Posted by: John | February 26, 2009

`Manchester jobs for Manchester people?`

Readers will remember that I asked the Labour leader of the opposition on Stockport borough Council a question –

To be fair it went to all cllrs as well as myself (I’m a private citizen who spoke at public question time`)

He has responded in the following way:

`I consider that Manchester City Council’s integrated Recruitment & Employment Scheme (IRES), which supports unemployed residents into work, to be a worthwhile and successful scheme, which is consistent with the City Council’s duty to promote prosperity and regeneration within its boundaries, particularly in the light of Manchester’s rates of unemployment and worklessness which are much higher than those in neighbouring areas.

Furthermore, by providing intensivbe support to help people into work – people who might otherwise remain outside the labour market – Manchester City Council is helping to build a pool of well-qualified and experienced workers that employers across the city-region, including those based in Stockport, cand raw on. therefore I feel I cannot criticise attempts by other Councils to reduce disparities in joblessness.

Whilst I appreciate that reserving certain entry-level posts for those City residents completing the scheme could be seen to place Stockport residents at a disadvantage, I am yet to receive any specific complaints from potential jobseekers, in spite of representing a ward immediately adjacent to the City boundary, and the scheme having been in operation for over ten years. I am advised during this period of time, there have been no succesful challenges to the IRES’s legality. Stockport itself has, with all party support, introduced two schemes to focus recruitment for the Co-op `Smile` Bank at teh pyramid and at Tesco Portwood for SK1 and SK5 residents. In Nottingham there has been a scheme similar to ours. In view of this, I must conclude that the demonstrable benefits of the IRES programme, to those taking part and to the wider economy and labour market, outweigh any perceived disadvantage.

On a wider level, over the past decade of Liberal Democrat control of Stockport, where economic development has largely stalled, we have benefited considerably for Labour-run Manchester’s outstanding record of attracting new investment and employment. In turn, Manchester employers benefit from Stockport’s pool of well-qualified and highly-motivated workers, many of whom commute to and from Manchester each day. The various measures taken by Manchester City Council to combat entrenched inequalities, and the seriousness with which they treat this issue, are in considerable contrast to Lib_Dem Stockport’s efforts, where polarisation between communities continues to grow.

I will of course take up any specific cases that arise, while continuing to press Stockport Council to begin to fulfil its own responsibilities, by offering worthwhile and practical support to local jobseekers.`

I showed this to an 18-year old from just outside the Stockport border in Derbyshire who said `what a load of waffle`. Questions, questions – I have many!


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