The best business advice, opinion, news and expertise in Greater Manchester and further afield.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Let’s get back to business…..


By Chris Fletcher - Policy Director at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce


"The dust is currently settling on the local election results and the Manchester mayoral referendum. In the former, Labour made huge gains locally with some high profile casualties along the way, and in the latter, the Manchester electorate (well the 25% of them that voted) said ‘no’ to having an elected mayor.

The whole elected mayoral issue is an interesting one and something that may well turn into one of those “'no’ today doesn’t mean ‘no’ forever” issues. Many members struggled with the fact that it wasn’t a mayor for Greater Manchester that was on offer from government. The idea of a “metro mayor” across Greater Manchester was something that had a bit of traction with those businesses we spoke to, and it was clear in the final days leading up to the vote that the government themselves started to sound unsure that they were asking the right question. It will be interesting to see what impact the mayor in Salford will have, also how Joe Anderson fills the role in Liverpool and, indeed, how the other cities especially Leeds and Birmingham vote. I’m sure if momentum starts to swing behind mayors, we could see calls for another go at this in the future. After all, it is difficult to get behind a “faceless” concept as it was presented to the electorate. Put some personalities behind it and get some activity going and things could start to look a whole lot different.

No doubt many will see all this as a distraction from the economic challenges that are facing business and the UK at present. I have some sympathies with that view. However, whether or not we had a mayor, or whichever party is in charge of a local authority, it is absolutely crucial that as a Chamber, we fulfil our main role which is tackling the issues that affect our members.
Over the next few weeks, our member-led committees will be discussing a range of issues that are currently affecting business and deciding on action to address them. You can find details of how our committees work, and what they are currently taking action for business on by following this link: http://www.gmchamber.co.uk/ourwork 

If you want to get involved, please do so, as the stronger the voice of business, the more chance that when we talk to the decision-makers, be they local authority leaders, mayors or ministers, we do so with authority and from a position of strength."



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