Manchester City Council can’t say if can spend money on climate emergency declaration

Marion Smith of the core group of Climate Emergency Manchester attended a Council meeting, and couldn’t quite believe her ears and eyes…

Today’s Neighbourhoods and Environment Scrutiny Committee (1)  is the first that I have attended, and although I was forewarned by my CEM colleagues about what I would hear, and although I had
attempted to mentally prepare myself, NESC still managed to bring about some truly jaw-dropping
moments.
Perhaps the most  astonishing of these was when the agenda turned to the current budget spending,
during which the chair Cllr Lee-Ann Igbon (2) asked the Executive Member for the Environment, Carl Ollerhead, whether it would be possible to dip into the Council’s financial reserves. His only response was “I’ll get back to you on that.” Shortly after this, the financial offer left the scrutiny committee and did not return before the end.
At this point, I really shouldn’t be surprised at moments like this, but somehow it never ceases to amaze me- the inability of those directly concerned with the budget figures to impart relevant information in reference to the climate declaration, at a point in the meeting when the agenda is specifically concerned with the figures of the budget is simply not good enough.
Not only is this suggestive of the lack of money that has most likely been attributed to the declaration, but it is indicative of the attitudes of environmental concerns within the council, and demonstrates exactly the attitudes that are opposed to us.
Climate Emergency Manchester will be submitting new FOIAs relating to climate emergency budget attributions in due course.
NESC next meets on Weds 5th February, at 2pm.  Climate Emergency Manchester will be there, and we want you to join us – please put the date in your diary now- more details to follow!
Footnotes
(1) The City Council has six scrutiny committees, which are tasked with keeping tabs on what the Executive (political leaders) and officers are actually DOING.  The six committees meet in public, 10 times a year, usually in the Town Hall Annexe. Meetings are open to the public, but you have to ask permission in advance to speak.  The meetings are livestreamed and video-archived. Neighbourhoods and Environment has primary responsibility for climate policy, but a seventh committee – purely for environment and climate – is urgently needed.
(2) Councillor Igbon is one of the three councillors for Hulme. She has chaired NESC for 18 months, and has a refreshingly robust way of speaking and chairing.

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