Star date: 28th September 2010 

Noon Wednesday 29th September 2010
Outside Civic Centre, Chorley Rd, Salford

"…they force the pain on low income families, attack public services and propose cut backs which will hurt the weak and most vulnerable in our communities" Ray Walker, UNISON


Tomorrow, at noon, Salfordians are being urged to protest outside the Civic Centre in Swinton, against the coming cuts and job losses in the city.

The demonstration has been called by Salford Trades Council and trade unions UNITE, UNISON and GMB as part of a Europe wide Day of Action, which will include general strikes in Greece and Spain.

Full story here plus details of cuts to the "weak and most vulnerable" already in place…


Salford Unison secretary Ray Walker says that the coming cutbacks "will hurt the weak and most vulnerable in our communities". And even before the ConDem coalition government axe is officially unveiled on 22nd October there's evidence of this happening in Salford…

To increase Council revenue by a mere £5,660 residents recovering from mental health issues at Holly Bank have had their weekly charges for utilities trebled, from £5 to £15.50, while at Ingleside weekly charges have increased by a third, from £11.40 to £17.40.

To save a target of £150,000 the Broughton Day Service for elderly people at the Humphrey Booth building is being shut down and merged with Ordsall, leaving a shortage of ten places"the day service is uneconomical and inefficient" states a stark Council report. Meanwhile, 13 staff will be "redeployed or offered Voluntary Early Retirement". 

In a hint of things to come, the Council states that it is merely "redesigning the service with no loss of capacity" but on its own figures there are not enough places in Ordsall for ten elderly Broughton people. The reasons given for the decision include "savings targets" and "value for money", as Salford's bean counters look purely at the bottom line.

It's estimated that the ConDem government is going to make Salford Council cut £39million from its budgets over the next three years. A Salford Council report from 1st September explains that cuts to services and sell offs are definitely on the agenda…

"It is widely accepted across local government generally that service cuts will be necessary and a rational approach to determining where service priorities need to be protected and service cuts need to be made" one paragraph states, while another adds "review the assets owned by the Council to determine those assets that can be released for disposal in order to maximise the availability of usable capital receipts, bearing in mind current economic conditions"

The demonstration called for noon tomorrow (29th Sept) by an array of trades unions is urging Salford's Labour controlled council to "abandon plans to cut Salford's vital public services" and organisers want to make it clear that "this is not just a demo to fight against potential job losses, but to stand up for vital public services and for those who benefit from the care and support those services currently provide." They are asking as many people as possible who are worried about the impact of the cuts to join them.

"These cuts that are being imposed on public sector workers are politically motivated by the ConDem coalition" says Ray Walker of Salford City UNISON Branch, which represents nearly 5000 workers.

"UNISON knows that the savings needed could come from scrapping Trident missiles, introducing a tax on City speculation and cutting back waste on private consultants and Quangos" he adds "Instead they force the pain on low income families, attack public services and propose cut backs which will hurt the weak and most vulnerable in our communities"

And Alex Halligan, Secretary of Salford Trades Council, adds:

"If these cuts are allowed to take place it will hit the most vulnerable hardest. As trade unionists we reject the idea that all we are trying to do is fight for our members' jobs. We want a broad coalition of opposition that involves the unions, service users and the wider public…

"This demo on the 29th will represent the start of that movement. We will then look towards a public meeting to bring together anybody who believes in protecting the services that people in Salford depend upon."

The first cuts that have appeared publicly have been aimed at the elderly and those with mental health issues. But Geoff Morrison, Acting Chair of Salford Mental Health Forum has a warning…

"These cuts will affect users of all services" he says "This will include the young, the elderly and vulnerable people all across the country. We need to stand together in Salford. We will stand with the unions and we are pleased that they are going to stand with us."

