15 May 2015
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know I’m incredibly proud of Manchester, the city that took me under its wing when I arrived here as a teenager. I’ve waded into the north versus south debate before, as we deliberately chose to set up UKFast here instead of in London. Whilst you could argue that the buzz of the capital is a benefit, the overcrowding and high property prices make expansion more of a challenge for a rapidly-growing SME.
For me, George Osborne’s speech on the Cities Devolution Bill yesterday was very positive, reinforcing the argument that London is not the only place in the country for opportunity and success.
As he said himself, Manchester is a powerful brand, known all over the world. Yet, he was also not focussing solely on the city at the expense of all others, explaining that it can now be held as an example for other regions to follow suit if they want to.
What impressed me about the speech was the public acknowledgement of the collaborative between political parties. Osborne went as far as actually praising the Labour party in Manchester for their “great maturity” in working across party lines. It goes to show that sometimes, differences must be put aside when there is something more important at stake for the good of the whole country.
This isn’t to say the problem is completely solved, as I still think there should be more of a business presence in government to ensure money is spent as wisely and effectively as possible. However, the plans for a Mayor for Greater Manchester, along with the increase in resources and responsibilities, feel like a step in the right direction. It’s certainly an exciting time for the North West.
And ultimately, as the Chancellor rightly pointed out, there should be no child in any area of the country growing up thinking that all the opportunities are in other places for other people. Personally, I couldn’t agree more. What do you think? Is the introduction of a Mayor the right thing for Manchester? Does the devolution deal appeal to you?