The chair of the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority today launched a shameless (and successful) bid to grab headlines.
Cllr Neil Swannick (Labour, Bradford ward), a former Executive Member for the Environment for Manchester City Council, was giving a report to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (or was it the Association of Greater Manchester Authority? We’re just a MCFly drowning in alphabet soup) Executive about the budget for the Waste Authority.
He stated his report was “the same story I’ve been telling every year, to anyone who’ll listen,” namely that the GMWDA is locked into a 25 year Private Financial Initiative contract. Fortunately, said Cllr Swannick, the construction period of this is almost complete, and Greater Manchester will have “world class facilities for the next 25 years.” Cllr Swannick pointed out that 94% of the money raised via council tax goes to the PFI, with only two percent going to debt charges and the remaining four percent going to the running costs of the GMWDA itself. These running has been reduced by 25% over three years.
Councillor Swannick conceded that several household recycling centres had been shut down, or were due to shut down, but that the GMWDA was on track to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill. This would mean millions of pounds saved on landfill tax and – here’s the shameless bid – less methane from rotting organic waste and thus a reduced contribution to global warming by Mancunains.
He alluded to a challenge process by the leaders of Bolton and Stockport councils, but said that after consultation they had seemed happy.
Also at the meeting(s) –Councillor Dave Acton, chair of the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority, gave an overview of the budget dilemmas, the Fire Authority’s efforts to lobby central government and the stark possibilities (including station closures) if things go badly. In the meantime, they are making successful efforts to reduce the number of fires taking place.
(The best book MCFly ever read about fires/public policy and so on is “A Plague on Your Houses: How New York was Burned Down and National Public Health Crumbled”)
Cllr Paul Murphy (Labour, Moston Ward), the chair of the Greater Manchester Police Authority presented on the 1 year budget freeze, with hope for a 2.5% precept increase assumed for the next two years, and the £8.6 million grant they have got in the aftermath of the 2011 riots. He said the GMPA still hoped to balance the budget “with prudent use of reserves.”
Earlier, during the GMCA bit, the Leader of Salford Council, John Merry, had presented a report on scheme to get unemployed people into work (see Manchester Evening News piece here). This is a subject presumably now even closer to the councillor’s heart…
UPDATE: For a slightly less glib take on this meeting, see here.