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Austerity undermining Greater Manchester growth says Dr David Etherington

16/05/2017
Middlesex economics researcher produces innovative new research on the detrimental impact of austerity on the Northern Powerhouse project

ManchesterDr David Etherington, Principal Researcher at Middlesex University’s Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research (CEEDR), has published a new report today entitled Devolution, Austerity and Inclusive Growth in Greater Manchester: Assessing Impacts and Developing Alternatives.

Co-authored alongside Professor Martin Jones from Staffordshire University, the study reveals that massive cuts to local government, welfare and benefits are weakening devolution and growth plans for Greater Manchester.

The report further demonstrates that the estimated £2 billion funding gap in the health and social care budget - a gap that is likely to widen further after the UK leaves the EU – will only accelerate this process.

“Austerity is incompatible with the Northern Powerhouse aims of rebalancing the economy because cuts to local government, skills, health and welfare, are seriously undermining objectives to improve the prosperity of the city and region.

“Under the current model, homelessness and social inequalities are likely to worsen.”

Yet while the report points to the current challenges, it also highlights a way forward.

“It doesn't have to be this way. The new Mayor should negotiate with the new central Government after 8 June for a different type of devolution deal that is not simply about devolving austerity but that is about genuine local control over policies, and finances that properly cover the true costs of addressing the economic and social problems of Greater Manchester.”

Some of the recommendations within the report include:

  • Design growth strategies to address poverty reduction – up-skilling and the quality and type of Apprenticeship schemes will be crucial to this
  • Everyone should have free access to the whole range of options offered by Further Education, Higher Education, vocational training and apprenticeships
  • Increase public debate and dialogue about the impact of austerity in the City Region and its impact on devolution
  • Develop a ‘social dialogue’ between key partners to create inclusive policies
  • Develop a gender perspective for growth given that women are the group most impacted by austerity.

The report will be launched at an event sponsored by the Greater Manchester Association of Trades Union Councils in Manchester on Tuesday 16 May.

Learn more about how Middlesex University’s research is changing the world

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