page1image400

Greater Manchester Mayor

Andy Burham

Churchgate House

56 Oxford Street

Manchester

M1 6EU

Dear Andy Burnham GM Mayor

Re: GMATUC Executive Officer meeting with Mayor

Congratulations on your recent election as Labour / Co-operative Mayor for Greater Manchester. We are aware of how many of our trade union members not only voted but also contributed to campaigning on the ground for your election.

We are seeking a meeting of GMATUC officers with you to discuss a range of issues, which necessarily affect all of Greater Manchester's 10 local Councils as well as the 'City Region' as a whole. We see this as a starting point for a more full understanding how we can better contribute and drive positive change for the benefit of the citizens of Greater Manchester.

We are deeply concerned to read that the Greater Manchester Combined Authority has a £1 billion black hole in its finances going forward. In addition there is a projected £2.35 billion black hole in its so-called 'devolved' NHS budget by 2020. Local Councils and elected representatives must surely have concerns about this and not just in relation to the direct cuts in central Government funding to their own local authority that they will be facing.

We would like to discuss how we can help plan to remove this deficit without inflicting yet more austerity onto the people of Greater Manchester. We are particularly interested in exploring the contribution that we as the lead Greater Manchester wide trade union organization can make to the future of the City Region and its citizens.

We have identified areas – see below - that we think could give our members the opportunity to do that. We are very interested in your thoughts on these issues and would welcome your advice. We would like to be part of the growing partnership of organizations, which are systematically engaged and connected into the process of developing the roadmap for our collective future.

We have developed alongside academics such as David Etherington, Middlesex University and Professor Martin Jones, Staffordshire University - who have recently produced a report: "Devolution, Austerity and Inclusive Growth in Greater Manchester: Assessing Impacts and Developing Alternatives" - a significant knowledge and understanding of the issues and processes affecting the devolution process and agenda. We have experience of working closely with the public sector, of creating change, and helping policy decision-makers to think differently and act collectively.

We see co-location of staff and interchange programmes be highly effective and a powerful way to create positive change. Our network of connections and expertise in engagement, could offer valuable strengths and insight in developing effective answers that connect to communities and build a strong working relationship with trade unionists on the ground.

We set out below some key areas that we have identified that we would like to discuss further:

Engagement and Communications

We feel this is a fundamental part of what we have to offer. There is enormous potential in developing and delivering an approach to engaging and communicating with the public, of bolstering and supporting scrutiny processes, and of developing and embedding a fuller appreciation of community-centered and community-led approaches to the future of devolution in Greater Manchester.

Not only do we see this as a necessary answer to our City Region’s future challenges but as a positive way to improve communities, services, and to drive genuine, positive change. We need to support the communities of Greater Manchester to grow in health, wellbeing and wealth and it is difficult to see how genuine, long-term change can be achieved without it being driven by communities.

We believe we have a vital role to play. Secondments and placements could be one way in which we could help you and your colleagues to create the new partnerships and insights in developing and supporting this process.

Public Transport

· Public Ownership and re-regulation of all public transport in GM

· HS2: The argument on which the GMCA economic strategy rests boils down to this: the connectivity that HS2 will provide, coupled with an up-skilled and more productive workforce, and facilitated by tying housing, transport, land use and other infrastructural improvements to employers’ requirements, will attract a huge increase in private investment. But no evidence is provided to sustain this case.

· 16-19 Travel Pass

· Reinstatement of Seniors' Free Travel Pass to 60 year olds and over

· Democratic representation on, and accountability of, GM Transport decision-making organisations to people of GM.

NHS & Social Care

· Projected £2.35 billion black hole in GM's so-called 'devolved' NHS budget by 2020

· Current and proposed restructuring of GM Health Services

· Relationship of so-called 'devolved' NHS with GM Mayor, GMCA and National NHS

· Proposals of Naylor Review, how this might impact of GM and what can be done to oppose it

· Crisis of funding for social care in GM also mental health services

· Democratic representation on, and accountability of, GM NHS decision-making organisations to people of GM.

Housing

· Use of GM Local Authority Pension fund to help finance a significant GM wide Council house building programme, also improve existing publicly owned housing stock

· Who is going to foot the bill for the removal of cladding, etc, to tower blocks and other buildings in GM following Grenfell Tower disaster?

· Other issues relating to GM homelessness, rough sleepers, etc

· Protection of Greater Manchester's 'Green Belt' land within the context of the existing / proposed GM 'Spatial Framework'

· GM Private Tenants' Charter & Standards

· Democratic representation on, and accountability of, GM Housing decision-making organisations to people of GM.

Ethical Procurement of Public Services & Employment Policy

· GM Minimum Standards for existing and prospective public service providers in GM

· Trades union recognition by, and engagement with all existing and prospective public service providers in Greater Manchester

· GM Ban of Zero Hours Employment Contracts Democratic representation on, and accountability of, GM Public Service Procurement and Employment decision making organisations to people of GM

Environment & Renewable Energy

· Use of GM Local Authority Pension fund to help finance a significant GM wide renewable energy generation programme, also to insulate and improve the energy efficiency of existing publicly owned buildings, etc.

· GM campaign in favour of divestment from the fossil fuel industry

· Support for community, municipal and other 'co-operative' renewable energy generation initiatives by GM Mayor, GMCA and Greater Manchester Local Councils.

· Democratic representation on, and accountability of, GM Environmental decision-making organisations to the people of GM.

Police & Crime Commissioner

· Probation Service: making sure that the contract is being managed properly until year 7 before bring back the contract in-house.

The debate around these issues now takes place in the context of a potential further General election before April 2018 and growing opposition to what the Tories want to do on almost every front. In our view, Labour Councils across Greater Manchester should make a principled stand everywhere against any further cuts and campaign in favour of a local 'needs budgets' that could help to provide the additional momentum (along with opposition to cuts in education, etc) necessary to bring about the end of the present Government even sooner than that.

We know that devolution presents challenges and opportunities, and we think we have an important role to play in developing answers for Greater Manchester and the citizens of Greater Manchester.

We request that officers from GMATUC executive meet with you and discuss these ideas and how we might develop an appropriate strategy.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

Stefan Cholewka

Secretary

page1image14880 page1image15040