• The vision puts forward a range of long-term initiatives to reshape Greater Manchester’s economy in wake of the pandemic
• Proposals outlined include Innovation GM, a new platform to drive research and development funding and growth in high-potential sectors
• Skills, good employment and infrastructure investment are also prioritised
The Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership (GM LEP) – the organisation which brings together the private and public sectors to support business growth – has today set out a bold new vision for a greener and fairer Greater Manchester.
The vision – Building a Greater Manchester, Making a Greater Britain – provides a blueprint for remodelling the city-region’s economy. It includes a range of long-term initiatives to help businesses innovate more effectively and become more productive, creating a greener and more resilient Greater Manchester.
It builds on the Local Industrial Strategy, which was launched in June last year, while recognising the shift in attitudes among people, businesses and investors caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Central to the vision is Innovation GM, a new platform which will bring together Greater Manchester’s public and private sectors, educational institutions and specialist facilities to attract research and development funding and drive economic growth. This will be particularly targeted at frontier sectors identified by the Local Industrial Strategy: health, digital, clean technologies and advanced manufacturing and materials.
To ensure the city-region is attracting and developing the right talent, there are proposals for an integrated learning and work budget and the creation of a single Talent City Region system. This would see businesses working with universities and colleges to help equip people with the right skills for the jobs of the future.
The vision also aims to encourage diversity in company leadership, promote better health and wellbeing support and turn Greater Manchester into a living wage city-region. This will be achieved by expanding the Good Employment Charter, which was launched last year to improve employment standards among businesses and organisations across the city-region.
There are further proposals for stimulating investment in place, particularly through investment in low-carbon infrastructure, the delivery of the Greater Manchester Infrastructure Programme and the establishment of Innovation Districts in all parts of Greater Manchester.
The vision has been developed by the LEP Co-Chairs and board members, in partnership with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), and is underpinned by an evidence base from the recently updated Greater Manchester Independent Prosperity Review.
Lou Cordwell, Co-Chair, Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “While our focus remains on supporting our businesses through an incredibly difficult period, we also have an opportunity to pause, reflect and look ahead.
“The pandemic has exposed the uncomfortable truth that, for too long, our economic model has not worked for enough people. This plan puts forward our blueprint for Greater Manchester’s future – for harnessing our world-class innovation assets, driving green growth, rebalancing inequalities and encouraging diversity.”
Mo Isap, Co-Chair, Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “We want to build on our heritage of innovation to drive economic growth and social change. To make the most of Greater Manchester’s global strengths in sectors like clean growth, digital, health innovation and advanced materials and manufacturing, we must ensure our people are equipped with the right skills.
“We also know that we can’t make our long-term vision a reality without the support of Greater Manchester’s business community. Strong partnerships between all sectors have been crucial to the prosperity of the city-region’s economy, and we must maintain and develop those partnerships if we are to make this vision a reality.”
Elise Wilson, GMACA Portfolio Lead for Economy and Business, said: “We’re at a pivotal moment, with the pandemic providing an opportunity to build back better by setting a new course for Greater Manchester’s economy.
“Our plan sets out the first steps towards achieving an economic recovery that puts people first. We must build on our world-class strengths, become a digitally-enabled city-region and ensure the benefits of economic growth are felt by all.”