A new report by the Resolution Foundation recommends substantial changes to Manchester’s city landscape, including the creation of a larger city centre, the construction of 126,000 additional homes, and improved transport links.
The report underscores that, despite its progress, Greater Manchester is still in the early stages of its economic revival.
Manchester’s Economic Revival
According to the think tank, Greater Manchester has demonstrated impressive productivity growth, outperforming every major city-region in the UK except Glasgow since 2002.
However, it remains significantly below the national average.
Productivity Gap with London
The “Tale of Two Cities” report warns against complacency and suggests that, even at current rates, it would take nearly a century to narrow the productivity gap with London to a reasonable level.
Resolution Foundation’s Blueprint for Growth
To enhance economic growth and close this gap, the report advocates the development of a more extensive city centre to attract knowledge-intensive businesses in sectors such as IT and insurance, as well as highly skilled workers.
126,000 Homes for a Well-Connected Future
Additionally, the report recommends the construction of 126,000 new homes in well-connected areas.
One of the report’s controversial proposals calls for the creation of more office space in the city centre, with new housing developments surrounding it.
This approach challenges existing long-term plans for the city region, which have focused on housebuilding in areas like Tameside, Rochdale, Stockport, and Bury.
Places for Everyone: Manchester’s Ambitious Housing Plan
The release of this report coincides with the final stages of Greater Manchester’s plan to build 165,000 homes by 2037, known as “Places for Everyone.”
Although the plan involves building on green belt sites, it also reserves some land in the city centre for commercial developments like offices.
Moreover, the report emphasises the need to enhance connectivity across the city region, ensuring that more residents can access higher-paying jobs in the city centre within 45 minutes.
It estimates that an additional £2 billion in funding will be necessary for this endeavour.
The Resolution Foundation argues that its recommendations have the potential to raise living standards for millions of residents, uplift 24,000 children out of poverty, and bolster the overall UK economy.
At the report’s launch event, Henry Overman, one of the authors, emphasised the necessity for “major change.”
In response to the report, Manchester council leader Bev Craig stated, “We have a plan. We have a mission.
“We have a track record to deliver it. But ultimately, we still need more levers, more resources, and more political will from the national government to get us to where we want to be.”
Manchester Council is set to unveil a new economic strategy later this year in line with the recommendations provided in the report.
As Greater Manchester seeks to emulate the growth seen in London, these proposed changes could play a pivotal role in shaping the city’s future.