Manchester fights to prop up policy group

Manchester's economic think-tank the Commission for the New Economy is pursuing new sources of funding to replace lost cash as it tries to maintain "business continuity".

The minutes for the board meeting held on 3 February describe a loss of £600,000 from the North West Development Agency's Regional Economic Strategy funding to support the work of the Commission and says this "presents a considerable risk to business continuity".

However, there are bids in for new funding with the following organisations:

  • Association of Greater Manchester Authorities, for £2.25m
  • European Investment Bank, European Local Energy Assistance for low carbon work, £3m
  • NWDA, £5.3m from the European Regional Development Fund.

AGMA has requested, the minutes say, a new business plan for the so-called Manchester Family of organisations – including Midas, Marketing Manchester, Business Leadership Council – to begin from 1 April 2011.

The conclusion to the minutes state: "This business plan will consider the activities of all the constituent organisations in light of national and local changes and is being prepared ready for AGMA Executive agreement at the end of February. New Economy's business plan is integral to this exercise. Once the Manchester Family business plan is agreed, New Economy will be in a position to finalise its work programme for the new financial year."

Among the Commission's work is the economic analayis that helps decide priority employment sites for the ten local authorities of Greater Manchester. There are currently reviews underway of town centres, large employment sites and the inward investment market.

An initial draft of the resultant Greater Manchester Spatial Framework is expected by the end of March.

The Commission also advises on the growth of the knowledge economy based around universities, hospitals and technology industries, as well as the low carbon and tourism economies.

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