Burnham calls for new drive to re-industrialise Greater Manchester

Businesses, universities and start-ups invited to form new clusters around high-value sectors

Schools to be given chance to host new business start-up units to build business-friendly culture

Mayoral candidate writes to the Prime Minister asking her to make Greater Manchester the first pilot for proposed UCAS-style system for apprenticeships

Andy Burnham, Labour’s candidate for Mayor of Greater Manchester, will today consult businesses in Greater Manchester on a proposed five-point plan to make Greater Manchester "the undisputed industrial capital of the country once again".

Speaking at the last 'Our Manifesto' conference in Oldham, Burnham will say that, by agreeing a clear and shared sense of direction amongst business, education and political leaders, Greater Manchester can put itself in a strong position to rise to the challenge of Brexit.

Burnham will tell the event that he has today written to the Prime Minister to welcome the Government’s acceptance in its new Industrial Strategy of an idea that he has proposed since the beginning of Mayoral campaign - a new UCAS-style system for apprenticeships. He has invited the Government to pilot the idea first in Greater Manchester and provide partnership funding.

The five points in the Burnham plan are:

  1. Identifying the specific sectors which will drive the future prosperity of Greater Manchester and making them our explicit priority
  2. Nurturing the development of GM-wide clusters around those 21st industries, inviting universities, businesses big and small, colleges and other public bodies to join
  3. Develop public-private funding streams to support the development of those clusters, working with local councils and other funding agencies
  4. Ensure that Greater Manchester leads a much-needed revolution in technical education, starting with the establishment of the UCAS-style system of apprenticeships
  5. Build a business culture in all communities of Greater Manchester with a new scheme to fund start-up units in schools to be made available to ex-students 

To underpin these five priorities Burnham will also call for a “radical upgrade” to Greater Manchester’s infrastructure to improve transport connectivity and ensure all parts of the city-region have access to quick and reliable internet access.

Andy Burnham said:

“Greater Manchester has a proud industrial past and continues to be a centre of innovation in the present. I believe it is time to set ourselves the goal of becoming the undisputed industrial capital of the country once again.

“With the challenge of Brexit, we can’t afford to wait for Westminster to deliver for us. We may end up waiting for ever. That is why we need to seize our destiny in our own hands and develop a shared 20-year plan for the re-industrialisation of Greater Manchester.

“Today I am setting out my five proposals which I believe could form the basis of this plan. But this is just the start of the conversation. I want to work with businesses and our universities to get it right and then, if elected as Mayor, implement it as a priority.

“If this is to succeed, we need a major programme of investment in our people. We will need to lead a revolution in technical education, putting apprenticeships on a par with university courses. To deliver that, I am asking the Government to partner with Greater Manchester to create the country's first UCAS-style system for apprenticeships, ensuring all young people have the information and support they need.

“If we are to make a success of Brexit, we need to think big and rediscover that ambition that made Greater Manchester the birthplace of the industrial revolution. Together we can make our city-region an even greater place to live and work.”


See Andy's letter to Theresa May here.

Find out more about Andy's policy proposals here.