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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Beth Abbit

The Mancunian Way: A £3 weekly shop

Keep up to date with all the big stories from across Greater Manchester in the daily Mancunian Way newsletter. You can receive the newsletter direct to your inbox every weekday by signing up right here.

Here is today's Mancunian Way:


Liz Truss raised a few eyebrows when she walked on stage at Tory Conference to the sound of M People’s Moving On Up this morning. The band’s lead singer Heather Small - whose son is a Labour councillor - has been a fierce critic of the government’s policy to send refugees to Rwanda.

Her son James Small-Edwards, who is a councillor in west London tweeted: “An apt choice! This tired and out of touch Tory Government is indeed moving on out”.

Meanwhile former Haçienda DJ Mike Pickering - who founded the Manchester-based band - insists he does not support the use of his song. “So apparently we can't stop Truss walking out to our song, very weird! So sad it got used by this shower of a government. BTW Truss labour used it with permission in 90's. I don't want my song being a soundtrack to lies,” he tweeted.

He told Press Association the entire band are ‘livid’ at the PM's use of the song, which he claims was done without seeking their permission. "Heather’s boy James is a Labour councillor. Hopefully most people will know that they have pirated it off us. She won’t be around to use it again for very long, I would imagine."

Dear diary

The Prime Minister spoke of making ‘difficult but necessary’ choices to achieve economic growth during her speech today. She insisted ‘we must stay the course’ in pursuit of her three priorities: ‘Growth, growth and growth’.

But no doubt it’ll be money, money, money at the forefront of most Manunians’ minds. Especially as Ms Truss is considering a benefits rise in line with earnings, rather than soaring inflation - which essentially means a real-terms cut.

At least one Cabinet member, the Home Secretary, wants to cut welfare spending. Suella Braverman told a Tory conference fringe event there is a ‘Benefits Street culture’ in the UK and ‘far too many people’ are ‘fit to work’ but choose to claim welfare instead.

Save the Children say that's not true. The charity is campaigning for the government to raise benefits in line with inflation, scrap the benefits cap and pay £10 extra per child into the child element of Universal Credit.

The charity supports the Smallshaw Hurst Community Action Group, in Tameside, which runs a Pantry Store in Ashton-under-Lyne to reduce food poverty. Pantry members pay £3 a week for a shop that includes fresh, frozen and ambient food and they can find support with recipes, nutrition advice and activities for children. Numbers attending have almost doubled in recent weeks.

Some of the pantry members have shared entries from their diaries with The Mancunian Way to illustrate what life is like currently for low-income families. Names have been changed to protect identities.


In the last few weeks there's been seven times I've had to ask my mum to lend me money for gas or electric. I've got so much washing piled up now because I can only afford to run the washing machine every few days compared to the every day I used to. With six of us in a house - two being toddlers and potty training - we get through A LOT of clothes so not being able to put the washer on regularly is a massive stress.

There's been a couple of nights I've not slept worrying about not being able to afford something as simple as milk the next day and trying to work out how to get the money together for it. We go through six pints a day due to having two little ones still drinking milk and I've had to try cut theirs down too or not allow them to have cereal for breakfast anymore because something as simple as milk has gone up from £1.50 for 6 pints to £1.99 and I don't always have even £2 spare. Can't buy in bulk because it doesn't last long. I'm already buying 18 pints at a time when I do my shopping.

My kids are struggling with simple things like shoes because I can't afford to keep replacing them when they get a bit tight or start getting holes in. My oldest is wearing second hand shoes a size too big for school at the minute which breaks my heart. The cost of living rising and benefits not matching that rise is really affecting us, it effects my mental health so much because I feel like I'm failing my children.


Not only am I struggling with gas and electric, it’s the bedroom tax that is crippling me. Everything is expensive and I need to pay £30 in bedroom tax a fortnight. People say move to a smaller house but I look after my granddaughters as their parent has very poor mental health and can be hospitalised on a regular basis so they have to stay with me so that they don’t end up in care.

My granddaughters are having to spend more time at their dad’s as I can’t afford to have them all the time, my benefits won’t stretch as food has gone up in price and I can’t top up their school food card as it’s in their mum’s name and I don’t have spare cash to give them.

If their mum is in hospital for longer than 28 days her benefits are stopped and she has to reapply once she is out but her rent etc still needs to be paid on her property which I have to cover somehow.

I used to do family dinners on a Sunday and it was £7 for just that one meal on the meter so I had to stop, and I'm finding I'm spending an extra £23 a week on my own shop. I've got to buy glucose and lactic free products so things cost me more. Politicians don't have to worry about feeding their kids and the prices. They could have a full cooked meal and not think of the price whereas families on my estate struggle.



I've recently had a change in circumstances and had to claim Universal Credit instead of Tax Credits. My last Tax Credits payment were two months ago. I didn't want to get an advance payment so I've used the savings I had to cover until I got my first payment.

I've had my first Universal Credit payment today but it's not right they have only awarded half of my rent allowance. I'm going to have to either ask my landlord if I can pay my rent in two halves or pay my full rent and use a credit card for shopping.


I've been given the £150 council tax rebate this week. I've used some to pay a bit off my gas and electric. The bill was £120 and I pay £85 direct debit and I want to avoid increasing if I can. I need this weather to improve so I can dry washing outside. I've also used it to pay off the Tax Credits over payment I've had after changing to Universal Credit. The rest has been used for some of Evie’s presents and the rest I've bought on credit card. Thankfully there no more birthdays for a while now.


I forgot I had a dentist appointment so I hadn't budgeted for the £23.80 that it cost for a check-up. My total monthly spend has been about £30 to £40 more than what it normally is.


