‘It’s about people NOT shiny developments’: Andy Burnham’s plan to improve Manchester’s quality of life

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester and Chair of Greater Manchester Combined Authority, today outlined his vision to make Manchester a better place to live in for everyone.

Burnham, on stage at the Greater Manchester Strategy Launch Event, spoke about improving the overall quality of life for people in all aspects of life and making it a blueprint for other areas to take inspiration from.

The plan looks at 10 priority areas which affect all Greater Manchester residents and aims to improve the lives of all people who grow up in the city.

The Mayor has joined forces with all 10 councils, the NHS, transport, the police and the fire service after speaking with businesses, the voluntary and social enterprise sectors, and – most importantly of all – the people of Greater Manchester.

“It’s about the quality of people’s lives, it’s about people. It’s not about buildings and shiny developments it’s about the people who go into those buildings – that’s what this is all about,” Burnham said.

“I think there’s recognition that life isn’t as good as it should be for many people in Greater Manchester.

“Work has become too insecure. Too many people are working week to week not knowing how many hours they’re working, whether they’ll have a job.”

In order to improve quality of life, Burnham highlighted the issue of poor quality housing being a significant factor in why some people in Manchester are so deprived.

“Housing isn’t secure as well. Many people live in the private renting sector, they live in fear of being evicted from one week to the next.

“The insecurity means that we do have more and more people living in very, very difficult circumstances or were sleeping rough on our streets and we’ve got to do something about that.

“Too many people are living in properties that aren’t acceptable standard and we’re going to have to do something about that.

“This is all about life, and giving people more security – helping people on their way – removing other barriers from young people.

“We should be doing more to help people find their way in a more challenging world, and that is a big priority for me as Mayor.”

In terms of the Greater Manchester Strategy Launch and its impact outside of Greater Manchester, Burnham hopes that the vision will influence other areas around the UK.

“If we can do what we’re saying in this, I confidently predict that more social change for the better of the country will come by people taking inspiration from Greater Manchester rather than direction from Westminster – that I think is what might be about to happen and I really want to make sure that that is what happens!

“I don’t want to live in a society in Greater Manchester that says – for some people to succeed in life, other people have to sleep in doorways – that is not us – we can do better than that.

“We won’t in time have a situation where anyone has to sleep on the streets – that is our vision – a better quality of life for everybody, nobody left behind.” 

Image courtesy of BBC Newsnight via YouTube, with thanks.

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