Leading Manchester mayoral candidate sets out vision for the city

Andy Burnham, the shadow home secretary and front-runner to get the nomination to be Labour’s Greater Manchester mayoral candidate, has unveiled his vision to businesses in the city.

Addressing business leaders keen to hear what Greater Manchester would look like post-Brexit under his stewardship, Burnham renewed his commitment to delivering growth for the region with skills, housing and transport amongst his highest priorities.

At a business briefing, organised by property communications consultancy Quatro, Burnham promised to be a strong voice for Manchester and hoped to encourage greater collaboration across the north. He highlighted the possibility of creating a ‘cabinet of the north’, formed of the new northern metropolitan mayors.

The MP for Leigh also urged government to remain committed to the idea of delivering a Northern Powerhouse and revealed he had already sent a letter to the prime minister, Theresa May, calling for her to reassure the region that it remains as important to the government as it did under the former chancellor, George Osborne.

He said that without a ‘bare minimum’ commitment to construct a high-speed East-West train link, the Northern Powerhouse rhetoric would fail to become a reality. He added that, like the ‘Big Society’, this was another grand government concept that could simply disappear.

Burnham also called on the prime minister to ensure that she “makes good” the losses felt by the region as a result of Brexit, which he estimated at up to £320m.

Burnham said: “It was a pleasure to speak to so many business leaders about my vision for regeneration across Greater Manchester. It is essential that future opportunities, developments and prosperity are shared across all ten boroughs. But, to help deliver that prosperity we need to ensure that the government keeps to its promise to deliver a Northern Powerhouse. The Government needs to put its money where its mouth is and provide the investment that we need.”

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