Digital infrastructureProgress being made on Greater Manchester Local Industrial Strategy

Progress being made on Greater Manchester Local Industrial Strategy

Strategy will provide a long-term plan for alignment of local and national decision making

Progress is being made towards a Greater Manchester Local Industrial Strategy, ahead of its rollout in March 2019, according to a new statement released this week.

The Strategy, one of the UK’s first Local Industrial Strategies, is being developed to harness the region’s distinctive strengths and build on them in areas like health research and advanced materials. The idea is that these efforts will help to unlock growth and boost people’s earning power across the region’s cities and places. It will also help Greater Manchester capitalise on its devolved health and social care budget of £6 billion per annum.

The progress statement showcases the work that has been done so far by local leaders in the Northern Powerhouse who are working with the government and businesses to identify economic opportunities that the region can seize in the years to come.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “To allow Greater Manchester to thrive and drive productivity and prosperity we need to make sure there are good jobs, a skilled workforce and businesses are supported, and this is what the plan is about.

“We want to use the strategy to build on Greater Manchester’s unique legacy of industrial ambition and creativity to create a thriving, digitally-enabled green city. We want to work with businesses on the strategy to create an innovative plan that improves the lives of everyone who lives and works here.”

The Government committed to Local Industrial Strategies as part of its Industrial Strategy White Paper, building on the strong foundations of our city, growth and devolution deals to work in partnership with local leaders to drive productivity. All parts of England are now working to develop them by early 2020.

Greater Manchester’s Deputy Mayor for the Economy, Richard Leese, said: “The Local Industrial Strategy is a unique opportunity to spread the benefits of prosperity across the city-region and we want to use this to deliver inclusive growth and quality employment.

“We have a proven track record in Greater Manchester of collaboration and innovation and using the opportunities of devolution to drive change and the Local Industrial Strategy is another way for us to do this. We want to make sure we put together the right plan for Greater Manchester and will be working with businesses, voluntary sectors and residents on it.”

Once launched, the Greater Manchester Local Industrial Strategy will provide a long-term plan for alignment of local and national decision making to increase productivity and deliver an economy that works for all.

This will include setting out how the health innovation sector and Greater Manchester’s unique devolution deal will drive the UK’s response to the Ageing Society Grand Challenge, and Greater Manchester’s efforts to meet the Clean Growth Grand Challenge following the Mayor’s Green Summit earlier this year.

Using funding

The progress statement follows the government confirmation that £3m will be invested to help strengthen digital skills in Greater Manchester and the surrounding areas. The funding announced in the Budget will see the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) team up with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) for the pilot project.

The Strategy will also consider how to build on the announcement by the Chancellor of £20m new funding for an industry-led Made Smarter (industrial digitalisation) pilot in the North West, which will provide support for up to 3,000 manufacturing SMEs to adopt and exploit digital technology to increase their productivity.

Employers and training providers will identify which digital skills are in short supply in the local area and design a targeted approach that can help people prepare to move into digital roles.

Greater Manchester is the largest digital cluster outside of London in the UK with almost 8,000 digital businesses employing more than 80,0000 people.

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