Month: March 2016

Leading Northern cities & government in joint Powerhouse pledge


The five northern English core cities have signed a joint commitment with government to work collaboratively to ensure the full potential of a Northern Powerhouse is realised.

The leaders of Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield have pledged to work together with the government to deliver the vision of a North of England which can help rebalance the nation’s economy – becoming more than the sum of its parts through joint working and closer connections.


The joint statement recognises that the vision can only be achieved through sustained long-term investment in people, places and infrastructure.

While devolution and improved transport links between the great northern cities are key parts of the Northern Powerhouse, the signatories of the statement also commit to working together to ensure the skills, housing and enterprise development base to support growth.

This applies particularly to the four sectors identified in an Independent Economic Review commissioned by northern leaders as pan-Northern strengths: advanced manufacturing, energy, health innovation and digital.

Closer links will enable the great northern cities to compete not against each other but together at scale on a national and international stage. We need to redress a legacy of underinvestment in the North and capitalise on our existing strengths. Through sustained focus on this agenda we can unlock more jobs and increased prosperity. That is the prize. It won’t happen overnight but we are all determined to deliver it.

Sir Richard Leese

Leader of Manchester City Council 



By working together to promote better transport links and closer connections we can help drive much needed economic growth, which will create vital jobs for the cities of the North. Core cites and councils are undoubtedly best placed to make the big decisions around economic growth for their local communities, but hand in hand with that is the urgent need to address the continued imbalance in Government funding for key infrastructure such as transport and flood defences. Only once that imbalance is addressed can the rhetoric of the Northern Powerhouse match up to reality and enable the North to meet its true economic potential.

Judith Blake

Leader of Leeds City Council 


Liverpool City Region is the gateway of the Northern Powerhouse. The Northern Powerhouse programme gives Liverpool City Region the opportunity to secure the investment in the East/West rail and road links that we have lacked for so many years. This investment is crucial to achieving the economic growth we are aiming for in order to fully exploit the assets of the City Region nationally and globally – such as the Superport- as well as stimulating more jobs and more business opportunities for our residents and our companies.

Joe Anderson

Mayor of Liverpool 


City leaders across the north are determined to create a stronger economy shaped by the values of those who live and work here. But we know that the Chancellor’s Northern Powerhouse will only succeed if our cities are handed the powers, and funds, to create more and better jobs. The north is leading the way in a new era of life sciences, offshore engineering, automotive technologies and advanced manufacturing, and now more than ever is the time to hand to over the powers needed to back those industries locally. We know that will involve working together on major issues, as well as with cities and leaders from across the north as we seek to ensure this vision becomes a reality.

Nick Forbes Newcastle

City Council Leader


We need to unlock the talent of our young people, and focus on the things that matter to real people, including more and better jobs for the next generation of our workforce. By taking control of our own skills agenda and working with local employers to design training, we can make sure we’re getting young people the skills they need to get into the jobs that will be created in our local economy.

Julie Dore

Leader of Sheffield City Council

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Shared vision for Manchester’s future unveiled


The vision for how Manchester will confirm its place as a ‘top flight’ world city over the next decade has been published.

The Manchester Strategy will guide priorities for the city up to 2025. It follows on from a previous strategy produced in 2005, known as the Community Strategy, which has been the touchstone for leaders across the city.


Manchester Leader’s Forum – a group of public, private and third sector leaders from across the city – have played a key role in developing the strategy and will oversee its implementation.

The strategy has been shaped by extensive feedback from the public and partner organisations from across the city. More than 2,300 people and organisations contributed their views – the largest response the Council has ever had to a consultation process.

Key messages from the consultation included a strong sense of optimism about the city and its future but also calls for a cleaner and greener city. Concerns over litter and the need to reduce carbon emissions. There were also calls for further transport improvements.

The new strategy comes at a pivotal moment for Manchester as it aims to capture the opportunities which are emerging through devolution, increasing the momentum of a growing economy and ensuring no one is left behind.

Changing patterns of international trade, especially the growing importance of China and the East, mean Manchester has to continue to work to establish itself as a truly distinctive city which can compete on a world stage.

