PMT #7: Respond to #Manchester City Council’s budget “consultation”

You have until February 20th to reply to City Council’s request for public opinion on their proposed actions. While of course it is very important to save this library or that swimming pool from closure it’s also important

a) to realise that when councillors join in “save this…” or “save that…” campaigns they may well have tacit permission from the leadership, and that the decision has already been made to spare whatever-it-is. The result is that these “rebellious” back-benchers get to look powerful and the Council gets to look responsive. See Orwell’s “1984” for more info.

b) to keep a view on the big big picture – of the growth economy as a suicide machine for this species. Personally, the MCFly co-editors will be sending in versions of this model letter below from the Steady State Manchester group (of which they are both members).

Model Letter

Manchester residents have until 20th February to respond to the councils consultation to the proposed 2013-5 budget.  Below is a model letter for your councillor / response to consultation. Please do personalise it. You can respond via http://www.manchester.gov.uk/info/200024/consultations/5921/budget_consultation_2013-2015 

I/we welcome the opportunity to express my/our views about Manchester’s proposed spending plans.

I am concerned that the proposals emphasise the City’s priorities as strong and sustainable economic growth and growing our economy to create jobs.  The global economy is almost 5 times the size it was 50 years ago. Such growth has an unsustainable environmental cost and despite growth more than a quarter of children in Manchester live in severe poverty (the highest rate in the country). More than one in twenty working age adults is unemployed.  Yet it has now been demonstrated repeatedly that economic growth does not clearly bring benefits in terms of well-being.

Many of those with jobs are poorly paid, and rely on benefits to make ends meet. The price of energy and resources and the cost of living go up and up. This situation will worsen as climate and resource shocks batter the global and local economy alike so the city needs to emphasise economic, social and ecological resilience as cornerstones of its strategy.

The city now urgently needs a planned approach to a society where we can all live a good life, satisfied with enough, without seeking endless growth and accumulation, respecting the planetary limits: which takes seriously both the mitigation of climate change (through radically decreasing emissions) and adapting to the climate change that is already gathering.  This will mean a re-balancing and re-localising of the local economy.

I/we was/were very encouraged that the full council invited  Professor Kevin Anderson to address them on 30th January and by Sir Richard Leese’s powerful blog post “Apocalypse Now”, published the following day where he reports that Prof Anderson told the councillors that if we want to have any chance of keeping the rise between 2 and 4 degrees we have to act now. As Sir Richard says “… how much of a gamble do we want to take with our future and our children’s future?”. Please keep up the good work and start now.

There are citizens working on options for Manchester for a sustainable, more equitable future where all Manchester citizens live well.  Manchester led the way in the industrial revolution; I/we urge you to  now lead the way by introducing a steady state approach.  I/we recommend that Manchester City Council works to develop the ideas in Steady State Manchester’s report In Place of Growth: Practical steps to a Manchester where people thrive without harming the planet and their response to the budget consultation as a basis for strategic direction so Manchester can ensure all its citizens have a future, and can live well and equitably.
Yours    ,

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About manchesterclimatemonthly

Was print format from 2012 to 13. Now web only. All things climate and resilience in (Greater) Manchester.
This entry was posted in Democratic deficit, Manchester City Council, PMT, Steady State Manchester and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to PMT #7: Respond to #Manchester City Council’s budget “consultation”

  1. Sam Darby says:

    I was a senior Labour councillor in the left of centre mid 1980’s council administration at the end of which those of us who remained socialists were told that we could vote against cuts in our own wards but we had to vote for the overall cuts proposals. It was and is an attempt to save local votes and reputations. Needless to say, in those rebellious times ten of us voted against all cuts and the Poll Tax.
    I agree with the main thrust of the Mc Fly proposals, though I think child poverty is closer to 50% than 25%. We must have a massive shift in the Citys resouce allocations to combatting climate change, with a steady state in mind and much greater equality (and perhaps democracy) for the people of Manchester.
    I am a Green Party member but this is not an official Green Party statement.

  2. The consultation is a pure farce, as I believe library and leisure staff have received their redundancy notices and know their final day of employment. As usual the council has put onerous conditions on the terms of redundancy. Such as having to be silent about their redundancy notices. Where are the unions in all this, again they appear to be absent, where their member’s rights have been abused by the council. Also, if they are making people redundant, who will staff the new facilities, if they are ever built?

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