Postcard from Manchester

What a difference a year makes as I travelled on the train to Manchester, since Birmingham last year I have seen Jeremy Pembroke retire, lost the County Leadership election, watched as Andrea Hill left Suffolk, been elected onto Forest Heath District Council and voted in as Norfolk and Suffolk Area Chairman for the Conservative Party, not sure which is worst!

Manchester is a long way from Lakenheath but surprisingly easy to get to as a train convenient leaves Ely and 4 hours later you arrive in at Manchester’s Oxford Road Station. As always took the time to plan my days ahead to balance the main sessions with all the fringes I wanted to attend and increasingly the number of short meetings, with political old friends and the number of charities and lobbyists who want to meet and chat. At one stage I was even invited to speak at a Fringe but got bumped as they found an MP instead, oh well such is the lot of a Councillor!

Then off the train and a really short walk to the hotel right opposite, a very grand but very oldVictorian Palace. Stayed in a spectacular room all bottle green glazed bricks and 20 foot high ceiling with a roll top bath in its own little room which looked great until I tried to shower in it and managed to flood the floor each day, it wasn’t so much about putting the towels back to improve my eco credentials it was more a case of mopping the floor to save the people below from a dripping ceiling.

The conference past in its usually mix of chat, food and the occasional late night discussing important matters that I could not remember the next day, which was obviously due to the lateness of the hour!

The key thing I wanted to get from the conference was how the Dilnot proposals were being received and so I made it my plan to attend as many fringes on all things health and social care as was at all possible.

The message came over loud and clear, the issue was as is always the case, everyone saw the merits of the proposals but how were we to pay for them. This of course the right issue to discuss as everything has to be paid for in the end and I spoke where I could about the need for the health system to be proactive when dealing with older people and the money is there in the system but we must, must be smarter as to how we spend it.

As I travelled back I worked on how I and my fellow Lead Members for Adult Social Services could have an impact and what we could do to help see the Dilnot proposals implemented.

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