Letter published in Manchester Evening News Fri 22nd November

I just attended the Executive Meeting of Manchester City Council.  It was, as so often the case, a dispiriting spectacle.  The decision to spend half a million pounds on bigger bins (as reported by Jen Williams in the MEN on Monday 18th) for the City Centre was waved through after some partisan bickering.  It was a decision made behind closed doors by three councillors. Very democratic.
The broader question – of how to make sure that the £14.5m is spent wisely is one the Executive members seemed keen to avoid. At the moment money is only available for projects besides clean (i.e. making the city attractive for international investors) and “green” (whatever that means, in the absence of both carbon dioxide and biodiversity criteria).
People who struggled to keep libraries and day care centres and the like are basically excluded from applying for money to this scheme.  I think it is a disgrace, and a huge missed opportunity for the council to rebulid frayed relationships with residents and people who don’t vote.
Readers who want to sign the petition calling for a full consultation can find it on the City Council’s e-petition scheme, or via askthepeopleofmanchester.wordpress.com.  In the coming weeks we will be out collecting signatures on paper, wearing #askmcr t-shirts.

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