Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, has revealed his intentions to put his own levelling up deal to government that will drive the city-region’s economy and development.
Speaking at the Progress21 business conference in Manchester on 23rd September, Mr Burnham said he wants a levelling up deal to accelerate the city region’s recovery from the pandemic that will drive economic growth as well as addressing housing and the city’s green agenda. He said:
I will be committing to them to deliver things that will achieve the levelling up for our residents. So better homes for people by retrofitting more homes and making them zero carbon, better jobs for people that come from that, and we’ll put pride back in our places.”
Burnham highlighted that support the region’s digital economy and green economy as fundamental to the levelling-up deal for the city-region he intends to put forward to Westminster. He said:
“Digitalisation and decarbonisation will be the twin driving forces of the 21st century economy. If you’re a leader in one or preferably both of those things – and they are interconnected, of course, because if you digitalise it can help you decarbonise – you will be a global leader. And that’s where we’re going, to be a global leader in the 21st century economy.”
While addressing delegates at the Progress21 conference, Greater Manchester Mayor plans to share his vision for levelling-up the city region with the Prime Minister ahead of the Conservative Party’s annual conference, which will be hosted in Manchester from 3-6th October. Andy Burnham concluded:
“By rising now to the challenge of the climate crisis, we will solve the jobs crisis, the housing crisis, and we will give people better public transport.
“That is at the core of what I’m saying now to the government, as they’re coming here in a couple of weeks’ time. This is the route to levelling up, this is the way we can both create economic prosperity and improve the lives of our residents.”
‘Levelling up’ of disadvantaged parts of the UK, particularly the North of England, was a key promise and slogan from Boris Johnson’s 2019 election campaign. This month, regional economic disparities rose to the fore once more during a cabinet reshuffle: the Prime Minister has renamed the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government as the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities, now led by Michael Gove.
A former Health Secretary under Gordon Brown, Andy Burnham has been a staunch critic of the government’s handling of the pandemic, particularly in response to financial support for communities and businesses in Greater Manchester and the wider North of England when localised restrictions were imposed on cities across the region.