This is not a strategy for the council, it’s a strategy for the city as a whole and achieving its ambitious vision relies on every one of us who live or work in the city.

We’ve made tremendous progress on many fronts towards the ambitions for a world-class city set out in the previous strategy, but on others it has been slower than we would have liked. What’s important is that we don’t let up and keep challenging ourselves to work for an even better city where everybody can share in success.

Sir Richard Leese

Leader of Manchester City Council

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Manchester sets out 10-year strategy to build enough homes


An ambitious strategy to ensure Manchester can build a minimum of 25,000 homes over the next decade is set to be approved by the City Council’s executive this week.

Manchester is currently experiencing a huge rate of growth that requires a planned vision to meet the housing demand for both buying and renting.

The city was the fastest growing in the UK between 2001 and 2011 with more than 80,000 people moving to Manchester and that growth has continued over the last five years.


The city’s reputation is internationally competitive with fast growing employment sectors (particularly in digital, creative, life sciences and construction) and renowned education institutions, which are helping to retain working people. But to support this continued growth the city needs a range of affordable housing products across all housing types, while being mindful of high quality standards and sustainability.

Following a consultation, the Residential Growth Strategy sets out six priority themes for housing in the city that will ensure Manchester remains attractive and liveable – along with a detailed implementation plan that identifies priorities over the short to medium term.

The action plan will be reviewed and updated annually to monitor and refresh the actions to ensure homes continue to be built amid a changing housing landscape.

1 Increase house building on existing and new sites

The city’s housing stock needs to keep pace with a growing population and without more new homes house prices will inevitably rise. There is increased risk of a growing affordability gap, a lack of coherence between income and available housing and a housing offer that is more unattractive and crowded.

The Manchester Place partnership will continue to encourage development and future investment by assembling land, creating development and investment opportunities and setting quality standards

Improve the quality and sustainability of the city’s housing

Manchester has established an expert group to bring forward a Manchester Residential Design Guide that will inform the expectations of all new homes to ensure quality, design and sustainability. Excellent housing is imperative at all prices and tenures to create strong communities and areas where people want to lay down roots.

Domestic properties contribute 30% of carbon emissions across the city and more needs to be done – especially in the private sector – on new homes to help Manchester meet our climate change commitments.

Increase opportunities for home ownership

Although in many parts of the city houses are affordable compared to large areas of the UK, limited access to mortgage products, large deposits and poor credit ratings have severely limited access for young people to enter the housing market. Manchester will work with Manchester Place and developers to ensure there is a diverse portfolio of housing that includes homes that are available to first time buyers.

Expand the city’s family housing offer

Historically people have moved out of the city when having children, but in the last two decades Manchester has sought to create popular neighbourhoods with excellent transport and amenities that appeal to residents and encourage them to remain in the city. The housing offer needs to support this need through new family housing across a range of prices in areas of strong demand.

5 Professionalise the private rented sector across the city

Manchester’s fastest growing sector, private rented is likely to rise to 40% in the next decade but fragmented ownership can lead to inconsistent management standards. The recently launched Manchester Market Rental Pledge looks to improve the support mechanisms in place for tenants, and a targeted approach to landlord licensing may also be required. Good operators are also being brought into the market, such as Matrix Homes – a joint venture organisation borne from an innovative housing model in partnership between the council and the GM Pension Fund, which has blazed a trail nationally for the new model of market rent in family housing.

Provide appropriate housing options for retirement living

Options will be made available for people who want to stay in the city as they get older through positive down-sizing options – which also frees up larger family homes – and purpose built accommodation, which can reduce isolation and dependency on healthcare. Sites have already been approved by the council for 400 specialist homes in the next five years.

Put simply we need more high-quality, liveable homes with high sustainability credentials. These homes should be in attractive neighbourhoods with the services and amenities close by, supported by good transport links to educational facilities and employment. I think this strategy is what we need to make that happen. This is a long-term plan with huge ambition, which is absolutely necessary to support the success of the city and the year-on-year growth we have seen. However, critically, the strategy can also adapt to short and medium terms changes to housing need and policy, enabling us to react quickly and amend our strategy towards what is required to support a growing population.

Cllr Bernard Priest

Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council

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