Friday, February 15, 2008

Who ya gonna call? ... not Manchester!

A hotline for people in Manchester to offer suggestions on how the council should spend its £468m budget received one phone call in a month. In addition to the solitary call, the city council received six letters and 21 e-mails in the month-long exercise.

Council bosses admitted disappointment at the response but said it was still an important consultation.

About 2,000 copies of a leaflet with contact information were printed and sent to community centres and libraries between Christmas and New Year. It was also reproduced in Manchester People, the town hall newspaper delivered to 200,000 households in the city. The consultation finished on 31 January.

Councillor Bernard Priest, Manchester City Council's executive member for finance, denied the consultation was a waste of time.

He said: "It is always disappointing if there is a limited response to this type of consultation, but it's really important to give taxpayers a chance to let us know their views on how their money is spent. We are constantly looking for ways to make it easier for people to communicate with us and the views we receive are given careful consideration. I am sure that if people did not believe that the services they receive offer good value for money, they would be very quick to let us know."

Manchester City Council will receive £468m for the financial year 2008/9 to serve its population of about 442,000 people.

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