Given the relatively recent history of the city, Boom City would not be my favourite description of what we have achieved over the last decade, but it is undoubtedly the case that for the last ten years we have been the fastest growing city in the country. We are a growing city, and we are a young city, both reflecting Manchester's successful economic transformation, job creation, and resilience through the recession. Of course a growing population does create the odd difficulty, for example the shortage of school places and shortage of housing that we now have.
But I'd much rather be trying to find new school places than closing schools down which is what we had to do in the sixties,seventies,eighties and nineties, and I certainly don't want to go back to neighbourhoods being dragged down by low-demand/no-demand housing. We will be getting more census data later in the year and it is the Council's intention to publish a State of the City report making a thorough comparison between Manchester now and Manchester a decade ago.
In the meantime we are close to finalising our sixth annual State of the City report which charts progress against the Manchester Community Strategy. The report should be available on-line shortly, but the Manchester Partnership Board met today and had a presentation on the headlines from this year's report. I won't try to summarise here though as always it contains a mixture of good and not so good news. The Board use the annual report to set partnership priorities for the coming year. We decided this morning to keep the same three core priorities that we have had for the last twelve months, promoting private sector growth that generates jobs, tackling worklessness, and promoting aspiration and well-being.
Talking about aspiration, this afternoon I visit two of our very newly built schools, Varna Street in Openshaw and the Grange in Gorton. Both are fantastic buildings, and it's clear that both staff and students have been energised by moving from inadequate premises to a first class educational environment. Looking again at the past decade, Manchester has done well in the number of schools it has rebuilt or refurbished, but there are many more that still need to be done. We do need to get it over to government that investment in this sort of educational quality is a sound investment in the future as well as something that creates a lot of desperately needed construction and construction related jobs in the present.