Letter: Another view of Moss Side

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Sir: There have been many commentaries about recent incidents in Moss Side, but how did the Independent approach the serious problems of this inner-city area? By buying drinks and tickets to Old Trafford for one random person and highlighting his crapulous comments (Weekend, 9 January). Apart from a reference to our pounds 6m scheme to regenerate the Alexandra Park estate, there was little in your article to reflect the effort so many people and organisations have put into Moss Side.

This city council, in particular, has done everything it has been allowed to do to revive the area. It has sought estate action money; it has created recruitment policies to benefit local people - a prime example is the employment agreements forged with Scottish and Newcastle Breweries; it has won City Challenge money for adjoining Hulme, which will have valuable spin-off benefits for Moss Side; it has supported local enterprises and social organisations.

It isn't nearly enough? Of course not. But what can you do when you have a government that (with a few exceptions, such as City Challenge) confines itself to cosmetic contributions to the inner cities? Worse still, year after year it strips money from mainstream services such as education, housing and social services, which are the lifeblood of the community.

Where does the money go? To favoured folk in the Tory heartlands of the South. To places in which 'the North' is without consequence. And that's where the Government and the Independent share the same outlook. When something dramatic enough happens, you send a reporter to write about Moss Side as though it were a foreign land. Your anonymous source spoke accurately enough about local resentment towards journalists 'poncing up from London and poncing back'.

Sincerely,

GRAHAM STRINGER

Leader of the Council

Town Hall

Manchester

12 January

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