Chris Green MP: Mayor's vision must work for the whole city-region

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​Andy Burnham has, as always, spoke powerfully following his third election victory as Mayor of Greater Manchester.

​In his victory speech he set out his vision for the next four years and beyond but what does that mean for us across the GM administrative area.

He spoke of the “profound change” that he believes is required and his vision covers everything from housing, to the benefits system to education and on to transport.

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It was a speech that, for a long while, I thought that he would never make.

Bolton West MP Chris GreenBolton West MP Chris Green
Bolton West MP Chris Green

There were always rumours that he would seek a return to Westminster to lead the Labour Party and one day become Prime Minister.

Listening to Andy Burnham being interviewed, he still clearly has that ambition.

I realised that he was committed to another term as mayor when, in a meeting, I heard him speak about the MBACC and how it would align our education and training system across the area with our economic strengths.

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Transport had been the focus though his second term but education would be his focus for transformation through his third term.

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority has a focus on four main areas of economic growth and opportunity to build upon our existing strengths.

They are to play a key role in clean growth, health innovation, advanced materials and manufacturing and in the digital, creative and media arena.

Many do not know that the wider Manchester area has the greatest concentration of life sciences in the UK outside of the ‘Golden Triangle’.

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We are at the forefront of advanced manufacturing. Media City, in Salford, has worked to create a hub around which the wider creative industrial sector has been drawn to a flourished.

By ensuring that the education and skills system works with existing and developing industries he, as the ambassador for Greater Manchester, will be able to draw in global investment working on our strengths.

It is a remarkable vision and will require a fantastic effort to deliver.

That delivery must work for the whole of the administrative area rather than just for the centre.

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We can see the city of Manchester being ‘levelled up’ quite literally with new towers being built but too little of that investment reaches Wigan, Bolton or other areas.

We can see the development of the transport vision and infrastructure especially with the yellow buses but there is still much work to be done to get the different modes of transport connected up and to make it more accessible with more routes, extensive timetables and reliability.

In his speech, Mr Burnham said that he wants to fix the iniquities of the housing and benefits systems.

That will would mean a huge transfer of power I would love to hear if Sir Keir Starmer has any enthusiasm for.

The gaping holes in the speech was that our re-elected Police and Crime Commissioner never mentioned law and order.

Andy Burnham has set out an impressive vision but will the PM devolve the powers.

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