Breaking News – Council to investigate zero-growth Manchester

Article published: Wednesday, November 17th 2010

A Manchester City Council meeting today committed to produce research into the possibilities for creating a ‘steady state’ economy for the city region as a response to the environmental and economic crises.

'Steady as she goes' Polyp cartoonist

The decision was made by the Economy, Employment and Skills overview and scrutiny committee following a presentation on job creation in the low carbon economy made by the council’s head of environmental strategy, Richard Sharland.

‘Steady state’ economics involves a gradual planned transition away from economic growth towards balanced consumption of energy and resources and a greater focus upon quality of life and environmental sustainability as social priorities. It has been the subject of renewed interest in recent years due to concerns over climate change.

The decision came after proposals submitted to the meeting by Marc Hudson of Manchester Climate Fortnightly were backed by Liberal Democrat councillors. Opposition came from Labour councillor Hugh Barrett who attempted to discourage investigations into the issue, initially claiming that such research would be “strange” and “above our remit”, but an agreement was reached following the intervention of Moss Side councillor Roy Walters. Sharland’s presentation and the discussion following it had focused on ways in which Manchester could gain “first mover advantage” in the green economy through innovative economic strategies.

It is believed that today’s decision makes Manchester City Council the first local authority in the country to undertake such research.

David Cullen from Manchester Climate Action said, “It is encouraging to see parts of the Council agreeing to look at one of the root cause of climate change – the absurdity of chasing infinite economic growth on a planet of finite resources.  But the Council has a history of making promises, missing deadlines and letting issues slip.  We need to make sure this fundamental issue gets properly examined.”

Andy Bowman

More: Manchester, News


  1. Just goes to show that concerted and well-researched citizen lobbying of the kind carried out by the Manchester Climate Fortnightly editor can influence the policy of authorities.

    Comment by michaelp on November 17, 2010 at 4:54 pm
  2. fucking hell good news

    Comment by Dave on November 17, 2010 at 6:14 pm
  3. This is just one of those initiatives which the council embarks on from time to time to keep its legions of useless employees busy going to meetings and conferences etc. It’ll come to nothing, just as the Manchester Climate Change Action Plan have done, a fact bemoaned in the Manchester Climate Fortnightly in its farewell issue No 61.

    As for a zero growth economy, that might make sense in middle England. In Manchester it just means poverty for ever more for many residents. Many parts of the city are semi-derelict dumps which would make most of Soviet era East Germany look like the stockbroker belt home counties by comparison. I suspect a very high proportion of Manchester residents are already in fule poverty, partly caused by cynical ‘green’ taxes on gas and electricity charges. As they freeze in their charge card metered homes I doubt they’ll be pleased that the middle class Lib Dems are palying at eco-games again.

    Comment by simon on November 17, 2010 at 7:38 pm
  4. […] for A Certain Future, the head of the council’s Head of Environmental Strategy, Richard Sharland, committed to produce a report into the implications of a steady-state economy in Greater Manchester. It was believed that […]

    Pingback by A climate of exaggeration  —   MULE on June 9, 2011 at 8:20 pm
  5. […] given in November 2010 by MCFly co-editor Marc Hudson (see contemporaneous reports here and here).  A report was promised, but was delayed (see here).  When the report was finally published in […]

    Pingback by “Steady State Economy” report to be published today by #Manchester City Council | manchester climate monthly on June 12, 2012 at 9:07 am

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