Despite recent improvements, Mancunians still have some of the UK’s poorest health. And poverty affects more children here in Manchester than in other parts of the country.
There's a gap between what our residents earn and the earnings of those working in our city. More affordable housing is needed. And we must speed up the pace of change for our city to play its part in the global challenge of climate change.
- Health: Mancunians have some of the poorest health in the country. For example, healthy life expectancy is below 58 years and there are high deaths from cancer, heart and respiratory illnesses. These problems were worsened by Covid-19. Children born in our most deprived areas will live shorter lives than those who live in other parts of Manchester (7.3 years less for men and 7.8 years less for women).
- Poverty: In March 2019, around 45,150 children under 16 lived in low-income households in Manchester (41%) compared with an average of 30% across the rest of the country. This affects their physical and mental wellbeing and life chances.
- A fair economy: Too many of our residents have insecure work and lower pay compared to many workers who work in our city. Fewer Manchester residents (78%) earn at least the Real Living Wage compared to workers in our city (87%). And half of residents with no or low qualifications are unemployed. The Universal Credit claimant count doubled between March and August 2020. Making sure residents can get good jobs in their city is crucial for a fairer economy.
- Affordable housing: Manchester has committed to creating 32,000 new homes by 2025; this must include a range of affordable homes across the city to support diverse communities.
- Climate change: The city has committed to becoming zero-carbon by 2038 at the latest and the Council declared a Climate Emergency in July 2019. We must speed up change for the city to reduce carbon emissions and deliver a green recovery from Covid-19 – reducing direct CO2 emissions at least 50% by 2025.
- Brexit: The UK’s departure from the European Union presents a challenge for many of our businesses and our communities.
In 2020 Manchester faced Covid-19. Along with huge health problems, came more job losses and food bank use, more loneliness and mental health concerns. And a huge impact on children and young people’s education, training and job opportunities.
Whilst this strategy sets out the five-year plan and reset of priorities, we must work quickly to address the most urgent issues caused by Covid-19 as we continue to live with it and recover.
The problems of Covid-19 are nothing new for some of our communities, but they’ve been made worse. Underlying health problems and risks at work mean that Covid-19 has affected our black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, those on low incomes, and residents with disabilities more than other groups. As uncertainty and unemployment have risen, it shows us that we must get to the root causes of poor health and poverty (for example, making better education available to everyone).
But Covid-19 has shown Manchester’s strengths and chances for the future. Communities have come together to support each other. National recognition for key workers who kept the city moving could help to improve pay, working conditions and opportunities for key workers to get on. Less commuting means cleaner air. More residents have been using the green space on their doorstep and supporting local businesses.
In Manchester we want to beat the challenges and build on the opportunities. In the five years to 2025, as we support the city to recover from Covid-19 and achieve our long-term plan, we must make sure that investment, growth and new opportunities reach everyone across the city. Especially those most in need.