Our Place. Our Time.

When I look back over the last four years, I am struck by how much has happened. From the terrible attack at the Manchester Arena, to the wildfires of 2018, and on to all the challenges of the pandemic, we’ve been through a lot together. We think of those we’ve lost and will always remember them. As hard as all this has been, what stays with me is the way people responded.

At these times of crisis, I have looked over my shoulder and drawn strength from the genuine togetherness of our people and our communities. Your support has been inspiring and I thank you all for it. And it gives me real hope for what comes next.

Despite the challenges we have faced, we have begun to show how we can use devolved power to make real change happen. Four years ago, we were facing a growing homelessness crisis, with the number of people sleeping rough on our streets rapidly rising. People were doubtful whether the situation could be turned around. But it has been – and we’ve done it from the bottom up, through a network of people and organisations, all pulling in the same direction. It shows the power of this place when it works as one towards a common goal. It is truly awesome.

Now we need to apply the same whole-society approach to our recovery from the pandemic. Our starting point must be the recognition that many of our communities have been hit harder by Covid than other parts of the country. Why? Because too many people here do not have jobs and homes which support good health and well-being. This reflects a failure of all Westminster Governments to support the North over many decades. We need to set ourselves a new mission of a more equal Greater Manchester, where everyone has a good job, a good home and the good health that comes from that. We can do it.

Things are changing. Our voice is getting louder. We have strengths to draw on that other places don’t. People can feel the potential of Greater Manchester – and they are buying into it.

We have seen huge inward investment over the last two decades and we are well on the way to achieving our goal of becoming the UK’s leading digital cityregion and green city-region, leading the next industrial revolution as we led the first. Over the next decade, if we accelerate our response to the climate crisis, we can create thousands of good jobs, improve homes, overhaul our transport system and make this an even better place to live. We know what we need to do. We have plans to deliver it all. We are ready to go.

Let’s make this OUR TIME.

Andy Burnham
Mayor of Greater Manchester