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Wednesday 26 April 2006

Fireworks on the top of Beetham Tower, but does Manchester really need more city centre apartments for the rich? (VIDEO)

Fireworks from the top of Beetham Tower, Manchester, 26 April 2006

At 9.15pm tonight fireworks erupted from the top of Beetham Tower in Manchester, making it look like an over-sized roman candle firework. A topping out ceremony was taking place, marking the completion of the highest point.

The Tower stands 171m (561ft) and 47 storeys tall, making it the highest residential development in Europe. The first 23 floors will house a four-star Hilton hotel and apartments will fill the upper half.

Some people may wonder if Manchester really needs more apartments for the rich. When so many ordinary people in Britain are absolutely desperate for affordable housing and a large number of relatively well-paid workers are now excluded from ever owning a property of any kind due to high prices.

PFI

At the same time, Manchester City Council is busy trying to force various schemes onto residents of its council (public) housing, some of which is in the city centre. The aim being to pretty much wipe its hands of public housing.

Tenants are being denied a vote on whether housing should be transferred to a PFI (Private Finance Initiative) of the kind that is currently causing disaster in the National Health Service, an Arms Length Management scheme or whether it should remain in Council control.

In other parts of the country, residents have made it clear they want to remain in Council control. Which is something that Tony Blair and his New Labour cronies at Manchester City Council don’t want.

Tony doesn’t like it when people disagree with him and, if residents won’t be sensible and vote the way he wants, the answer is simple… Don’t let them vote at all and leave the decision to people who ‘know better’. In other words, those feeble-minded Labour councillors who have compromised their left-wing principles so much in recent years…

So, the original proposals to give residents a vote on the matter in Manchester are quietly being forgotten about. Instead, local Labour councillors will decide ‘what’s best’.


Filed under: Buildings,Manchester,Politics,With video — GS @ 9:44 pm
Wednesday 1 March 2006

Manchester Pride 2004 – just 34.5% of Operation Fundraiser ticket money went to good causes

Today I received some official figures for Manchester Pride 2004 via my Member of Parliament. They appear to show that only about 34.5% of Operation Fundraiser ticket money from the event went to good causes. The rest was spent on costs. So far I have been unable to get figures for collection bucket money. I don’t know where that is included.

Currently the Operation Fundraiser website states:

‘Once again in 2005/06 50% of the money raised by Operation Fundraiser at Manchester Pride will go directly to Community Futures’

From the figures that I have seen for the years 2003 and 2004, and the information I have now received from Manchester Pride, that statement from Operation Fundraiser appears to be untrue. I don’t see how they can say 50%.

If you’re wondering why I had to involve my MP. The answer is because Operation Fundraiser will not give me information.

In 2004, Operation Fundraiser collected £331,192 from ticket sales at Manchester Pride. They handed over 50% of that money to Manchester Pride to cover the cost of running the event. Leaving £165,596.

Operation Fundraiser Annual Report 2004-2005 - no mention of a ££165,596 that was handed over to Manchester Pride towards running costs

Operation Fundraiser’s ‘Annual Report’ leaflet, which they distributed last August, was misleading. In it they add together the £165,596 ‘net proceeds’ Pride figure and a £43,812 figure (for other non-pride fundraising and donations). Giving a ‘total income’ of £209,408.

Then they deduct their own costs of £79,982. Leaving just £129,426 for good causes in 2004.

The true costs in 2004 were £165,596 handed over to Manchester Pride. Plus £79,982 of Operation Fundraiser’s own costs. Total costs: £245,578.

Therefore we can say that out of ticket sales and non-pride year-round fundraising (£331,192 + £43,812), Operation Fundraiser spent 65.5% (£165,596 + £79,982) on costs and only 34.5% (£129,426) went to good causes.

I don’t know where collection bucket money is in all of this.

In the Operation Fundraiser ‘Annual Report’ 2004 leaflet, they don’t mention the £165,596 that was handed over to Manchester Pride. By doing so, they give the public a false impression of what percentage of income goes to good causes. They make the situation appear much better than it really is.

Interesting to note that, although Operation Fundraiser handed over less to cover the running costs of the event in 2004 than it did in 2003 (£200,000 in 2003 and £165,596 in 2004), Operation Fundraiser’s own costs in 2004 are some £20,000 more than the previous year (£59,520 in 2003 and £79,982 in 2004). A 33% increase in running costs in one year. Why?

Which leaves a final figure for good causes in 2004 that is just £1,736 more than the previous year. Quite a coincidence… Sometimes it feels as if there is a ‘glass ceiling’ on the amount that is allowed to go to good causes each year.


Filed under: LGBT,Manchester — GS @ 4:41 pm
Wednesday 15 February 2006

48% think smoking should be outlawed completely

Last night MPs voted to ban smoking in all pubs, clubs, restaurants and other enclosed public spaces in England. The ban should start from summer 2007.

I’m delighted because I have asthma and an hour spent in a smoke-filled pub generally means a day feeling bad afterwards.

Yesterday we were in a cafe having a meal and there were several people smoking. This is the problem. For every considerate smoker, there is one who seems to take great delight in being as obnoxious as possible. Glad to see the end of it.

A poll for BBC Newsnight found that 64% of the public agreed that smoking should be banned in all public places. While 48% thought all smoking should be completely outlawed — anytime, any place.

Campaigners welcome smoking ban


Filed under: Politics — GS @ 11:21 pm
 
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