12 July 2023
The Green Party today called on Manchester City Council to ‘dare more democracy’ by backing the creation of a new Greater Manchester assembly.
The Greens put forward a motion at today’s council meeting calling for the replacement of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) with a new devolved authority which will include a directly elected assembly.
This new Greater Manchester Assembly, based on the London Assembly, would have greater powers to scrutinize decisions made by the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, and would be elected by the more proportional Additional Member System
However, the motion fell due to a lack of support from Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors.
Cllr Astrid Johnson, leader of the Green Party on Manchester City Council and proposer of the motion, says: “While devolution to Greater Manchester has been a success, one Mayor and 10 anointed council leaders cannot fully represent our 2.8 million people, a population almost as large as that of Wales.
“Labour may have rejected our call for a new Greater Manchester assembly today, but we’ll keep daring to call for more democracy and giving residents a greater say in how our city region is run.”
However, Greens were able to successfully amend Labour’s motion to make Manchester a Local Authority of Sanctuary.
The amendment calls on the government to increase funding for voluntary organisations supporting refugees, and help local authorities adequately prepare for arriving asylum seekers so councils can ensure their needs can be met.
“We’re pleased that Labour accepted our amendment to their motion to make Manchester a Local Authority of Sanctuary,” Cllr Johnson added.
“Local voluntary and community organisations play a vital role in supporting refugees, and we need more funding to support their work.”
Along with supporting Labour motions on fair tax and capping fees on public transport at a maximum of £2, Greens at today’s council meeting also put forward an emergency motion against the Tory government’s planned closure of manned ticket offices.
The motion, put forward by Cllr Ekua Bayunu, would have supported RMT who are coordinating action to oppose these measures. As Labour declined to suspend standing orders, however, the motion ended up not being heard.
Cllr Bayunu, deputy leader of the Green Party on Manchester City Council, said: “As ever, Labour councillors have failed in their support of our residents by refusing to even hear our emergency motion, rejecting it out of hand.
“Instead of improving the culture of Manchester City Council, Labour continue to allow and encourage a lack of cooperation and collaboration and thus continue to ignore the needs of our residents.”