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There is not one minute of one day since becoming Mayor of Greater Manchester where I have wished I was back in Westminster.
This role is invigorating. It is a position where a real, direct difference can be made to lives across our city region. There is a sense of accountability here which is a good thing, as it means that people have accepted the legitimacy of the role and truly feel it can bring change at a local level in a way that the remote systems of Westminster perhaps no longer can.
Progress has been made in these short six months. Ambitious targets have been set out through the Greater Manchester Strategy and work is progressing well to improve the lives of everyone across the city-region.
I made ending homelessness a priority and through some ground-breaking ideas, the breaking down of old silos and the goodwill of so many people, change has begun to take effect. Shelters have been opened, funding has been raised – including more than £50,000 for my homelessness fund – and support services have been increased.
Work is already underway to make Greater Manchester one of the best places in the world to grow up, get on and grow old. I am committed to ensuring all children start school ready to learn, young people are equipped for their life ahead and people have all the necessary opportunities to develop themselves and live good and happy lives. Our ambitions, such as becoming a global leader in industries such as tech and digital, will see our people equipped with the necessary skills and experience to work in the jobs and industries of the future.
My first six months have come with their challenges, but the strength and unity of our city region has shown that all challenges can be overcome.
Without doubt our darkest hour has been the Manchester Arena attack. This senseless act brought shock, anger and incredible hurt to everyone across our city region. But through this difficult time the people of Greater Manchester showed how incredible our spirit is when we stand together. We will never let those who wish to do us harm divide us.
It is values such as these that make me so proud to be Mayor of Greater Manchester. Our strength, compassion and kindness – aligned with a real appetite to get on and make a difference – stands the future of our city region in good stead.
Devolution is proving to be a success here in Greater Manchester. We are creating new ways of working that are providing a well needed boost to our public services. But we could make real change with increased devolution from the Government.
The old ways of top down governance don’t make the difference at a city level that we are able to make. I firmly believe that citizen-involvement is key to the success of our city-region as it gives people the opportunity to truly shape their own futures. Greater Manchester has always been the home of radical thinking. We are positive, on the front foot and full of potential.
Head of Communications
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