Jeff and local leaders urge the Prime Minister to address education, employment and skills gaps in Greater Manchester

Jeff Smith, Labour MP for Manchester Withington, has jointly written to the Prime Minister, along with Greater Manchester’s Mayor, MPs, Peers, Council leaders and business and trade union voices.

The group have called on Boris Johnson to commit to investing in the education, skills and jobs Greater Manchester needs to level-up and to bridge the gaps left by the pandemic.

The letter has been sent by the Greater Manchester Westminster Group, formerly the Greater Manchester All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG).

The letter text reads:

“We are writing to highlight our concerns over the impact of the pandemic on Greater Manchester’s future economic growth and the scale of the post-pandemic gap in education, skills and jobs.

Greater Manchester has been hit harder by the pandemic than most. We have seen the prevailing disparities and inequalities in education, skills and employment heightened throughout lock down and jobs and opportunities in some sectors have simply been lost. We have been living under coronavirus restrictions for much longer than other areas in the UK, leaving us with a far wider gap to fill.

We believe that Greater Manchester can bounce back quickly if your Government commits to investing in the skills and jobs we need and devolves further powers to our regional leaders so they can use local knowledge to truly level-up investment and opportunities.

We have the insight required to deliver the most impact locally. By working in partnership with education providers and employers who are doing fantastic work in Greater Manchester already, we can create bespoke reskilling and upskilling programmes. Working with regional leaders is the most effective way to close the skills gap, get people into good work, attract private sector investment and drive inclusive growth in sectors such as digital and the green economy.

We need to educate and train young people today in the skills we need for tomorrow if we are to build back and recover.  At the same time, we need to invest in lifelong learning so that today’s workforce have the ability to upskill, retrain and adjust to the evolving demands of the labour market.

We believe that by improving apprenticeships, for both employers and their apprentices, building on the Kickstart programme and devolving more powers over post-16 education and skills budgets, we can supercharge our recovery and level up skills, education and jobs in Greater Manchester. 

We want your Government to harness and celebrate our ambitions for a green recovery and promise to help us kickstart sustainable and inclusive growth across the Greater Manchester conurbation.

As we move towards recovery, the Greater Manchester economy will need new and green skills to build back better. Our region has a proud history of innovation and leading the way in new technologies and industries.

Getting Greater Manchester back to work and getting the economy moving will require better, faster, and greener connectivity and infrastructure, new high tech and digital skills and the acceleration of ‘green’ jobs to decarbonise our lives. We believe Greater Manchester can lead the “Green Industrial Revolution”.

Given the shortfall created by the pandemic, we are absolutely committed to working together to build back better education and employment for the people of Greater Manchester and to provide greater life chances for tomorrow’s generation.

We hope you will work with us to get this right and remove prevailing inequalities and barriers to growth.  With your support, Greater Manchester can unlock much needed growth and lead the way to a sustainable future.”

The letter has been signed by:

Andrew Gwynne MP, MP for Denton and Reddish, Former Chair of the Greater Manchester All Party Parliamentary Group

Afzal Khan MP, Manchester Gorton

Angela Rayner MP, Ashton-Under-Lyne

Barbara Keeley MP, Worsley and Eccles South

Debbie Abrahams MP, Oldham East and Saddleworth

Graham Stringer MP, Blackley & Broughton

Jeff Smith MP, Manchester Withington

Jim McMahon MP, Oldham West and Royton

Jonathan Reynolds MP, Stalybridge and Hyde

Kate Green MP, Stretford and Urmston

Lisa Nandy MP, Wigan

Lucy Powell MP, Manchester Central

Mike Kane MP, Wythenshawe and Sale East

Navendu Mishra MP, Stockport

Rebecca Long-Bailey MP, Salford & Eccles

Tony Lloyd MP, Rochdale

Yasmin Qureshi MP, Bolton South East

Yvonne Fovargue MP, Makerfield

Lord Andrew Stunell

Cllr Andrew Western, Leader of Trafford Council & GMCA Lead for Digital, Work and Skills

Cllr Arooj Shah, Leader of Oldham Council

Cllr Brenda Warrington, Leader of Tameside Council

Cllr David Greenhalgh, Leader of Bolton Council

Cllr David Molyneux, Leader of Wigan Council

Cllr Elise Wilson, Leader of Stockport Council

Cllr Neil Emmott, Leader of Rochdale Council

Cllr Paul Dennett, City Mayor of Salford

Cllr Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council

Steve Murrells, Chief Executive, Co-op Group

Lynn Collins, North West TUC

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