Metro Mayors

Mayoral Election Special: Tackling poverty through social value

Ahead of Manchester’s Mayoral Election, tomorrow, Greater Manchester Poverty Action has asked stakeholders across the city region to set out what they think the newly elected mayor needs to prioritise to drive down poverty. Matthew Jackson is Chair of Greater Manchester Social Value Network (GMSVN) and Deputy Chief Executive of CLES; here’s what he had to say…

Greater Manchester attracts and already has a significant amount of wealth which does not always reach the right places – social value* is a means through which the benefits of this wealth can be reallocated and realised for all.

Metro mayors: three ways to reset local strategy

Next week, on May 5th, newly elected metro mayors in six combined authorities begin their first day in office. This is an historic opportunity to reset policy and address longstanding economic and social issues, as Neil McInroy and Victoria Bettany outline below.

To date, policy opinion and mayoral manifestos have offered a laudable, but often limited, set of tactical policy innovations, including cheaper transport for sections of the population, actions around a living wage, housing affordability and tackling youth unemployment. Given the scale of the challenge, these may not be enough to successfully reset strategic policy. Rather, three key things need to happen.

1. Re-organise the economics of devolution

Financial investment and return has dominated the economics of devolution, hence the focus on property development and land value appreciation in city centres and other hotspots. Indeed, this focus has been over-egged in devolution deals through economic agglomeration and ‘earnback’ on growth. If this trickle-down approach is retained, we can expect the deepening of geographic divides across the combined authorities, with little significant increase in new or decent jobs. Of course, a focus on financial return is a universal component to city success but it should only be a part of the mix, and not take undue precedence over other forms of economic development and social investment.