Amy Rolinson is currently doing work experience in our Manchester office. Below is her blog on Andy Burnham’s selection as Labour candidate for Greater Manchester Metro Mayor.
Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham has won the opportunity to represent Labour in the candidacy for Greater Manchester's first mayoral election which will be held in May 2017.
With strong Labour support in the Manchester region he is almost certain to win the election becoming Manchester’s first mayor. He has ensured that if he is to win the position he will boost the “Northern Powerhouse” claiming that “Westminster has failed the north.”
The role of Manchester Mayor will have powers over housing, transport, skills and healthcare. Labour candidate Andy Burnham has been quoted saying "I will bring forward real answers to our housing crisis.” His aspiration to use a £300m housing fund to purchase poorly maintained buy-to-let properties from landlords and rent them at affordable rates, instead of funding developers may be a short term solution. But how will he plan for the long term?
This is particularly important as a result of his promise of ensuring the government follows through on the development of a “Northern Powerhouse” having told The Liverpool Echo: “going back on the Northern Powerhouse would be a bigger betrayal since Thatcher.” This could attract a greater number of people to Manchester City and Greater Manchester Region putting pressure on homes.
Andy Burnham’s stance on the development of a “Northern Powerhouse” may also reflect his desire to improve public transport including the development of HS2 and HS3 for the benefit of Manchester City and the Greater Manchester region. Should and will Andy Burnham be pushing to speed up the process of nearly halving the time taken to travel between Manchester and London?
With the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework bringing together available land for housing development Andy Burnham will have some tough decisions to make on Green Belt release and planning policy. The Greater Manchester devolution deal represents a fantastic opportunity to revolutionise regional planning policy but it remains to be see whether the Metro Mayor will be able to deliver on the early promise of the Northern Powerhouse.