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GMLEP Warning: An Elected Mayor Would be Bad for Manchester Property Sector

Plans for an elected city mayor received a blow recently when the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership (GMLEP) warned that it would not be good for Manchester property sector and not in the interests of the people of Manchester either.

A referendum on whether to begin directly electing mayors in some of Britain’s cities will take place in May, and the government has been consulting with interested parties on the issue. The consultation ended yesterday and the GMLEP’s submission concluded that “the government’s proposals as they currently stand conflict with the arrangements which have been driven and developed locally within Greater Manchester.”

Last month, the group commissioned a report by Manchester City Council chief executive Sir Howard Bernstein on the issue, in which he concluded that any large-scale changes to the way Greater Manchester was governed would have a negative effect on “balance between city regional accountability and neighbourhood delivery.”

The official GMLEP statement warned that electing a mayor would “bring no advantages” and “does not align with the governance structures already in place across Greater Manchester,” and argued that such a move would be bad for the region’s economic growth, especially Manchester property.

GMLEP chairman Mike Blackburn added: “We’re currently in dialogue with the minister for cities on a ‘city deal’ which is focused on an agreement for Greater Manchester as a whole.”

“The government’s current proposals for a directly elected mayor for the City of Manchester alone do not align with this dialogue, which the GMLEP believes should be the focus of any discussion about further devolution of powers to Greater Manchester in support of economic growth.”

Mr Blackburn added that the group was also “concerned that the government’s proposals as they currently stand conflict with the arrangements which have been driven and developed locally within Greater Manchester in response to Greater Manchester’s particular opportunities and challenges.”