Burnham: GM Investment zone will unlock potential

Andy Burnham

A new Investment Zone for Greater Manchester, announced by the Chancellor in today’s Autumn Statement, is expected to create 32,000 jobs and leverage £1.1 billion of private sector investment.

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority said the Investment Zone will provide £160 million in public funding over 10 years to support initiatives and interventions agreed between Greater Manchester and Government, which will include new research and innovation, sector-focussed skills programmes, local infrastructure enhancements, and targeted business support.

It will be pivoted around two projects – ID Manchester in the city-region core, and Atom Valley which is seeking to develop advanced manufacturing jobs based on anchor investments from Kadant, Werit, First Graphene and Hydrograph worth over £10m which have been made alongside the Investment Zone.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) will co-develop further plans for the Investment Zone, including priority development sites and specific interventions to drive cluster growth, ahead of final confirmation of plans.

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “The Investment Zone will help us attract investment and create jobs and opportunities that will benefit people across Greater Manchester. Our city-region has been a centre for manufacturing and materials innovation for centuries, from leading the Industrial Revolution right through to the development of graphene, and the Investment Zone will ensure that continues.

“It’s also a vote of confidence in devolution and its ability to deliver levelling up. Providing more flexibility and local control over spending can help unlock Greater Manchester’s potential.”

Greater Manchester’s advanced manufacturing and materials sector comprises hundreds of innovative companies and the city-region’s universities host world-leading research. Advanced manufacturing alone employs approximately 110,000 people and generates around £8bn of economic output each year.

Cllr Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council and Greater Manchester Lead for Economy, Business, and Inclusive Growth, said: “Greater Manchester has an attractive proposition, with world-leading advanced manufacturing and materials research at our universities, a strong skills base, and an existing ecosystem of innovative companies.”