Gerald Kaufman and Gorton councillor condemn Devo Manc

From left: Emma Runswick (Save Our NHS), Caroline Martin (Gorton Against Poverty) and Sir Gerald Kaufman (MP for Manchester Gorton)

From left: Emma Runswick (Save Our NHS), Caroline Martin (Gorton Against Poverty) and Sir Gerald Kaufman (MP for Manchester Gorton)

Gerald Kaufman denounces the Devo Manc deal at public meeting in Levenshulme. Gorton South Councillor Julie Reid warns of “privitisation by the back door” and warns of possible mergers between Greater Manchester Colleges.

At a public meeting in Levenshulme Gerald Kaufman, Labour MP for Gorton, heavily criticised the way the Devolution Manchester (Devo Manc) deal had been forced on the people of Manchester, and warned of its potential adverse effects once the deal begins to bite. Julie Reid, Labour councillor for Gorton South, spoke at the meeting warning of upcoming government reviews of Greater Manchester (GM) Colleges followed by other GM tertiary education establishments. Reid warned that the non-Ofsted reviewers would be considering possibilities for mergers between these institutions.

The people at the meeting, held last Friday evening at the Inspire centre, were informed by Kaufman of the severe deficiencies of the Devo Manc deal and its lack of accountability, preventing those deficiencies being addressed.

Kaufman was particularly concerned with effects on the NHS saying “the national health service is the most important service we have in this country, its vital and everybody needs it from time to time and some people a lot of the time. It is under attack from this government right now’. He went on to say “we don’t know what the hell the structure [of the NHS] is going to be under devolution. What we also don’t know is how the money is going to be allocated and who will do it.”

An undergraduate student of medicine in Manchester, and member of the Save our NHS campaign, Emma Runswick agreed with Kaufman’s criticisms, and was concerned about the cost of increasing privatisation to the NHS. “Operating in the market, is costing us £9 billion a year, that is £9 billion that we are not spending on patients”. Runswick described how PFI debts were costing the NHS £2 billion per year, and that who was responsible for those debts is not made clear in the Devo Manc deal.

After Kaufman’s speech Reid laid into the Devo Manc deal with a passion. “it’s privatisation by the backdoor, breaking the NHS down, breaking higher education down. I am telling you, I am going to be there fighting… if we don’t stop this in the NW, then they will take it round the rest of the country. If we don’t stop them nobody will!”

The shocking news of possible mergers between GM higher education establishments was also revealed to the meeting by Reid, who told of reviews being carried out on Manchester and Bolton colleges this week. “Then they are going to work their way through the whole of GMs college system. This is not Ofsted, these are reviewers from the government, they are going to review provision in GM and guess what? They are going to look at mergers”.

Kaufman also highlighted the inadequacies of the £300 million housing fund, and that the Greater Manchester Fire Service would be abolished and its functions transferred to the mayor. More details of Kaufman’s damning Devo Manc speech can be viewed in the video below.

Organiser of the meeting Evan Pritchard (Greater Manchester Unite Community Branch) was happy with the ground covered by the meeting. “The meeting brought out the reality that these changes are about a linked attack on democracy and on the living standards and working conditions of the majority through the furtherance of austerity and privatisation.” He went on to say “hopefully people attending the meeting will be using what they learned to educate their friends, neighbours and workmates as to what is being done behind our backs to change fundamentally the way that public services will be run locally.”

Pritchard was encouraged by the fact that locally elected representatives of the Labour party had took a stand against Devo Manc during the meeting. “These representatives should be applauded for the stance they are taking, and encouragement should be given and pressure placed on other councillors and MPs in Manchester and in the wider area of Greater Manchester to take the same position.” He was hopeful that this meeting would act as a catalyst for a growing opposition to Devo Manc.

Originally published in Manchester Mule

Conrad Bower

For more information see: Greater Manchester Referendum Campaign and Save Our NHS Greater Manchester Coalition

Burnage and Levenshulme Open Gardens Day

Had an excellent day out visiting local gardens, allotments and community spaces taking part in ‘The 3rd Burnage and Levenshulme Open Gardens’. This occured on the 7th of June and was blessed with a sunny day. Ciara (my partner) and I cycled round to visit 6 of the gardens available on the day, we have recently moved to the area so it was also an opportunity to see areas of Levenshulme and Burnage not known to us.

The day seemed very well attended with numerous people turning up and leaving while we were at the various venues. We also spotted lots of people walking around with the maps in their hands looking for the next garden. As well as providing the chance to create and strengthen connections within the community the day also raised money for two charities; Burnage/Levenshulme Good Neighbours and Freedom From Torture.

Programme - cost £5 and allowed entry into all gardens.

Programme – cost £5 and allowed entry into all gardens.

The first space was Levenshulme Green Orchard (no.19 on map) Crayfield Rd, which is on the Fallowfield loop. It contained apple, pear, plum and cherry trees and was planted by Friends of the Fallowfield Loop (FOFL) in 2012; a FOFL member was there to provide information.

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Levenshulme Green Orchard

Levenshulme Green Orchard

The next garden visited was on Griffin grove (no15 on map),which had lots of potted plants.

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Griffin Grove

Griffin Grove

We then cycled to Acorn Close Allotments (no.11 on map), who had lots of nice food and drink available for visitors. Met Pauline who gave us a guided tour of the allotments, seeds, bee house and plenty of gardening tips.

Hospitality tent

Hospitality tent

Ciara talking to Pauline

Ciara talking to Pauline

Acorn Close Allotments

Acorn Close Allotments

The visit to Acorn Close made me pine for my allotment (Brighton Grove) so we cycled round there. We than headed onto Sylvandale Avenue (no.27 on the map) where there was a lovely garden and a well attended bird table.

Bird Table

Bird Table

Sylvandale Avenue

Sylvandale Avenue

We then went to Limefield Terrace (no. 28 on map) which had a woodland style garden with shade loving plants and lot of cool chickens.

Limefield Terrace

Limefield Terrace

And then it was on to the final garden visit of the day at Derby Grove (no.22 on map). This garden had a Japanese feel to it and was the combination of two back yards knocked into one. It also had a very cool shed built by the owner, which had photos of his recent ancestors lining the walls.

Myself in cool shed

Myself in cool shed

Ciara in cool shed.

Ciara in cool shed.

Derby Grove

Derby Grove

And then back home just round the corner in Wetherall Street. Inspired by the days gardens, and Ciara’s suggestions, I constructed a raised bed from a gate I aquired from a skip across the road a few weeks ago, everyones a winner 🙂

Raised bed constructed with old gate. Plants by Ciara

Raised bed constructed with old gate. Plants by Ciara