ANDY BURNHAM has underlined his plans to create a more ‘fair, equal and prosperous’ GreaterManchester if he is elected as Mayor.
Burnham spoke at UTC in MediaCityUK last night at a Fabian Society networking event, ahead of the Greater Manchester Mayoral Election which will take place of 4 May 2017.
“We really need to invest in the best resource we’ve got – the people of Greater Manchester. I really want to the change the way Greater Manchester works, and further cement our position on the world stage.” Burnham said.
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After former Chancellor George Osbourne announced last year that Greater Manchester would have its first even democratically elected Mayor – and each of the big political parties have all selected their candidates. Andy Burnham was chosen to be Labour Party candidate after he beat interim GM Mayor Tony Lloyd and MP for Bury North Ivan Lewis. The Conservative Party chose Trafford councillor Sean Anstee as their candidate, the Liberal Democrats went with another Trafford councillor in Jane Brophy, UKIP went with Shneur Odze and the Green Party went with Will Patterson, after their former candidate Deyika Nzeribe passed away.
The Greater Manchester Mayor will be given a budget to deal with matters such as Housing, Education, Transport and will be made Police and Crime Commissioner – dealing with matters seen as vital to the general Greater Manchester population. With a wide range of ages present to the speed networking event, Andy faced questions on issues such as how he would deal with the foreshadowing invoking of Article 50, which will see the UK’s exit from the European Union.
“We need to bring leavers and remainers back together after such a tough time. We need to be united again. It’s important for us to champion the industries of the future. I want to reindustrialise Greater Manchester and bring more business to the region.” Burnham said.
With the Labour Party being at its root a centre-left democratic socialist party, Burnham made it quite clear during the talk of his intention to make it less about him, and more about the people of Greater Manchester, and the region itself.
“This is OUR manifesto – I want to be the Mayor for change and a Mayor for the better of this region. I want this to be the best place to grow up, and the best place to grow old.” Burnham said.
The MP for Leigh also touched on his desire to create a new ‘Northern brand of Labour’ for Greater Manchester – one which sets the region apart from others across the country.
“Greater Manchester has always been a more accepting, tolerant area of the UK, we treat people with respect and give back to our community – we keep our feet on the ground. It’s important that we retain this after the hate seen during the EU referendum campaign, and continue to be accepting of all faiths and cultures that visit our great region.”
Burnham also highlighted that a bill is currently going through Parliament for incoming Mayors – which will allow new regulations to be placed on the regions transport services. This can enable the incoming Mayor to re-regulate buses by improving prices and services and possibly extending the cities metrolink services.
One of Burnham’s policies which he plans to incorporate into his campaign is to rally for free bus passes for 16-18 year olds, to offer them financial support in regards to supporting their education. One member of the audience questioned Burnham on breaking the ‘London-centric’ way of life which seems to be seeping its way into regions across the country – and how it has affected the region of Greater Manchester.
“The city centre of Manchester has progressed massively, but the outer towns haven’t. This is part of where the region has become divided – most of central voted to Remain, but the outer towns which felt forgotten about voted leave, which is something we have to deal with.” Burnham said.
The Greater Manchester Mayoral election takes place on 4 May 2017, for more information on what it means for the region, read more here.