Today was the day when Manchester’s Labour bosses had the opportunity to set the agenda for the City for the next twelve months, to laud their successes and to apologise for their failures. This budget is part two of a 2 year budget to tackle the cuts resulting from 13 years of failed Labour Government.
The bottom line is that thanks to a substantial subsidy from the Coalition Government the Council Tax is frozen again this year. This is the second year that the Government has enabled the council to deliver a tax freeze to the citizend of Manchester, and a massive success for the Liberal Democrat opposition who in Government are delivering real terms year on year tax cuts to the ordinary working families in this city.
The Labour Leader of the Council will continue to be driven around the City in a Chauffeur driven car, and he will continue to offer 9 special allowances to his deputy executive members to keep them on the payroll vote. He will also continue to offer consultancies to labour hacks and cronies at the taxpayer’s expense. All of this cronyism has been opposed by the Liberal Democrat opposition for years. Fortunately for the Labour Leader of the council the fact that his car is chauffeur driven means he is not going to face the massive car-parking charges that anyone else faces when they come to the city for work, shopping or leisure.
The City’s bins will continue to overflow due to Labour’s refusal to even consider accepting the coalition offer of funding to move back to weekly bin collections. The irony is that not a single penny was saved by the move to fortnightly bin collections due to the amount of new equipment that had to be bought.
The Labour Council continues its policy of extreme cuts, despite the fact that they have £ 170 million in reserves, a £ 9 million underspend in the current year and the second highest formula spending (government support funding) in the country thanks to Liberal Democrat influence in Government. At the same time as they are seeking to make £ 170 million in service cuts, the council is spending £ 170 million on tarting up their offices in the Town Hall, and a further £ 20 million on repaving outside the Co-Op HQ (not that the fact that they are the Labour and Co-operative Party has anything to do with that).
Manchester is receiving £ 18 million in direct investment for the poorest kids in the city into our schools through the pupil premium. Labour has called for this funding to be scrapped, a move that would totally undermine the education of thousands of local children. The City continues to invest in its schools through the ‘schools for the future’ programme, with not a single cut having been made to the programme in Manchester thanks to the actions of Liberal Democrats in Government, and Labour’s claim that sure-start centres would have to close has been proven to be a lie. Sure Start continues to thrive under the Coalition thanks again to Liberal Democrats in Government.
The council is collaborating with the Coalition government in using the Liberal Democrat apprenticeships scheme to provide jobs for young people in the city in cleansing services. The council is also collaborating with the Coalition’s airport business zone, creating real jobs in the real economy.
The coalition is also removing £ 249 million of council housing debt from the City Council’s books, a move which Labour refused to make despite having forced the council to privatise its entire housing stock through stock transfers to private housing associations.
Of course the Council Budget only looks at the impact of Council spending on the City, however it is important to remember that in addition to its positive impact on the Council Budget, the Liberal Democrats in Government through the coaltion have also delivered to Manchester residents:
- An income tax cut by increasing the basic tax threshold;
- A doubling of child tax credits;
- The linking of pensions to inflation;
- Investment in our children’s education through the pupil premium;
- Thousands of apprenticeships, including those delivered by the Council;
- Low interest rates making it easier for people to clear their debts and for investment in infrastructure;
- £ 2 million in additional funding for filling potholes;
- The creation of a picc-vic rail link;
- The expansion of the metrolink;
- £ 32 million investment in to graphene research;
- £40 million investment in tackling the stigma of living with mental health problems;
- £400 million investment in additional mental health service provision;
- The creation of a Manchester Local Enterprise Zone;
- £ 3 billion of funding for green enterprises through the green investment bank;
- Direct funding for local small and medium sized businesses;
AND MUCH MUCH MORE!
Liberal Democrats – in Government on the side of Manchester people.