The new Metro Mayor for Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has promised positive business engagement as part of his programme of action as he gets to grips with the challenges of his new role.

Former government minister and Leigh MP Burnham was the keynote speaker at Downtown’s City of Manchester Business Awards gala dinner last Thursday evening. In a wide- ranging speech, the Mayor praised emergency services, public services, and Manchester’s private sector in the way in which they had responded in the aftermath of the terrorist attack at Manchester Arena.

‘The way in which the city region pulled together in its darkest hour was incredible, and a credit to all involved. The emergency services and public sector agencies were hugely impressive; and the business community stepped up to the plate too. Cabs offering free travel home to those left stranded. Hotels providing accommodation; retailers offering food and drink. There are so many examples of how the Greater Manchester family came together, and it is a credit to you all.’

The Mayor confirmed that he sees the digital sector as crucial if the region is to fulfil its huge potential, and he has organised a Digital Summit in July. He also announced plans to establish a business panel that would be represented by companies from all sectors and of all sizes.

‘The panel will provide me with the intelligence I need from businesses at the coal face. We want to hear from new voices; and the panel will be renewed and refreshed on a regular basis.’

Downtown CEO Frank McKenna commented: ‘It was a barnstorming speech from the Mayor. His positive messages about business and his understanding of the issues the private sector face were very well received by business leaders in the room. There is no doubt that in Andy Burnham, Greater Manchester has another positive political voice who will help drive economic growth across the city region.’   

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