AGMA welcomes Manchester city region Budget approval

The Chancellor Alistair Darling's confirmation in the Budget today that Manchester is to be given city region status in a pilot of new local authority powers, along with Leeds, has been welcomed by the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities.

Lord Peter Smith, leader of Wigan council and AGMA, which bid for the city region powers, said: "AGMA welcomes the city-region pilot scheme announced today in the Budget, which recognises the substantial contribution made by the Greater Manchester economy to national and regional prosperity.

"We echo that successful regions, such as Manchester, should be given an opportunity to agree priorities, investment direction and pilot innovative programmes tailor-made for the needs of our people and our businesses that support further economic growth and regeneration.

"Together, the local authorities across Greater Manchester can continue to make a difference and build on the recent Manchester Independent Economic Review (MIER) findings and shape our growth at a time when we need to be more focused than ever during these difficult economic conditions.

"A Greater Manchester Strategic Plan with agreed regional priorities focusing on accelerating growth will now develop with support from ministers and the Chancellor. Over the next few months we have a lot of work to do but we hope to get an action plan agreed so that this opportunity can be realised immediately."

Liverpool has also started putting together its bid for the city region status and is expected to be named in the next round.

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