Tomorrow, in Greece and Spain there's general strikes, in Brussels there's a huge demonstration, in London there's a lobby of Parliament and all over the UK there's other demos as part of Europe wide Day of Action supported by the European Trade Union Congress. Salford gets its own voice tomorrow at noon…

Noon Wednesday 29th September 2010
Outside Civic Centre, Chorley Rd, Salford


Carrie Fergus wrote
at 08:16:37 on 09 October 2010
Yes Mary, like a rat down a drainpipe these people dont need much of an excuse they just want to satisfy their own egos that somehow somewhere they have almost convinced us they have been pushed as opposed to chickened out. I will continue to read the Star because it really inspires me but I am naturally passionate and my health cannot take brick walls. Somebody reignite my spirit please or tell me how I can help tear down the corrupt crony loving wall. I have to balance my own health and happiness against the probability of changing a deeply corrupt system. Why not calculate how much the Irag and Afghanistan wars have cost every Salford taxpayer or resident and then equate it to the suffering of Salfords continuing poverty. Or for that matter look deeper into Merrys relationship with Peel Holdings or his various board positions or his apparent honourable attack on racism only to be contradicted by his support of the NWDAs CEOs crass attack on pakis or gays who grease his palm with thousands of pounds of public money. I love the spirit of the Salford Star and more power to its elbow but these people to me are absolutely untouchable as long as this evil misconception that Democracry is righteous continues to exist.
mary ferrer wrote
at 19:11:43 on 04 October 2010
Well, come on Mr Merry what a easy way out of answering questions put to you by residents. Why won't you respond, have you something to hide????? Well if we can't get your response on here there are other way and means of getting answers to my questions and others on this site.
Carrie Fergus wrote
at 19:11:28 on 04 October 2010
John please dont take my post as an invitation for you to stop posting. As I have said before you are probably a decent bloke. My disillusionment is with political systems who produce people who are forced into defending indefensibles and I cannot see for the life of me how that is going to change, and that is the reason I am out not because of John Merry. On a much brighter note I have watched the Ryder Cup today and the empathy and comradeship from both teams has brought tears to my eyes and made me think maybe life isnt really that bad and there are organisations who respect the rules and pull for each other. My disillusionment isnt with you John but with a system that forces you into ,in my opinion, a negative and malign position. You havent shown the slightest indicatipon that you feel uncomfortable with that position (and I can understand why) and that is the reason why I personally feel I no wish to longer contribute. That doesnt mean I am right and in itself it invites critiscm but it is just an individuals personal stance and certainly shouldnt be seen as an ultimatum, please keep your posts coming and as aslways the other readers can make their own minds up.
John Merry wrote
at 16:39:08 on 04 October 2010
I would be interested in responding to what I considered to be a reasonable posting by Nachtschlepper but I did give ny word that I would leave this site to others who appeared to be annoyed that I was posting here. I will try and find some way of responding.
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 18:13:15 on 02 October 2010
Mr Merry, one post in support of the council does not vindicate the council. You failed in making any difference to the outcome regarding Hope's maternity dept. I merely raise the point that the things that truly matter to the people of this city are ignored while you throw money away on irrelevances such as the aforementioned orchestra. I'm sure you really do believe that you are doing the right thing. It's just that the state of affairs does not bear this out. It matters not what you regenerate, tart, up & slap a coat of paint on. The biggest problem Salford faces is unemployment of the kind we are unlikely to find without offering huge incentives to potential employers. Forcing even greater numbers out of work will only make the problem worse. Do you not see or understand or even care why people are angry?
mary ferrer wrote
at 05:07:03 on 01 October 2010
Mr Merry,It would make no diffrence what party I support,the list of issues I stated have happened in Salford under a Labour Goverment and Labour council. I have only today found out You have bought the back the lease on the car park at the Willows, I don't know for how much, but I do understand this has taken place. This is the car park that in 2 years time will be of NO use to the Reds so they would have given the land back. So will we be getting rent over the next 2 years. This is another example of how this Council waste our money or would you say it was your way of standing up for the people of Salford. Mr Merry please can you justify the total waste of OUR money not just on this issue, but all the other issues I highlight. I won't hold my breath.
Salford Star wrote
at 05:06:57 on 01 October 2010
