The first metro mayor of Greater Manchester will need a vision for the city-region and clear strategic, deliverable policies to meet it. The challenge and workload will be considerable, with powers and expectations ranging from delivering policy, to establishing the institutions and capacity for effective city-region governance. This briefing outlines priorities for Greater Manchester and offers steps to help the new metro mayor effect change in their first term.
Not all of these policy priorities can be enacted immediately: some will be quick and visible, while others will reflect a longer term vision for the city region.
- A ‘quick win’ will help the mayor to set the tone for delivery right from the start. Delivering results quickly will build trust, and show what the metro mayor is able to do for the city-region. The best ‘quick wins’ in these circumstances are high profile and of value to citizens.
- Strategic decisions form the framework for delivering the metro mayor’s vision. As such, the mayor will have the power to take the decisions that will make the most of the new geography of governance. While the mayor will be keen to show progress towards their vision, strategic decisions will often take longer to show outcomes, therefore careful evaluation is needed to allow for flexibility and to demonstrate the effects.
- A long term vision for the city will be the key election platform – it is what the mayor is working towards while in office. This should be ambitious, but reflect the real needs and potential of the city. Some aspects of the vision will be achievable within the mayor’s term in office, while others will build momentum or signal a change in direction. It is important to be clear and strike the balance of where each policy lies on this spectrum.
Policy priority 1: A quick win
Put the GMCA spatial plan into action and create certainty over development
- The metro mayor must commit to the spatial plan, allowing them to be bold and strategic about the future growth of the city-region
- The metro mayor can ensure the right types of housing and offices get built in the areas of the city-region that need them most. This includes building high grade offices in the city centre, while prioritising other parts of the city region for housing
- By commiting to the plan, the metro mayor can also build consensus and trust with local authority leaders.
Policy priority 2: A strategic aim
Build the city-region case for congestion charging in Manchester city centre
- The metro mayor must present the case that congestion charging will help manage city centre traffic as part of a bold infrastructure plan, that signals an environmentally friendly agenda
- The metro mayor should show that congestion charging can benefit the whole city region, through investment in public transport for poorly connected areas
- To implement this effectively, the metro mayor should evaluate the outcomes and manage extensions and improvements accordingly.
Policy priority 3: A longer term vision
Develop a sustainable social care budget
- The metro mayor should use their power over the social care budget to match need with spending, avoiding waste
- The metro mayor should use council tax to increase the social care budget
- To ensure resources are allocated most efficiently, the metro mayor must evaluate the outcomes