Manchester City Council

Down and Up

The Local Enterprise Partnership Board ( LEP ) met this morning. These are the partnerships we have been encouraged to set up by government to replace the Regional Development Agency, though unlike the RDA they have no formal powers and no money.

However, this morning's meeting did demonstrate what can still be achieved if you get the right people pulling together. The meeting started off depressingly with a report on the quarterly economic outlook which is no brighter than any of the many gloomy reports that have been in the press recently. But then we went on to look at what the Manchester city-region can do to try and buck the economic trend. There was a report on what Greater Manchester is doing to ensure a steady supply of major economic development projects, to build the capacity to develop and deliver those projects, and finally to put in place the necessary finance and investment. This was closely followed by a paper on skills and employment which embodies an agreement between local authorities and colleges and other education and training providers to work with employers to make sure as far as we can that we have the right skills in Manchester to support a modern, knowledge-based economy and that our working-age population have the skills to find work and succeed in that economy. Finally we had a proposal that has emerged from work led by Manchester at the regional level looking at support for small and medium sized businesses following the demise of the RDA. Much of this work has now been centralised and is to be delivered through nationally let contracts. The terms of those contracts mean that many companies with real jobs and growth potential in our area would not get the support they need. To make sure that doesn't happen a whole range of partners co-ordinated by Manchester Solutions have developed a Growth Hub concept which will provide locally-based SMEs which have the capacity to grow with the advice and support they need. It will also be a pro-active service actively seeking out such companies to offer support. This is a fantastic package which will be launched next month.

Economic conditions are tough but real evidence here that in Manchester at least we are doing something about it to build a better future.

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The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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