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Greater Manchester Strategy 2021-2031 Summary

“We want Greater Manchester to be a place where everyone can live a good life, growing up, getting on and growing old in a greener, fairer more prosperous city region.”

This Greater Manchester strategy sets out a route, over the next decade, to deliver this vision for the benefit of our people, our places and our planet.

Working collectively across our city region, with our communities, we will focus on improved wellbeing for the 2.8m people here, with better homes, jobs and transport.

We will continue the work to make Greater Manchester a great place to visit, invest and study, with thriving businesses which are UK and world leading, in sectors including low carbon and digital.

We will look through the triple lens of a greener, fairer and more prosperous Greater Manchester, making sure activity supports all three themes.

We’ll do it in a way which is inclusive, innovative and forward thinking, building on the pioneering and progressive culture which underpins our city region.

And we’ll make sure we can be held to account, with a delivery plan showing the collective actions we are taking, and a performance framework to demonstrate progress.

A greener Greater Manchester

Climate change is the single biggest threat that we face, with human activities the main cause. 2021 needs to be our turning point because, if we don’t act now, the consequences will be felt even further by future generations.

Greater Manchester has set a science based target of being a carbon-neutral city-region by 2038. Carbon neutral essentially mean we are doing as much as we can to limit the production and release of carbon emissions, and any that we cannot reduce, or which are not naturally removed by our environment, we are then offsetting to ensure the balance is equal to zero.

If we move quickly, and in the right way, delivering our carbon neutral target is an opportunity to make people’s lives better and society fairer. We know that those most affected by climate change are often those least responsible for causing it and by creating a system that recognises this, we’ll build a more equal city region. The move itself will also create better jobs in the green economy, better homes with reduced energy bills, and cleaner transport.

This is why we launched the UK’s first regional Clean Growth Mission for Greater Manchester, mobilising everyone around our carbon neutral aim and breaking down the barriers between traditional sectors and groups.

Our collective ambitions around decarbonising our city-region
are unprecedented, and we are already taking action to translate that ambition into reality.

We’re moving towards carbon neutrality in a way that harnesses the potential for delivering a fairer, greener, more prosperous city region.

A fairer Greater Manchester

In Greater Manchester, the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated longstanding inequalities, as well as highlighting new ones. From access to good jobs, to transport, health and housing, the impact has been unequal and unfair, affecting different people, places and communities across Greater Manchester in very different ways.

And it has been clear that a deep understanding of the issues, and the solutions to those, can only come from working in and with those communities, being informed and guided by their voices and experiences.

This strategy will ensure our policies and services support all our diverse communities appropriately, but it will also actively target resource at the people and places facing the greatest obstacles in life.

Levelling Up

Despite having some of the most desirable places to live, work and visit in the UK, Greater Manchester still falls behind national averages on many measures, such as employment rates, healthy life expectancy, and air quality. There are also inequalities between different parts of Greater Manchester.

When inequalities are reduced, everyone benefits. Which is why we want to level the playing field across our city region, as well as between Greater Manchester and nationally. 

With greater investment and new opportunities delivering tangible changes, we aim to level up Greater Manchester, benefitting our people and places and also the region, nationally and internationally.

A more prosperous Greater Manchester

This strategy will enable us to deliver our new vision for economic growth, which is to be more equitable and socially responsible, bringing opportunities and prosperity to all.

Leading the way

Greater Manchester is ready to lead the local and UK economic recovery from the pandemic with a vision for the future built around our greatest strengths, and with equality for all at its core:

  • Health innovation – we have the largest life sciences cluster outside southeast England, with high potential opportunities in diagnostics and healthy ageing.
  • Advanced materials and manufacturing - we are the home of Graphene and have a complementary advanced manufacturing base.
  • Digital, creative and media – we have significant clusters in cyber security, broadcasting, culture, content creation, and media.
  • Clean growth – we’ve established the UK’s first Clean Growth Mission.

Focusing on these sectors, supporting our businesses to grow and working with them to attract new investment and promote innovation, gives us the potential to address some of society’s biggest challenges, including achieving carbon neutrality and addressing the challenges of our growing ageing population.

A culture of innovation, coupled with increased research and development across a wider business base, will boost investment and productivity, creating the jobs of the future both locally and for the UK.

We know how to use our strengths to power both our city-region’s economy and that of the wider North, remaining central to the UK’s global competitiveness.

Reinforcing our economic foundations

In Greater Manchester we are significantly more dependent on employment in the foundational economy, which supplies every day essential goods and services, than the rest of the UK.

