Sunday, 30 January 2011

Manchester Cuts: Is there really no choice?

The shocking announcement of 2000 job losses at Manchester City Council is the biggest result of the cuts handed down from the Coalition Government.

The Council, forced to deal with a £110 million reduction, expects to save £70 million pounds with these staffing reductions. This still means that £40 million pounds will still have to be found and it looks likely that front line services will be in the firing line.

In addition, because of the expected cuts in Manchester’s police, fire and health services Manchester residents are going find it more difficult to access the support they need.

Manchester Green Party (MGP) believes nationally, these cuts could largely be avoided by concentrating the deficit reduction by increasing taxes on the financial sector that caused the deficit.

MGP Chair Brian Candeland said “Not only is the Government pursuing the wrong policies, it is seeking to pass the blame onto local authorities. Whilst all local authorities are being hit to some degree, urban councils in the north such as Manchester and its neighbouring boroughs are being hit particularly hard. This will widen the north-south divide.”

While the Coalition Government has forced this budget reduction on the Council, the Council decides what services will be cut.

MGP urges the Council to make every effort to prioritise services to the vulnerable and saving jobs over capital building projects.

Following last weekend’s GMTUC conference, we note:

  • that in the most recent Council accounts (Accounts Statement 2009/10, page 47, 102), Manchester Airport owes the council over £83 million. The airport is currently raising over £280 million to develop its facilities. As a major investor in the airport, the Council is in a position of influence and should look to reclaim those monies.
  • the Council's 'sale/transfer' of Hulme's Birley Fields to Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) for far less than the value of the land (worth £10 million in some estimates). Hulme Green Party says "Its outrageous. The value of that land would go a long way to reducing the effects of the cuts in Hulme and Manchester. As it stands, the whole MMU proposal is not good for the area."
The recouping of even a proportion of the Airport and Birley Fields monies will save jobs and services in Manchester.
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