Manchester City Council

The B Word

Not posted on Brexit for a while and will keep this short as the situation will have probably changed by the time I get to the end of the sentence. I am a remainder and would love to have a second referendum with a choice ranging all the way from no deal to staying in. However, I'm also a democrat and recognise that the referendum was lost. Let's be clear though - the vote was to leave the EU, not on the terms of leaving. I'm sure very few people envisaged a chaotic no deal with food and medicine shortages, a hard border in Ireland, shortages of qualified staff in the NHS, job losses in an economic slowdown etc.

A couple of reports published today. Firstly the Economist published its annual liveability survey with Manchester again ranked top of the UK cities. Harking back to Brexit this is more than an accolade that’s nice to have. Manchester still needs a lot more jobs and although skills, infrastructure and innovation are still really important, quality of life is now an equally important driver of economic growth.

Second is a report on take up of office space in Manchester at the half year point which suggests the city is on course for the year to beat the best figure over the last five years with a take up of over 1.2m sq.ft. This also highlights a potential shortfall in grade A office accommodation coming up as 1.2m sq.ft is also the amount of offices currently under construction. No jobs if there's nowhere to put them! 

Returning to the reference to infrastructure above, Brexit or no Brexit, the North of England will only narrow the productivity gap with the national average if we have first class connectivity. That's why Greater Manchester has come together with Liverpool city-region, Cheshire East and Warrington, and West Yorkshire to launch the Connecting Britain campaign. The campaign argues that we need a properly integrated rail network, not just the odd line here and there. That means all of HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail, and all the already promised improvements necessary to deliver the current rail franchises. If we put up with second best (or worse) we'll be second best!

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

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