- Five libraries to close; as well as public toilets. Except mount street, where you will pay to pee. Expect to see that on a marketing flyer.

- Like your free parking on a Sunday? Tough; that's going too. #mcc

- Essentially, almost every public service in Manchester is up for privatisation #mcc

- @LeanneForshaw I think that was probably designed to find buyers.

- Council will have 'corporate property review'. For review, read sell-off. More iPhones instead of offices too.

- Manchester people and life publications going online only.

- Of 2000 job cuts, 41 per cent will be managers #mcc

- Most job cuts will be in childrens services #mcc

- 11,000 jobs to go in public sector in Manchester, but capacity to create 74,000 jobs in next 5 yrs #mcc

- Final budget will be decided on march 9 #mcc

- Leese reiterates that government is responsible for cuts and financial parameters. #mcc

- SRL says number of redundancy applications the council has had so far suggests the cuts can be made without compulsory redundancies #mcc

- @alunthorne cheers brother.

- In the light of the cuts, I'll be reheating the remaining half of my tax payer-funded coffee.

- @mrjaytaylor five libraries, not six

- End of #mcc budget meeting. Just waiting to grab sir Richard

- Just spoken to Bernard priest. Reckons privatisation 'last resort' for public services. Social enterprise preferred. #mcc

- Priest also says he's confident that inward investment can attract jobs, but perhaps not as many as are lost #mcc

- Sombre mood hanging over the town hall still. Maybe I should lighten things up with a song or dance.

- Overhearing the radio 4 reporter asking council bods for affected organisations for extra cuts quotes. Do your own research!

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

Jonathan Schofield - editorFebruary 8th 2011.

This is what Richard said a year ago. There's bitter irony in it. 'JS: How would you work with a future Conservative government?
SRL: I will be doing everything I can to ensure we don't have a Conservative Government. But when I became leader in 1996 we had a Conservative government so I had to work successfully with that government. I mentioned Hulme regeneration and we worked with the Conservatives on delivering the successes there. I think it will be a lot harder working under a Conservative government, but the one thing that is certain is that they will want to reduce unemployment, they will want to improve education and cut crime, there will be a common agenda.'

Alan DaviesFebruary 8th 2011.

So they're closing all public toilets except for the one in the town hall extension. We wouldn't want anyone taken short to be pissing on the wall of the town hall, would we?

Owen SparkFebruary 8th 2011.

Would it not be simpler/ cheaper/ less stressful, to simply cut the hours of all Council staff, ie if 20% cuts needed, then they work a 4 day week. This would reduce the need to spend loads of money on redundancy for people who will probably be re employed by the Council in 18 months time anyway.
is this a sensible suggestion?

Davey HulmeFebruary 8th 2011.

I think Owen is on to a winner.
Did they not do that in a city in the US recently, and reported greater productivity, happier staff and less sickies?


Well Socialist overspending and lack of bank regulation by the last Blair/Brown governments has come and slapped the City of Manchester in the face and many other councils across he UK too, NOT a surprise ! , , everywhere is taking a hit , its up to the councils now to do a sensible job on implementing these cuts , i am sure we have the calibre of councillors in Manchester to do so.
Im sure every one who is on this site understand the UK is 900 billion in debt and we are paying 120 a million in interest a day, it cant go on , if it did we would be like Greece and see councils having to slash and burn by 75 percent their spending, lets hope these cuts are sensible and don't hurt the poor in Manchester, a city centre parking fee on mainly non Manchester shoppers and shutting libraries (in an internet world) seem a few of the wiser cuts to me.

Simon BinnsFebruary 8th 2011.

Owen, that point was raised actually - the council said the issue was that the savings will come from salaries not people - so for example, getting rid of 100 high earners will save more than 100 low earners. Therefore it is harder to just cut everyone's hours, because the salary savings become less relevant.

AnonymousFebruary 8th 2011.

So we're losing libraries, public toilets, bin collections, parking.... Will these cuts be represented by a reduction in Council Tax then? I mean, we're getting less so we should pay less, right? I know, I know. Not as straight-forward as that, but it's a massive kick in the dick.

Simon BinnsFebruary 8th 2011.

Council tax will be frozen - full piece should be going up this afternoon...

Christopher BryanFebruary 8th 2011.

@The Hard Truth to Swallow. No one argues about the size of the debt and that spending cuts are needed but without any growth the cuts just end up increasing the debt due to lack of tax reciepts.

@Anon. No the savings are going back into the pot to balance the country's books. Even if the savings were passed on you might be looking at a £10 saving per month per bill tops anyway. Not going to make much difference.

Christopher BryanFebruary 8th 2011.

I've had a good read through the proposals and I must say that obviously it's bad news but the plans are intelligent, well thought out and well judged. Cutting on things such as Council magazines and trying to cut back office are always going to be popular choices. Targeting services rather than providing universal activities will also prioritise the most vunerable. I expect youth services maybe able to be taken on by existing voluntary or charitable groups. It doesn't slash and burn regeneration or culture which have been invested in to bring growth over the past 10 years too. Traders will kick off about car parking charges but its a big income generator and that money will help to limit further cuts. Some people will have to travel a few miles extra to swim or visit a library but at least those services are still there. The investment fund sounds like a promising idea too. It's not just about cuts, its about prioriting investment too.

Peter Saville, MayfairFebruary 8th 2011.

Where's my paycheck?

John HarrisFebruary 8th 2011.

Is the Twitter Tsar being made redundant too?

tomegranateFebruary 8th 2011.

John, the council doesn't employ anyone with that title.

AnonymousFebruary 9th 2011.

I love it.. cut the worker hours by 20% so all the schools close on Fridays.

BaggyFebruary 9th 2011.

Anonymous. The idea is to cut staff hours/ pay by 20% and not the days of the week. That would be silly.

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