Before last year’s election, the three Whalley Range Labour councillors (Aftab Razaq, Angeliki Stogia and Mary Watson) set out some of the commitments that Labour were making for Manchester City Council in the year ahead, if they were re-elected. One year on, they’ve prepared a detailed report showing how the Council has performed against each of these promises.
In their 2018 election address, delivered to every accessible household in the ward, they wrote:
Manchester Labour believe it is the people of the city who should determine our direction. They have told us they want a caring city that supports the most vulnerable people in our society, where our young people have the best start in life, and where everyone has good homes, good jobs and safe, clean streets. We will not allow those who do not share our values, whether rogue landlords, exploitative employers, those who want to divide our community, or a Tory Government that only looks after its own, to go unchallenged. We, together with the people, the workers, the businesses, the many communities in our city, will continue to build a better Manchester.
Here are the commitments the Councillors made to voters, and a report on what has been done since:
Employ more people to support vulnerable residents to stay in their own homes
Manchester City Council has employed 62 new ‘reablement’ workers (many of whom previously were out of work but with the right training and support make excellent members of staff) supporting almost 1000 people to stay in their homes. This alongside our extra care schemes and neighbourhood apartments (short stays) has seen more people able to stay at home with the right level of support. We have also rolled out our Manchester Community Response teams across the city to help people get home from hospital as soon as they are ready.
Target £50,000 to feed children who come to school hungry
School Meals service redesigned to ensure higher standards, better nutrition. £50,000 distributed to Schools to support children. New software provided to schools to enable easier access to free school meal entitlement information.
Pilot landlord licensing across the city and use the powers we do have to tackle rogue landlords
Licensing pilots have been established in Crumpsall, Moss Side, Moston & Old Moat. There has been a positive response from the majority of landlords in each area with 99% of identified landlords in Crumpsall applying for a licence. Enforcement action is being progressed against those who have not yet applied. Having been established for around 18 months the Crumpsall scheme is currently the only one where we have meaningful data. A key highlight from this pilot is that a total of 1,537 applications have been accompanied by a gas safety certificate, and approximately 30% had been obtained at the time of application suggesting that licensing requirements have resulted in landlords complying. This, along with compliance inspections funded through the licence fee, is continuing to improve safety and standards in private rented properties. A full review of the schemes will be carried out when they have been in place for a longer period, to understand their impact and whether there are other areas of the city that may benefit. We have a Rogue Landlord team that has been focusing on flats above shops and portfolio landlords of concern. The team has undertaken days of actions and follow- up inspections in the Stockport Road/Slade Lane area of Longsight, Moston Lane district centre and Cheetham Hill Road district centre, as well as Gorton and Abbey Hey. Three portfolio rogue landlords have been identified that we are currently investigating and further referrals are being explored.
Nurture the green lungs of the city – parks and open spaces, rivers, trees – with £12 million invested in our existing parks
Development Plan for all parks is underway. Manley Park is in the second year of the 5 year Development cycle. This is mainly due to local pressure from the Whalley Rangers and the imminent constitution of a Friends of Manley Park group.
Continue, with community support, in keeping all our libraries open
We have invested £2.1m in libraries as part of the Library 2020 strategy. This has seen the roll out of technology to improve customer self-service including new RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) terminals in all libraries, new “walk up and use” PCs in all libraries, self-service printing and the introduction of Wi-Fi printing which will be rolled out to all libraries across the city. We have introduced on-line customer payments and have a new library catalogue which covers most of Greater Manchester giving residents access to 2.8 items for lending.
Continue the £100 million investment in our roads and pavements to reduce the blight of potholes and over time get all our roads to a good standard
£11.45m was spent in 2017/18 improving highways and footways. 104 roads were resurfaced, this equates to 26 miles in linear measurement 588 roads were surface treated to protect them from further deterioration, this equates to 76 miles in linear measurement 17 footway schemes were completed, comprising of 2.5 miles in linear measurement reconstructed, the rest having preventative treatment. In 2017/18 around 11,300 gullies on roads that have been resurfaced or had preventative treatments were cleaned and tested with around 2% of them requiring repairs.
Prioritise reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and take action to make the air we breathe clean
The latest data shows that citywide carbon emissions have reduced by 34% since 2005 and the Council’s direct emissions have reduced by 33.8% from a 2009/10 baseline. In November Manchester signed up to a more ambitious carbon neutrality target, adopting a Paris Compliant carbon budget, as proposed by the city’s climate change board, in line with research carried out by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change. The city has also committed to a 13% year on year reduction in emissions from 2018 onwards, becoming zero carbon by 2038, well in advance of the previous commitment to achieve this goal by 2050. In recognition that many of the worst air quality problems exist in our more deprived neighbourhoods and affect the most vulnerable people we are working to ensure that any proposals that come forward protect the interests of poorer residents. We continue to work at a GM level to develop a plan to tackle roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations. A Draft Clean Air Plan was submitted to Government identifying a list of proposed actions to enable Manchester to meet statutory obligations with respect to Nitrogen Dioxide concentrations in the shortest possible time. The Combined Authority agreed, in January, an outline business case showing how we will reduce Nitrogen Dioxide emissions to permissible levels.