Inclusive growth and the Economics of Greater Manchester

08/09/17

For the UK to be an economic success, our regions need to be firing on all cylinders. For Greater Manchester, the challenge is to improve productivity - the point where the debates on growth, living standards and economic growth converge.  But how can we ensure that Manchester’s growth benefits everyone and so helps to reduce inequality?

I am delighted, as Chair of pro-manchester, to see that our forthcoming Economics Conference taking place on 13 October 2017, will be putting a spotlight on inclusive growth alongside a range of other topics including:

  • Delivering the potential of the Northern Powerhouse, particularly making the most of the investments in transport and digital infrastructure (and where the two collide e.g. smart ticketing), as well as housing (where the Mayor is committed to ending homelessness by the end of this decade).
  • Reducing the city’s dependency on central government funding with Greater Manchester’s aim to balance its books, delivering the dividend of public service reform and place based growth.  
  • Developing a strategy for the Greater Manchester economy, particularly in international sectors like aerospace, pharmaceuticals and business and financial services.

The Economics Conference provides an ideal place for debate on these topics and, importantly, build a shared view on how to deliver inclusive growth for the city. Indeed, our Good Growth for Cities work with Demos has, for the last 5 years, built the case for developing a broader measure of growth, based on the views of citizens themselves. Its definition of success puts health, housing and quality of life alongside jobs, skills and incomes as central to creating places where people want to live work and prosper. And as The Human Development Report for Greater Manchester also highlights, the city scores particularly poorly on health and standard of living measures.

The recent mayoral election shone a spotlight on the need for city leaders to target and facilitate inclusive growth. While the recent PwC submission to the RSA Inclusive Growth Commission highlighted the critical role that the private sector has to play in enabling inclusive growth. As a major employer in the North West ensuring our business footprint - from our consumption to our recruitment - makes a positive total local impact helps us not only support our business objectives, but the wider economic health of the region.

Delivering inclusive growth across Greater Manchester will not be easy. Success requires a placed-based strategy supported by an empowered public sector and an enlightened private sector, with each playing their own part in making productivity improvements that not only boost growth, but improve living standards and social mobility for citizens.

I look forward to the hearing the debate from our panel of experts at the Economics Conference as we discuss the way forward on this exciting, but challenging, agenda.

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