Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Stand Up for a Fair Share

From the Manchester Evening News:

"The M.E.N. today calls on the people of Greater Manchester to stand up against unfair spending cuts.

We revealed how our region is bearing the brunt of massive reductions in council grants – while rich southern shires escape relatively unscathed.

Vital services to vulnerable communities will be slashed and thousands of jobs lost.

Today, we team up with senior politicians to demand the government gives us our fair share.

We are calling on communities across the region to sign the biggest petition Greater Manchester has ever seen.

Comment: How can the cuts be deemed fair?

Manchester council, which is suffering a massive £110m budget cut, will this week launch the petition. Other town halls have already lent their support – and pledged to follow suit.

Council % cut

Manchester 21
Rochdale 20.5
Salford 19.6
Oldham 18.9
Bolton 18.3
Wigan 17.3
Bury 16.6
Tameside 16.5
Trafford 15.6


Stockport 13.8

The table shows the percentage cut in central government grant over the next two years.

The M.E.N. is backing the petition because of the scale of the injustice facing our councils.

Over the next two years, councils nationally will lose an average 15.2 per cent of their grants.

But NINE of the 10 local authorities in Greater Manchester are losing more.

Only Stockport has done better than the average – and then only just – while affluent regions face much smaller losses.

The cuts will lead to nearly 6,000 job losses, despite Greater Manchester having some of the highest levels of deprivation in the country. Salford will have to lose 800 staff, Rochdale 300, Oldham 800, and Bolton 1,500.

Cash-strapped Bury council will lose 184 jobs, while Stockport and Trafford will lose 250 and 150.

The petition will be launched in Manchester after a full council meeting on Wednesday.

Jim Battle, deputy leader of the council, said: “It will be the biggest petition that Manchester has ever seen. It will be online and in shopping centres.

“We will be going into streets, communities and churches to encourage people to stand up and fight for Manchester.”

Many town hall leaders across the region say they will introduce similar motions.

John Merry, leader of Salford, said: “It is important for everyone, regardless of political persuasion, to stand up against these unfair cuts which hit people in our area harder than anywhere else.”

Tameside’s leader Kieran Quinn said: “It’s something that we absolutely support and we will make enquiries to have a similar motion in our council.”

But Tory-led Trafford Council, which has to shed £15.2m by 2013, say they will not support the motion. Leader Matt Colledge said: “It isn’t something we would put our names to. We are concentrating on finding solutions to the problem.”

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