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Home » Campaign For Business: Greater Manchester Leaders Focus On Skills, Transport And Net Zero

Campaign For Business: Greater Manchester Leaders Focus On Skills, Transport And Net Zero

Greater Manchester needs a focus on skills and transport if it is to grow, business leaders have told local and national politicians in a new campaign.

Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce has launched its 2024 Campaign for Business document ahead of both the city region mayoral election and the UK general election that will happen within months.

The chamber has created the document after consulting with members and through its work developing the GM Local Skills Improvement Plan (GM LSIP).

The key themes are skills, trade, connectivity, net zero and wider business conditions. On skills, the Chamber calls for support for technical education and for more business involvement in the local education and training system.

The Chamber is calling for a new and expanded GM Trade Strategy “that will bring together the existing strengths and expertise across the city region”.

On connectivity, the report calls for a focus on improving ways of moving people and freight around the city region. It says: The continued expansion of local transport networks and infrastructure to complete the rollout of the Bee Network, including expansion of Metrolink, integration of rail, and implement ‘tap in tap out’ ticketing across all transport modes as a priority.”

The Chamber says there needs to be “A sustained campaign to make sure local businesses are aware of the 2038 net zero target for Greater Manchester and are informed of support and help available to make the transition. There is a lack of clarity over how this is to be delivered and businesses and residents must have a better understanding of what is required to achieve this ambition.”

More broadly the Chamber is calling for measures nationally and locally to encourage business investment.

Emma Holt, Chamber president, said: “Our Campaign for Business document is a great summary of the key issues facing businesses at present as well as setting out practical ways that these can be addressed. Whilst some of these can only, realistically, be resolved at a national level, many should now be able to be dealt with locally by the Mayor through the key elements of the new Trailblazer Devolution Deal.

“On skills we have used the evidence we have gathered from the GM LSIP and reiterate our support for the commitment to engage with businesses on making sure that their needs are recognised and met in a new skills system that gives as much focus to technical and vocational skills as academic subjects. The Chamber has great expertise on International Trade issues and businesses are needing greater support than ever so this forms our second major theme looking at how we can bring together the skills and support already in GM to focus on boosting trade opportunities.

“We also look at the potential from new initiatives coming over the next year or so around the GM Investment Zone, Atom Valley and ID Manchester and highlight ways that the benefits from innovation can be spread widely across all GM not just those areas and businesses nearest these activities.

“So, whilst this first Campaign for Business 2024 document is very much aimed at May’s mayoral Election we are mindful of the very real possibility of a General Election later in Summer or Autumn and we have worked with members and others to pull together other ‘asks’ that we will use when the PM calls the election.

“This isn’t a static document and will change throughout the year to reflect current issues, progress and new challenges as they arise and we intend working closely with businesses to make sure that we reflect their views accurately to the key decision makers at a local or national level.”

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