At the party congress we presented our proposals for the conservative Manchester Manifesto. The full text is available here:
Manchester Start Up: Setting the technological framework for the city’s prosperity
The foundation for a city’s prosperity must begin with promoting entrepreneurship and wealth creation. We want to make Manchester the high tech hub of Great Britain, a city that is synonymous with start-ups and entrepreneurship around the world. We’re going to take some of the seediest downtown areas and transform them into dedicated business zones as part of our Manchester Start Up vision. We offer special reduced business rates, connections and support to all businesses looking to settle in Manchester and build the city’s future prosperity. Manchester is already a magnet for business people who find London restrictively expensive and want to harness the human resources of the country’s second largest student population. We will nurture a thriving culture of creative professionals in an environment where they can inspire and interact and be harbingers of the knowledge economy.
“Manchester Central”: At the center of the nation’s politics and administration
The Manchester Conservatives want a fairer distribution of the nation’s wealth, opportunity and executive powers. Just as the transfer of parts of the BBC to Media City has helped reshape the economy of Salford, we would like parts of the government to move to Manchester and put that city at the center of national administration. We don’t want * decentralization * for the north – we want the north of England to be returned to where it has always been: in the heart of the UK and in the * center * of government.
Redesign of transport links in Manchester
Central government money has brought the Metrolink network to Manchester and helped expand Manchester Airport, but transportation in Manchester is still severely hampered by crowded, pedestrianized and pollution-filled streets. In the short term we need a more integrated transport network, but in the long term a more ambitious approach is needed. If the HS2 project continues, we would like to see the creation of a parallel underground line with stops south from the city center to Manchester Airport, relieving the heavily congested road network, as the first stage in a wider underground network. If HS2 is canceled, we would transfer some of that funding to a Manchester underground network. Regional cities across Europe – from Genoa in Italy and Munich in Germany to Lyon in France and Bilbao in Spain – all have underground systems. In fact, there are 178 cities in 56 countries that have metro systems. Why not in Manchester?
Restoring law and order to the streets of Manchester
Greater Manchester has the unenviable distinction of being home to the worst crime rate in England and Wales. Things are so bad that many of us will have had the experience of a theft or break-in at home and wondering whether it is worth reporting at all, so unlikely that the police would actually find someone because of the Crime Prosecuted (Manchester has a prosecution rate of only 3% of crimes, a shocking statistic). As Conservatives, we think this is unacceptable and we stand up for a much tougher, more responsive and better financed police force. The central government announced the hiring of 20,000 new police officers earlier this year. We will work closely with the Manchester Police to ensure that crime rates are drastically reduced. But we will also advocate for police delineation to drastically reduce the rate of property crime across the city.
Creating homes while protecting Manchester’s heritage
Manchester Labor Council has a miserable record of protecting the beautiful historic buildings in Manchester’s 100 nature reserves. Since taking control of the council in 1972, no conservation area has had a single assessment (English Heritage recommends doing this every five years), and the town has countless examples of beautiful old buildings that can be graffiti-strewn with Windows were boarded up the walls and plants grew from the roofs. Areas like Victoria Park are among the most important cultural heritage sites in the north of England, home to some of the most important figures in Manchester history – from the suffragette Emmiline Pankhurst to the painter LS Lowry, from the conductor Charles Halle to the architect Richard Lane. lived but to walk the streets today is a deep shame at the abuse and neglect inflicted on such areas under Labor. The Conservatives will see to it that these buildings are restored, the areas revitalized and beautiful homes rebuilt in harmony with thousands of Manchester residents. You are reconnected to the characteristic, green and historical areas of the city, not to the gloomy, desolate mansions and apartment blocks of Labor.
Manchester Mentoring Schools Initiative
Greater Manchester has some of the best schools in the country, but too many children are trapped in deprived inner cities and only given access to poor schools with little opportunity for social advancement. After 47 years of power in Manchester, Mancunians are content to suffer the worst child poverty rates in the country. We want to give ALL children in Greater Manchester an opportunity and will propose a mentoring program between the most successful and difficult schools in the area that will provide opportunities for all children regardless of their social background or the area in which they live. Every child in Manchester should feel that their talents are nurtured, and not forgotten, by the best teachers in the area.
Reclaim our parks and make the city green
We have been blessed in Manchester that past generations have given us some of the finest public parks such as Heaton Park, Platt Fields Park and Wythenshawe Park with lakes, bowling greens, Shakespeare gardens and tea houses. But look what happened to them under Labor … the lawns are neglected, the lawns and borders are weeded, the paths are crumbling, the boating lakes are crumbling. We hear a lot about how we need more, not less, green space in times of climate change fear, but Labor treats our precious parklands like a nuisance. Very often it is now teams of volunteers who take care of the parks and have to reopen the park cafes and facilities that were closed by the council. The Conservatives will breathe life back into our beautiful parklands, making sure they are properly maintained and restored and are facilities that the entire community can be proud of. The Conservatives will treat the parks as the green hearts of the city, from which emerge our numerous ecological initiatives that connect the parks with green routes and green corridors so that everyone feels that their daily life is closely related to the city’s green spaces is.
Manchester as a tourist center
There’s more to Manchester than just football and music (important as they are!). The city is brimming with a unique history and heritage – it was home to capitalists and communists, world-famous engineers, scientists and artists. But how often do you meet people from southern England, let alone the rest of the world, who have never been to Manchester? Tourism is one of the most important sectors of our economy – many times larger than agriculture as a whole – but we need to do more to sell Manchester as a vacation destination to people from around the world. We should have cultural trails in our historic suburbs and want to promote the special fascination and unique character of urban, creative, revolutionary and always ambitious Manchester, so everyone knows that this is a city to visit.
Under the Conservatives the wall will fall and the gardens will rise (again)
If you want to see the appalling mess that 47 years of Labor misconduct created in Manchester, take a look at Piccadilly Gardens in the center of town and often the first thing visitors see when they arrive. Piccadilly used to be a beautiful, pleasant place full of flower beds, lawns and statues, a place to relax and refresh in the middle of a busy city. Check it out … the flower beds have been concreted, ugly buildings have been thrown up, and the ugliest curved concrete wall in the world has been built. Piccadilly Gardens 2018 11 A new Conservative Council in Manchester will tear down this monstrous wall and restore Piccadilly to the beautiful, relaxing green space it once was and we will dedicate the new gardens in Piccadilly to the memory of the victims of the Manchester Arena.
The people of Manchester no longer face the abysmal child poverty, crime rate, school failure, heritage and environmental degradation associated with Labor. Manchester could have a prosperous, conservative future as the hub of the global economy, a beacon of progressive ideas that also cherishes its past. Under Labor, Manchester is an anonymous, anodyne city, separated from its heritage and unsure of its future. The task of the Conservatives is to be brave and ambitious for the future of Manchester and come up with ideas that can be copied by the rest of the country while the unique Mancunian entrepreneurship is restored and sold to the world.