In order to achieve our goal of a prosperous city region, we want to ensure there are good economic opportunities for everyone, which means developing our foundational economy to provide progressive and improved working practices, good pay and development for people working in Greater Manchester.

The outcomes

At the heart of our strategy, we have three shared outcomes. These will be seen and felt by everyone in our city region as we deliver against our strategy.

  • People’s wellbeing – with better homes, jobs, transport, and health, living in vibrant communities.
  • Thriving organisations – which succeed and look after their people, places and planet. 
  • Leading the UK and the world – in sectors including low carbon and digital.

Our shared commitments

We have plans in place covering the wide range of activities to help us deliver a greener, fairer, more prosperous Greater Manchester.

These are led by organisations across our city region, who have come together to agree commitments where collective action is needed to achieve the Greater Manchester we all want:

  • Create a carbon neutral city region by 2038, with better air quality and natural environment.
  • Deliver a low carbon London-style fully integrated public transport system across bus, tram, train, and bike.
  • Enable the delivery of world-class smart digital infrastructure.
  • Realise the opportunities from our world-class growth and innovation assets, enabled by specific plans including the Places for Everyone plan, Local Growth Plans, and Industrial Strategy to open up opportunities in all parts of the city-region.
  • Support our businesses to grow sustainably, to become as prosperous as they can be.
  • Support the creation of better jobs and good employment that has a purpose beyond growing shareholder value, utilising the opportunity to make a positive difference to our communities.
  • Ensure businesses are able to access the skills and talent they need, by providing high quality learning, and wrapping support around individuals, enabling them to realise their potential – with access to good employment for those who can work, support for those who could work and care for those who can’t.
  • Give our children and young people good education and training so they are ready for career success, with a balance of academic, technical, and ‘life ready’ skills.
  • Guarantee digital inclusion for everyone, including getting under 25s, over 75s, and disabled people online.
  • Provide safe, decent, and affordable housing, with no one sleeping rough in Greater Manchester.
  • Tackle food and fuel poverty experienced by Greater Manchester residents.
  • Reduce health inequalities and improve both physical and mental health.
  • Drive investment into our growth locations, and use that to create opportunities in adjacent town and local centres.
  • Enable resilient, safe, and vibrant communities where everyone has access to essential services, with local centres and high streets which are successful and reflective of their populations, and access to high quality leisure spaces.
  • Ensure our local communities, neighbourhoods, villages, towns,
    cities, and districts are protected and strengthened through the Places for Everyone plan and Stockport Local Plan, with new homes delivered in line with our carbon neutral commitments and Housing Strategy.

The way we’ll work together

To build a greener, fairer, more prosperous Greater Manchester we must work in ways that supports our vision. We will be:

Inclusive and fair

We will show and encourage leadership, promoting and supporting equality of opportunity amongst all our communities and fighting discrimination. We will involve people in the decisions we make and actions we take, by communicating clearly and effectively, and we will leverage our shared buying power to support our environmental and equality ambitions – making choices that deliver better outcomes for our people and planet.


We will try new ways of working to make the most of our talent, so that more people can be part of the solution. We will make decisions based on data and use new and evolving information to help us make better choices, looking at localised information so we can tailor our activity to our communities, as well as to the city region as a whole.

Forward thinking

We will look ahead to ensure the decisions we make today have a positive impact tomorrow. Our workforce planning will focus on how we can work together better across Greater Manchester, putting in the right checks and balances so we can be confident we’re doing the right thing and it’s having the right impact.

Greater Manchester has made real progress in recent years. We have led the way on English devolution, and we have a distinct and proud track record over many years.

We want to build on this record of delivery through our Greater Manchester Strategy for the next decade; levelling up to the best of the UK, and delivering against our bold, ambitious plans so we can truly deliver good lives for all.

The Greater Manchester Strategy (GMS) progress report - July 2022

The Greater Manchester Strategy (GMS) progress report provides an overview of some of the activities currently underway which support the delivery of the GMS shared commitments and draws out whole system issues and areas for further progression in an issues paper. A self-assessment process, including input from across GM delivery groups and engagement with a stakeholder panel, has been undertaken to understand where Greater Manchester is currently and where we need to see change if we are to collectively deliver the GMS ambitions. At six months into the new Strategy, the self-assessment has identified areas for development for Greater Manchester and supporting proposals to Government, which can unlock GM’s potential and support the achievement of the GMS.