Devolution plans welcomed by Manchester businesses

IN: Business news

The news that the city of Manchester is to receive an elected mayor and greater influence over local public spending has been met with approval by local businesses, keen to shape their own future.

undefinedundefinedUnder a new agreement announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne this month, Manchester will receive control over a funding package worth over £1 billion. This significant development allows the city to have greater say over spending in a number of areas, including health and social care, housing, transport and skills. In particular, plans will aim to extend the city’s Metrolink tram network, establish Manchester as a science capital and better align skills training to meet the needs of businesses within the region.

The move comes just months after the Lord Adonis report raised concerns over London’s economic dominance within the country, stating:

“We have got to see prosperity shared more widely, and it can only be shared more widely if we have strong powerful economic and political institutions at the local level able to deal with these fundamental problems of skills and infrastructure not just in London where it has been dealt with quite successfully in the last 10 years but across the country.”

Osborne also referenced the need to create, ‘a Northern Powerhouse’ in early summer, and the first step towards achieving this goal, taken in Manchester, has been welcomed by the city’s business community.

“We obviously need to see the finer details to make sure there is a recognised role for business to play in this as well as look at how more of the allocated local budget, including a reformed model for business rates, could be transferred to local control, but it is obvious from the pace and scope of the announcement that this is not only a major change in policy and local governance, but also a major opportunity for Greater Manchester,” commented Chris Fletcher, director of policy and communications at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce.

Fletcher also pointed to the impact of the Chamber’s recent efforts to address skills gaps in the region as a sign of how much more devolution could achieve, reporting:

“Through work that the Chamber has pioneered with elements of the local skills budget, we have shown that by having the ability to respond to local conditions quickly and with minimal fuss real progress can be made.”

Given the Bank’s strong presence in Manchester, Aldermore looks forward to seeing how devolution plans might benefit SMEs, savers and homebuyers in the North-West. 

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