Manchester’s significant transformation over the past 25 years is well documented. The city has seen strong economic growth, vast regeneration, and an increasing population. We have a number of globally recognised sector strengths, a vibrant cultural offer and an increasing international profile.
However, we recognise that some challenges still remain. Despite our growth, Manchester’s residents are underrepresented in Manchester’s higher paid sectors and occupations, and many develop preventable health conditions a decade earlier than their peer group across the UK. Of course, we also face global challenges like climate change.
To build on our strengths whilst addressing our challenges, we have created Developing a More Inclusive Economy – Our Manchester Industrial Strategy. The Strategy sets out Manchester’s vision to ensure that all of our residents can participate in and benefit from the city’s economic growth. It presents a way for all places within the city to thrive to increase our economic productivity, whilst ensuring that our growth doesn’t come at the cost of our environment and achieving our zero carbon 2038 target.
The Strategy itself was created in an inclusive way. As well as the usual quantitative data analysis and literature reviews, we undertook large scale engagement in all of Manchester’s wards with residents, businesses, organisations and schools to create a qualitative evidence base. The different views gathered during this activity are reflected throughout the final Strategy.
To create a more inclusive economy in Manchester, the Strategy focuses around three pillars:
- People – equipping our residents with the skills and health outcomes that will enable them to access the opportunities being created in the city, and utilising social value to help increase access.
- Place – ensuring sustainable growth is achieved in all our neighbourhoods driven by our key assets (including the city centre and district centres), and that transport, digital and environmental infrastructure connect our residents to the growth.
- Prosperity – creating higher quality job opportunities across our sectors (including the foundational economy), whilst using community wealth building and investment in repurposing and retrofitting buildings to drive change.
Although a city of Manchester document, the Developing a More Inclusive Economy – Our Manchester Industrial Strategy is complimentary to the Greater Manchester Local Industrial Strategy by setting out Manchester’s contribution to delivering growth from our unique position as the conurbation core. As well as being necessary for the city to flourish, driving inclusive growth within our economy is essential to the wider Greater Manchester city region achieving its economic aims.
Having been approved by our Executive in late 2019, we are now in the process of implementing the Strategy. Some of this will include new evidence-based initiatives; others will be a renewed focus on existing projects to increase the pace and scale of change. We are also looks to develop a suite of metrics to enable our quarterly economic reporting to capture the inclusiveness of our economy.
Although in its early stages, it is clear is that this will require collaboration across the public, private and voluntary sectors to achieve our ambitions. In March, our annual Work and Skills Conference will focus on the Strategy to explore how we can do more, collectively and individually, to drive this change across the city.
We have also participated in two of the New Local Government Network’s workshops on delivering inclusive growth in practice. The workshops have provided an opportunity to explore the similar challenges many areas across the UK are facing in this agenda, and to hear from colleagues at other local authorities about how they are looking to address them. Sharing best practice is essential for delivery a more inclusive economy.
By working together, we can and will achieve a more inclusive and sustainable economy for the city of Manchester and our residents.
Manchester City Council contributed to our report Cultivating Inclusive Growth – In Practice. Read it here.