Labour's town hall bosses have taken Lib Dem leader Simon Ashley off
the Commonwealth Games Board for calling on the government to underwrite
the cost of the games.
Cllr Ashley said today:
'This is Labour control freakery at its worst. I, like many Mancunians,
have supported the games from day one. The only difference between myself
and the Cllr Leese is that I want the government to underwrite the cost of
the games, and think for Manchester's council tax payers to folk out at
least£85m is unreasonable.
'If Cllr Leese thinks my position is incompatible with membership of the
board, he will also have to remove Mike Hooper, of the Commonwealth Games
Federation, who has publicly stated the same view, and he would stop former
sports minister Tony Banks, who think the government should be in 'the
whole way, or not at all'. My position is that our government should do the
same as the Australian government did with Sydney and the Malaysian
government did with Kuala Lumpur.'
Cllr Ashley continued:
'The leader of the council promised no cuts to services and no council tax
increases because of the games. Services will be effected because,
a) The council are seconding hundreds of staff to the games, many of which
are not being replaced whilst they are away.
b) The council are committing£5m from mainstream budgets for the
'Look of the City' This money will be targeted to routes into the games
sites, which means cuts particularly in areas where there are no routes
(Parts of Wythenshawe, and North Manchester and off the main roads).
Council tax will rise for three reasons. Firstly, we are borrowing
£10m which we will be repaying over ten years. Secondly, if we spend
an additional£40-45m on the games, we cannot spend it elsewhere on other
services. Thirdly, because of the council covering cashflow shortfalls, we
will lose interest payments. There is also the possibility of further
Cllr Ashley said: 'Cllr Leese is taking me off this board because I
have a different opinion to him. But I will not be gagged by him or anyone
* see LGCnet