Speaking in a panel discussion as part of Digital Leaders Week, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham shared progress made towards achieving the ambition of becoming a 100% digitally-enabled city-region.
Achievements spanned work including digitisation of early years, digital infrastructure, and digital inclusion across the region, chiefly the new Digital Inclusion Action Network with a targeted focus on under-25s, over-75s and disabled people.
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham said:
If Greater Manchester is truly going to be a world leading digital city region, we have to make a big commitment to fix the digital divide, the consequences of not doing so are severe – with our people at risk of further social isolation, lack of equal opportunities and not being able to access support.
“We are ensuring that everyone in Greater Manchester, whatever their age, location or situation, can benefit from the opportunities digital brings. Now is the time where Greater Manchester can lead the way in achieving an ambition that we should all strive for country wide.”
Digital Leaders Week was opened by GMCA’s Lead for Digital, Work and Skills, Cllr Andrew Western who highlighted the North-west’s attractiveness for foreign investment. He said:
Organisations are wanting to tap into the tech talent, cost effectiveness and entrepreneurial spirit behind home grown successes – like The Hut Group, AO and AutoTrader, and our social enterprises and willingness to collaborate to innovate.
“And what underpins this are our universities and colleges, our infrastructure and the dedicated support available to tech companies, with particular specialisms, including CityLab’s in Manchester, GCHQ’s programmes, HOST in Salford, and Ashton Old Baths in Tameside to name but a few.”
The Mayor ended on a call to organisations in Greater Manchester and beyond to come forward and join us in our mission to fix the digital divide by joining the taskforce and be part of the solution to this challenge that impacts the whole city-region.