Monday, 25 April 2016

Comment: Race to the Top? Not In Manchester

R and R
April sees Bury City Council elect its new council leader Rishi Shori. He is the first Black Minority Ethnic (BME) leader [1] in the history of Greater Manchester.

With this in mind, it’s worth looking at the current composition of Manchester City Council.

Manchester City Council has 96 councillors [2]. All 96 are currently members of the Labour Party [3]. Labour has historically enjoyed solid support from the ethnic minority population of the city.

Lets look at more numbers.
  • The population of Manchester is approximately 500000 [4]
  • The ethnic minority population is roughly 30 percent of this [5]
  • Of the councils 96 representatives, 16 are from non-European ethnic minorities. Its about 17% of council body. [6]
  • Of these 15 are of ‘Asian descent’ and there is a token African Caribbean member
The Manchester City Council decision making body is the Executive Committee.

It has 9 members and of these, all are English (White) European [7]. (Interestingly enough the half of the Executive Committee 'assistants' are councillors of Asian decent.)

Whilst this is not necessary an issue, its notable that there is little discussion of how the large changes that are occurring through devolution will affect the ethnic minority population.

Take the £300 million housing fund [8]. At the moment its almost exclusively being used to support commercial property development.  Given that BME population in the city are likely to be in lower socioeconomic brackets it means they are less likely to benefit from the fund.

Health devolution [9] was discussed at a public networking meeting recently, a health strategy officer presented. When pressed, the officer admitted that if the devolution plans didn’t work, that BME communities are more likely to bear to bear the brunt of any negative effects as they are already at a disadvantage in the health system. It is projected that the devolution health budget may have as much as £2 billion pounds deficit [10].

As for Greater Manchester Police and policing, ethnic minorities are more than twice as likely to be stopped and searched than the majority population [11]. Whilst there are actions that can be done to address this locally, very little effective action seems to be forthcoming the police or its Crime Commissioner.

These serious issues barely raise a ripple because

1)   There is a lack of diversity on the Council. There are more people called Murphy on Manchester City Council's select Executive Committee than there are African Caribbeans on the whole council. 

2)   What representation there is  - is whipped into obeying the local Labour party line.

Its worth noting that no councillors voted against the budget cuts this year and you will be hard pressed to find one councillor to have votes against any cuts within the past five years. [12]

Representation and diversity. 

Find a Green local council candidate. 

Vote for them.



Vote Green

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Friday, 22 April 2016

Green Candidate calls for Reversal of Cuts to Mental Health Services

 Green Candidate for Manchester - Hulme, Deyika Nzeribe called for the reinstatement of mental health services cut by the Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust (MHSCT).

The cuts to services [1], which are mainly aimed at keeping its users healthy and out of hospital [2], were announced last autumn in a bid to save £1.5 million [3].

The Trust agreed to go ahead with the proposals at a heated meeting last month[4].

Green candidate, Deyika Nzeribe points out though, that in Greater Manchester the health landscape has completely changed.

"As of the beginning of April, under devolution, Greater Manchester has complete control of its health budget and management of those funds [5]. The new Devolution health board can easily make the decision to maintain those frontline services which are a lifeline to many of its users.

“Its clear from reports, the Trust consultation was a sham so the Devolution Health Board should take the opportunity to develop some good will and save those services.

"Health devolution in Manchester comes with a £2 billion shortfall [6]. If the new regional health management can't retain £1.5 million of mental health services, the scale of cuts to come is going to be scary. Devolution in this city, especially health, should be rethought [7]".


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