Who's to blame for town hall cuts?
Who's to blame for town hall cuts - the government or the councils? That's the debate which will rage from now until local election day.
At Prime Minister's Questions David Cameron highlighted Labour-controlled Manchester, accusing it of making politically motivated cuts hours after I attended the council's executive which claimed that it had suffered politically motivated cuts in government grants.
Ministers have highlighted the pay of Manchester's chief executive - £230,000 a year - and its recent decision to spend £150,000 (half of it from EU funds) on street art.
Compare that, ministers say, with frugal Tory Trafford next door.
Manchester, however, points to cuts in government support for the most deprived areas - in particular, the 35% or £12.6m cut in their Supporting People Grant whilst Trafford enjoyed a 4%, or £500,000, increase.
Today - having met with both council's leaders and executives - I have tried to make sense of the comparison.
The figures show that Manchester has much greater needs than Trafford. It receives much more public money, spends much more and is now having to cut much more.
It is a matter of political judgement whether the story is one of Manchester spending too much or government cutting too much. Some may believe the answer is both.
Here are the figures both councils gave me:
Manchester, ranked the country's 4th most deprived area, has an annual budget of approximately £620m excluding schools, equivalent to £840 per person. It is making cuts of £109m and an estimated 2,000 of its approximately 10,000 staff could lose their jobs.
Trafford, ranked the country's 203rd most deprived area, has a budget of about £230m, equivalent to £420 per person. It is making cuts of £22m and is set to cut 150 jobs this year.
What struck me most today was that the row in Westminster about Manchester and Trafford is much louder and more intemperate than it is on the ground.
The council's leaders respect one another and co-operate. The council's officials work closely together and senior figures have moved from one to the other.
Indeed, all 10 Greater Manchester authorities are already quietly working on sharing back office functions and carrying out their procurement together saving many millions of pounds.