If you were gaining financially from any companies we haven't mentioned already we'd have it plastered up here with flashing lights around it!
John Merry wrote
at 05:02:40 on 01 October 2010
I wish you would edit the spelling mistakes! You are right I do spend too much time defending myself from personal attacks and not enough time talking about policy which is why I made the offer of an interview. But when it is suggested that I gain financially from all the companies I represent Salford on or that we colluded to close the maternity facilities at Hope I get quite angry. There is no point in posting if others would rather I did not but I do want to say to Carrie if he wants to email me and come and put the points directly he is welcome to do so. I did not expect all the readers of this blog to agree with me but I expected to be to be able to reply as robustly as those who wished to disagree. It is clear that for some my posting here causes offense and whilst I would love to continue the argument I don't want to spend my time swapping insults. I along with others have got some difficult issues in Salford to deal with over the next few years
Salford Star wrote
at 22:05:58 on 30 September 2010
See John Merry's comments below... You're never unwelcome on the Salford Star site. We believe in giving everyone a voice, including yourself. We don't even agree with some of the comments about you posted on here but unless stuff is libellous we don't edit anything, not even spelling mistakes. We do wish, however, that you'd answer some of the points raised in the articles about unemployment figures and stuff like that rather than just defending personal attacks on you...
John Merry wrote
at 21:52:16 on 30 September 2010
Ok Carrie you have a problem with me defending myself. I would rather agree not to post on here so that you can continue to post. I have other places I can make my arguments and it's clear I am unwelcome
John Merry wrote
at 21:17:15 on 30 September 2010
No I dont agree its well balanced which is why I feel the need in the face of some difficult comments to keep responding . I do appreciate some would rather I kept my nose out of a private conversation. It is however well written
Carrie Fergus wrote
at 21:16:34 on 30 September 2010
I have enjoyed posting on the Salford Star but I no longer wish to contribute alongside a sectarian self interested character like John Merry. No matter what argument ordinary people put up he will deflect it with non sequitur answers and defence of his crony pals on his various boards. I cannot contain my anger towards these horrible individuals who are happy to send our young men to war and neglect the poorest people in our society and think they can just blame the "other side". They get away with it because the BBC and the local Media are cowards aswell and offer no real scrutiny. Thers an old saying that goes "to lie with dogs you risk getting up with fleas". His posts and attitude are starting to make me itch and for that reason I AM OUT .
Cheek wrote
at 14:25:56 on 30 September 2010
As councillor Merry obviously reads the Salford Star on a regular basis and you continue to put up his comments (wait for it) surely this is showing the the Star is balanced and therefore deserving of funding? Well John?
John Merry wrote
at 12:10:29 on 30 September 2010
By fiancial interest it was suggested I had finacial ownership of the companies . The companies are all ones that the council has a stake in . Out of the list there is an allowance paid for being deputy chair of the Local Government Childrens Services Board. I have declined a pay rise at the Council for the last two years. Is there any point in me continuing to post here? "Support for Albert" suggests not but I want to continue to argue my case even if it is only to the 3or 4 regular contributers . Albert you must not believe the tory propaganda . In 2007 they were happy with the Labour Parties spending plans now they want to cut far deeper and faster than we were proposing in order to cut back on the role of Government . We did spend in order to deal with the recession and everyone in Salford should be grateful we did otherwise the global recession would have far deeper than it was. Furthermore we bailed out the banks not to protect the bankers but to save the economy . We were hours away from the cash machines stopping working and peoples life savings disappearing. The truth is we saved the British economy and Mary Ferrer supports a party that is pushing forward a vicious and savage attack on the welfare state. Finally Nachtschlepper I remember your previous attack on us for not supporting the campaign to support the maternity facilites at Hope. When one of the organisers of the campaign came forward to say you were wrong and the council had been in the forefront of the fight I thought you would have the decency to say sorry but instead you continue to peddle the same myths. We do intend to stand up for the people of Salford against Mary Ferrers party and the Tories but we will do it in a way that will not damge Salford futher. We will not descend into the chaos of Liverpool in the 1980s or set a budget that will mean we run out of money to pay the thousands of people who depend on the council. I hope we can do it together but we first of all need to understand who the real enemy is.
