BT's Mike Blackburn

BT director to chair economic commission

Rachael Tinniswood

North West regional director for BT Mike Blackburn has been appointed chair of Greater Manchester's Commission for Economic Development, Employment & Skills.

One of six commissions currently being formed to report to the new Greater Manchester Executive, which was confirmed last week, the Greater Manchester commission is part of the Government's wider multi-area agreement plans to encourage all 10 city region districts to work together.

Although private sector-led, the commission will also feature other members including representatives from the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities.

Blackburrn said: "I do not underestimate this daunting task which whilst building on a strong foundation of economic growth, has much to do to create a world class city. My main role will be to bring together the strengths of the private and public sector, national and local agencies and the ten Metropolitan Councils, in a common purpose to grow the Manchester economy for the benefit of businesses and local people."

Greater Manchester is one of seven groups of councils in England that will benefit from new multi-area agreements.

The area will get more freedoms from Whitehall, such as flexible resources on housing, pilot transport schemes, employment and skills schemes and choice to refocus national targets to increase support to businesses, in return for pledging a local, partnership approach to boost economic growth and tackle deprivation and financial inequalities.

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