12th January 2017 – Enacting the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) spatial plan, introducing a congestion charge and tackling the social care crisis should be top of the Greater Manchester metro mayor’s to-do list when they take office in May this year.
This is according to new analysis published today by the think tank Centre for Cities, which sets out three policy priorities to help the new metro mayor hit the ground running from the start of their term.
Alexandra Jones, Chief Executive of Centre for Cities, said: “Greater Manchester’s metro mayor will face many challenges when they take office, including acting on their campaign pledges, preparing the city-region for Brexit, and establishing the new mayoral office. To make a success of the role, it’s vital that the mayor acts quickly to address the biggest issues that the city-region faces.”
The Centre for Cities analysis includes one ‘quick policy win’ to set the tone for the mayor’s time in office, along with two long-term strategic priorities for the city-region:
Alexandra Jones said: “Moving quickly to implement the spatial plan will show that the new mayor is ready to take bold decisions to make Greater Manchester a better place to live and work, and will also offer local authorities and developers certainty on plans for the city-region. That should include, for example, addressing the high demand for housing in areas such as Altrincham, Wythenshawe and Stockport, and tackling the squeeze on office-space in the city centre, where so many businesses want to locate.
Alexandra Jones said: “Manchester city centre is the city-region’s economic hub, but traffic congestion is hampering commuters, public transport and businesses, and is restricting the city-region’s economic growth. Introducing a congestion charge would help address that problem, and could also generate funding to improve public transport in less well-connected parts of Greater Manchester – for example, by subsidising more frequent bus routes in places like Rochdale.”
Alexandra Jones said: “Greater Manchester’s metro mayor will have unique powers over the city-region’s health and social care budget, which will enable them to act strategically to address the need for care across the city-region. They should use these powers to ease the pressure on areas where there is particularly high demand for social care, and to make best use of the funding available by making efficiency savings where possible. They should also consider how they can grow the social care budget – for example, by raising council tax.”
Alexandra Jones continued: “There’s a lot at stake for the new mayor, and showing that they mean business from day one will not only be vital in building trust with local people in Greater Manchester – it will also be crucial in achieving their vision for the city-region and securing the long-term future of the mayoral office.”
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