GMCA to provide ‘urgent’ support for struggling sectors under one-year plan

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has announced it will provide targeted support for sectors facing lasting impacts from Covid-19.

The Living with Covid Resilience Plan, announced today, will include ‘urgent’ support for sectors including retail and leisure, it said.

The GM Good Employment Charter, which launched in July 2019, is also set to “significantly expand” to drive more secure work, higher pay and better employment standards.

The one-year plan recognises that “the pandemic is still ongoing”, but the “building back better phase” of Covid response “needs to start now”, GMCA said.

The plan is “an action-led short term plan rather than a long term strategy”, GMCA said, designed as the ‘start’ of the city-region’s Covid recovery.

Under the plan, investment opportunities are set to be “swiftly progressed” as part of economic stimulus, with a push for wider government funding for councils and locally controlled devolved resources.

The SafeGM campaign to provide reassurance about getting back to work is also set to continue.

The delivery of a cycle and walking plan, the progress of the GM Clean Air Plan and a targeted plan to tackle digital exclusion are also included in the plan’s key action points.

The plan will be delivered by the private sector, alongside local government, health, transport, police, the voluntary community and the social enterprise sector.

Coun Elise Wilson, Greater Manchester economy portfolio lead, said: “Greater Manchester is facing one of the most difficult periods in our lifetime with Covid-19 creating significant and large scale challenges to our economy.

“The hospitality, leisure and tourism industries are facing particularly severe impacts and we know some businesses in other sectors are in a bad shape.

She added: “We’ve already been working hard to help our businesses safely re-open and the Living with Covid Resilience Plan identifies further action that we need to take to support Greater Manchester move forward over the coming year whilst living with Covid.”

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “In the space of a few months, the Covid pandemic has forced us to completely rethink the ways we live, work, and get around.

(Image: PA)

“There’s no doubt that it has had a major impact on our city-region, disrupting lives and exposing the stark inequalities that exist all across the country.

“Our focus remains on addressing those issues and building back in a way that’s better and fairer than before.

“It’s clear that we’re now moving into a new phase of living with this virus.

“That means being smarter about the way we target measures to protect our communities, and all of us being more disciplined in our approach to keeping ourselves and others safe. “Today, our Living with Covid Plan sets out the clear actions that we need to take so that Greater Manchester can meet these challenges head on.

“This is a moment to learn the lessons of the pandemic and work towards positive change.”