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 11:37:37 on 30 September 2010
A tip of the hat to Councillor Oneill. It is time somebody down at the fun house took some responsibillity & stood up for the people of this good city. It looks to me like the only way to go is to turn our backs on the major partys & look to independents to fight our cause.
Atholl St resident. wrote
at 09:53:46 on 30 September 2010
It made my blood boil when i read that this man Merry is on 11 boards then he says there is no financial interest. Somoeone here has claimed that he is paid £9,000 for 24 days work for the NWDA, are you paid by them or not and is that a financial interest or not? and if so please declare what other fees you receive from these boards. Mr Merry for your own sake and integrity please come clean on this matter I view it as very, very serious when Salford needs someone who is going to dedicate themselves to Salfords cause rather than other causes. Perhaps the Star could find out the exact position of Mr Merrys love affair with boardrooms, maybe the FOI could help.
Support for Albert wrote
at 08:06:59 on 30 September 2010
I agree. £20,000,000 (seven noughts!) is a lot for the bbc orchestra and for what benefit for Salfordians? The money could have been used to fund a few Salford bands, the film industry, SALFORD STAR (couldn,t resist that one) and still have over £19,500,000. Make that £19,400,000, I think John Merry has just offered me a job at £100,000 a year. Get rid of IN SALFORD and put all the legal notices and adverts in the Salford Star and my wages will be paid by the money saved. Does John Merry read and comment on the Salford star in works time or when he,s at home/sitting on all these boards/at the Laboou party conference?
Joe Oneill wrote
at 05:12:18 on 30 September 2010
Nachtshlepper one councillor showed up to offer support the Independent From swinton South, No Labour, No Liberal Democrat ,or Tory sad really people elected to repreent a city and only one young man, with Balls and Brains,
Albert Spiby wrote
at 21:17:01 on 29 September 2010
John Merry. Far from being targeted, you are simply being asked to do what your job is. REPRESENT & DEFEND Salford so that any cuts (that may or may not be necessary)don't adversely affect those most vulnerable. For a start The Council should cease any commercial activities which incur losses or which have no direct benefit to the majority of Salfordians. Salford should not be supporting Orchestras or having loss making Ice Rinks at the expense of front line services. You have a DUTY to OPPOSE this, or any other Government that would attack Salford's services. Please also remember it was LABOUR who got us into this mess with a Chancellor incapable of basic maths (Gordon), and an egotistical, undemocratic, lying, God Bothering S.O.B. Prime Minister! (Bliar)
John Merry wrote
at 21:16:19 on 29 September 2010
Err if you read further you would have discovered they are all appointments connected with my role as leader of the council there is no financial interest. The original poster had not done his homework
mary ferrer wrote
at 21:15:50 on 29 September 2010
I agree with everything "Cheek" has said. This has not happened over night. You only have too look at what Salford have done under a Labour Run Goverment/Council. Remember 10 years ago when this Labour council were selling all the family silver and closing down swimming baths/ Libraries community buildings.They didn't get it right back then and they are still getting it wrong. Each year they write of millions in unclaimed Rent/council tax and something called sundries. We agree to fund the BBC phili to the tune of 20 million with on going monies for god knows how long and for how much. We get loans to build a community stadiums that has very little community space. Loan money to Salford Reds something like 1 Million. We hold events that run a loss. We fund IN SALFORD which is a soap box for this Labour Council. The list could go on and on. They need to look at better housekeeping.We are all having to watch our penny's and have for the last 12 months,not since May. If they have to get rid of staff lets hope they start at the top, do we need all these over paid under working people. We bring in consultants at a drop of a hat and still can't get it right. If we are paying people over £100.000 per year I would expect THEM to be up to the job,not have to bring in outside bodies at a great expence to the tax payers of Salford. Some of these cut were in the pipeline long before the last elections,but it is easy to point the finger somewhere else. Mary Ferrer
Carrie Fergus wrote
at 18:33:58 on 29 September 2010