First week of school holidays. We went swimming as the girls have lessons and they don't pay for general swimming. Then we went to the library in the afternoon so didn't spend much. We've stayed at home and made our own Jubilee decorations for the rest of the week and luckily the weather has been a bit better. The kids being off school has increased this week's shopping costs by £10 to £15.

A Government spokesperson said millions of the most vulnerable families are being protected through the new Energy Price Guarantee. They added that the typical employee will save 'over £330 a year' through a tax cut, 'allowing people on Universal Credit to keep £1,000 more of what they earn'.

Battle of the mayors

A Tory mayor has questioned Andy Burnham' s vision for a London-style bus system in Greater Manchester. Tees Valley metro mayor Ben Houchen says Mr Burnham can't afford to make the plan a reality without government support.

He predicts his Greater Manchester counterpart will try and blame the government if he is unable to continue with a £2 maximum cap on single fares and £5 for day passes, as Northern Agenda editor Rob Parsons writes.

But Mr Houchen says the Labour mayor needs to ‘take responsibility’ for paying for his bus strategy rather than picking a ‘massive fight’ with the government.

'They can spend all the money having all the legal fights with the bus companies’, Mr Houchen said (Getty Images)

But Mr Burnham's office said the Tees Valley mayor's analysis was ‘incorrect’ and that ‘Greater Manchester has already successfully introduced our new capped fares, with support from the Government’.

Mr Houchen said lots of metro mayors around the country are closely watching what happens here and he hasn’t taken a decision on franchising in his North East patch ‘because we want to see how it plays out in Greater Manchester, they can spend all the money having all the legal fights with the bus companies shaping it and if it's the right thing to do we'll look at it at the time’.

Search widened

Efforts to find the remains of Moors murder victim Keith Bennett have been ramped up, with the search area widened and soil samples sent away for analysis.

The latest excavation began on Friday after author Edward Russell showed police pictures of what was described as part of a jaw bone, after working with a team of experts to try to find Keith's remains. Police have dug 3ft down in the immediate area identified by Mr Russell, but no bones have yet been found.

Keith, 12, was one of five victims of killers Myra Hindley and Ian Brady. He vanished on June 16th 1964. His is the only body not to have been found.

Police officers continue their search for the remains of Keith Bennett on Saddleworth Moor (Vincent Cole - Manchester Evening News)

Use of stop and search increases

Black and Asian people are still more likely to be stopped and searched by police in Greater Manchester, Joseph Timan reports.

The use of the powers increased by around 20 pc in the last year with 5,070 stop and search encounters from April to June, according to Greater Manchester Police. That’s a 139.9 pc increase compared to the same period in 2021 as the force seeks to increase arrests.

The ratio of individuals from ethnic minorities being subject to stop and search by the force fell last year - but the powers are still used disproportionately. Between July 2021 and June 2022, Black people were 3.7 times more likely to be stopped and searched than White people with Asian people 1.7 times more likely.

This is less than the same period in the previous year when Black people were 4.1 times more likely to be stopped and searched and Asian people twice as likely – although the ratio for other ethnic minorities has remained at 2.2. Greater Manchester's race equality panel say this is still too high.

GMP say the Chief Constable has been clear in his belief that officers had not been using stop and search powers enough to combat serious violence. “In comparison to most similar-sized forces our stop-and-search figures were low, and it has been a priority of ours to increase the number of suspicious people and vehicles we are stopping and searching as well as increasing the number of arrests we are making, which is now up nearly 65 pc overall in the last year alone," they said.

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Weather etc

  • Thursday: Partly cloudy changing to sunny intervals by late morning. 16C.
  • Road closures: A57 Snake Pass in both directions for roadworks between Ladybower Reservoir and Hurst Road until October 23.
  • Trivia question: The album Elegant Slumming won which Manchester-based band a Mercury Music Prize in 1994?

Manchester headlines

Hub: The first low-carbon hydrogen fuel hub in Greater Manchester and the largest of its kind in the UK has been given planning permission. Trafford Council has approved Carlton Power's £300million scheme at Manchester Road, in Carrington. Carlton says it will be a catalyst for more low carbon generation and greater energy security in the North West, and will boost investment in new energy infrastructure and job creation in the area.

Burglary: Officers in every force across the country will now attend all home burglaries as part of a new set of standards they hope will result in more crimes being solved and more thieves prosecuted. GMP already has policies to send officers to all burglary reports, but other forces others attend only where victims are vulnerable or elderly, or where there are evidential lines of inquiry to be followed up. The National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) said today chief constables would work to ensure the new directive is implemented 'as soon as practically possible'.

Closing: Bosses at Beer Nouveau, in Ardwick, have confirmed they will be ‘winding up for the time being’ with the Temperance Street Brewery put up for sale. Sharing the news on Twitter, the owners wrote: "This isn't a decision we've taken lightly, we've worked hard for 8 years to build up what we believe to be a great space for great beers, and especially great customers.

Worth a read

Andy Mercer - a tour guide for Invisible Manchester - knows the city well from his younger days, when he would ‘stagger’ through town in the early-mid-90s on one of his infamous rock ‘n’ roll pub tours.

Now he runs tours of the city for Invisible Manchester - a social enterprise that trains people who have experienced homelessness to become walking tour guides.

Reporter Ethan Davies joined Andy for the Ales & Alleyways tour and learnt plenty about the city centre and some of Manchester’s most historic and interesting watering holes.

Andy Mercer during the tour (Vincent Cole - Manchester Evening News)

That's all for today

Thanks for joining me.If you have stories you would like us to look into, email

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The answer to today's trivia question is: M People

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