Budget battle in Manchester council ward which Labor lost at by-election

A Manchester council ward which Labor lost at a recent by-election could be in store for a boost as local councilors battle for more money from the budget.

Calls for more residential parking schemes in Ancoats and Beswick were endorsed by a scrutiny committee at a meeting on Monday (February 28).

Local Labor councillor Majid Dar said the £4m proposal would be funded through cash that the council has received from developments in the area.

READ MORE: Labor lose seat to Lib Dems in Manchester by-election after councilor quit blaming ‘toxic culture’

But the scrutiny committee rejected a budget amendment from the ward’s newly-elected Lib Dem councillor, who suggested spending nearly £3m on road safety, parks and basic services across the city such as street cleaning.

It comes a month after the Lib Dems beat Labor in the Ancoats and Beswick by-election, making Alan Good one of three opposition councilors in the city.

Speaking for the first time as an elected member at the Manchester Town Hall meeting, his suggestions which relied on spending reserves were dismissed.

Manchester council leader Bev Craig told the scrutiny committee the local authority does not have ‘spare money’ to spend on the Lib Dems’ proposals.

And she insisted these ideas are already covered in the budget for the next financial year – the first to be set since she took over as leader in December.

She said: “Posturing aside, from our investment in road safety to our investment in parks, to our investment in basic services, these are things that we are already doing and they are already in our revenue and capital budgets.”

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Labor councilor Sarah Russell, who chaired the meeting, also laid into the Lib Dems, who accused her of repeatedly recommending spending reserves.

She said: “So tempting as it always is to spend money on the things people like to have from the reserves, if we do that then we’ll end up with nothing left.”

However, the scrutiny chair praised Coun Dar for his budget amendment, describing him as ‘a councilor who listens very hard to his community’.

The Ancoats and Beswick councilor claimed his proposal was ‘fully costed’.

He shared concerns about ‘problem parking’ raised by residents in Weybridge Road, Chippenham Road, Woodward Street and the surrounding area.

The Labor councilor claimed he and his colleagues had ‘worked hard’ to implement residential parking schemes around the Etihad and Eastlands.

However, he called for similar schemes to be introduced in the Ancoats area.

Joseph Timan, Local Democracy Reporter for Salford and Wigan at the Manchester Evening News

Jo is a Local Democracy Reporter covering councils, the NHS and other local authorities in Manchester and Greater Manchester. He has previously covered local government in Bolton, Bury, Salford and Wigan.

You can read more of his stories here and follow him on social media on Facebook or Twitter.

If you want to contact Jo directly, you can email him at [email protected]

He said: “Over the last 10 years, as East Manchester has grown, there has been many benefits to my local area such as investment in local schools and leisure facilities.

“Residents have long suffered from commuter and event parking often meaning they are blocked from parking near their own homes or have to travel around cars parked on pavements.

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“This scheme will show to residents that developments can improve their local communities.”

Deputy chief executive Carol Culley confirmed that £4m of proceeds from developments in the Ancoats area have been ‘earmarked’ for this purpose.

Manchester councilors will meet on Friday (March 4) to set the budget.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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