I agree with An Archie !!! Decided to do a google on how many other boards he sits on. I have just spotted a this posting which raises questions about Johns other board appointments and I quote. "JOHN MERRY “AN INDIVIDUAL DEDICATED TO SALFORD”: I have just been looking at some information about the lead members of our esteemed "Star Chamber" and I am amazed how some of them can find time to concern themselves with looking after your interests. He sits on eleven other boards as either a director "This could indicate a financial interest" or as a board member. I would ask where does he find the time to fulfil his role as council leader? Councillor John Merry Appointed December 2004 Register of Interests - updated 20th January 2010 Company Name Nature of Interest Direct or Indirect Interest Chapel Wharf Ltd Director Direct Halle Board Board Member Direct Higher Broughton (GP) Ltd Director Direct Learning & Skills Council - Greater Manchester Board Member Direct LGA Children & Young People Board Member Direct LGA Strategy & Finance Board Member Direct Manchester City Centre Management Company Ltd Director Direct Marketing Manchester Director Direct MIDAS Director Direct National Learning & Skills Council Special Advisor Direct North West Regional Association Assembly Board Member Direct Salford City Council Leader Direct ". Mark. ASK THE QUESTIONS BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY QUESTION THE ANSWERS.
An Archie in the uk. (paul farrell). wrote
at 18:33:13 on 29 September 2010
Hey Cheek, leave John alone. He has other things on his mind like what to do with the £9,000 a year he gets from the NWDA for 24 days work (according to a previous posting). Although he has some way to catch up with the NWDAs CEO who is on £190,000 per year and whose expenses featured on a recent BBC programme :::Chauffeur-driven The 2005 Rugby League Challenge Cup Final saw Hull record a shock 25-24 points victory over Super League champions Leeds. But a bigger shock might be the cost of a ride home from the final for Steven Broomhead, chief executive of the North West Regional Development Agency (NWDA). File On 4 has discovered Mr Broomhead, who is also vice chairman of Warrington Wolves Rugby League Club, got a chauffeur-driven trip from the Millennium Stadium back to the North West for himself and a friend at the taxpayer's expense. The owner of an executive car business confirmed that one of his drivers took Mr Broomhead and a friend to the match from their Cardiff hotel, and after the game drove hundreds of miles dropping the friend off at Warrington, before taking the NWDA's boss to his home in Preston, Lancashire. This trip cost £395. The following year Mr Broomhead, who has a company car, received a similar chauffer-driven ride when the final was held at Twickenham in London. Accountable quangos Mr Broomhead was unavailable for comment but the NWDA's head of legal services, Steven Zdolyny, said the agency's boss was invited to the games in an official capacity, and, "if he attends a function in that capacity, he can choose the form of transport to be used." Critics such as Mr Baker believe it is difficult to call quangos such as RDAs to account, either for the results they deliver or their use of taxpayer's money. I use to feel an affinity to the Labour movement but now quite frankly I feel they are just like the Tories, a bunch of self serving elitist spineless individuals whose real allegiances belong not to the people who pay their way or elect them but to their crony political colleagues . Mr Naselyband and his slimy brother who he stabbed in the back sum the whole god damn lot of them up. What self respecting person could sit in a Manchester conference hall and even contemplate clapping instead of throwing up.
Cheek! wrote
at 15:59:45 on 29 September 2010
How the hell can John Merry blame a government that has been in power for 5 months when we had a Labour government for 13 years and a Labour council since Moses was a lad? It,s the usual council game. If something works out then they want the credit and if it doesn,t then it is someone elses fault. I just hope that the cuts are from the "dead wood" at the top rather than the people who actually work.
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 10:37:03 on 29 September 2010
Well I guess we know who will not be opposing the government on this issue, but then is anybody really surprised?
Salford Star wrote
at 22:26:31 on 28 September 2010
Disappointed that you see this a "game", John. The Salford Star does not play games when it comes to people's jobs and lives. If you are seriously doing your best to defend jobs and services then why start on those who the Salford UNISON rep calls `the weak and the vulnerable'? Perhaps you should think about stopping the flow of public money to developers, stop being obsessed with enticing `professionals' into the city and stop taking loans out to build a rugby stadium with Peel Holdings - can't the richest company in the North West find their own funding? As you well know, the Salford Star is independent and will target whoever is not doing right by Salford's community - be that Labour, Tory, Lib Dem or any other bugger... And guess who has been holding the purse strings for the last zillion years?
John Merry wrote
at 22:01:01 on 28 September 2010
disappointed that the star seems to want to play games with this. Target the Tory government Steve not a Labour Council trying to do it's best to defend services and the people of this city. Otherwise you will simply do the Tories job for them
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 17:52:21 on 28 September 2010
I wonder if any councillors will turn out to show their disgust at the ConDemned government? I doubt it, balls & brains are in too short supply down at the fun house.
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