Manchester to adopt digital action plan

An innovative crowdsourced action plan aims to help Greater Manchester reach its ambition of becoming a world-leading city region by 2020.

Unveiled at Manchester’s second digital summit, the action plan aims to ensure that Greater Manchester is able to capitalise on innovations and developments that will improve people’s lives, including by making public services more efficient, reducing social exclusion, giving start-up businesses the support they need to grow and improving infrastructure.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority will also form a strategic partnership with the UK’s national digital research and development agency, Digital Catapult. The arrangement will see the region provide better, free public Wi-Fi and 5G mobile data provision.

The plans will now be considered for adoption by the Combined Authority who will use the recommendations to drive forward Greater Manchester’s ambition to become the UK’s leading digital city region, outside of the capital.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “Greater Manchester famously likes to do things differently and this is exactly what we are doing when it comes to building our digital future. By crowdsourcing our plan, Greater Manchester is also doing politics differently and driving real change from the bottom up. Our vision should be to make Greater Manchester a digital city region with a difference. For me that means using digital and tech to give young people the skills they need to access the many well-paid digital jobs we have, using tech innovations to improve our health and social care services, increasing diversity in the digital sector and opening up opportunities to all, reducing loneliness and isolation for older people, updating our infrastructure, and supporting digital start-ups to become bigger businesses.

“I’m hugely impressed with the ideas that have been put forward so far. These will now form the basis of a digital strategy with a difference – one that will make people’s lives better, and which has been put together from the ground up using the knowledge and experience of experts in the sector. Our approach is what makes Greater Manchester different; this is what sets us apart.”

Jeremy Silver, CEO Digital Catapult said: "Helping companies to adopt digital technologies more rapidly is a key driver to increasing productivity and competitiveness. Digital Catapult works with large businesses and small start-ups to help accelerate their use of digital.

“We create the facilities and the programmes that can stimulate new markets and transform existing businesses. We are delighted to be collaborating with GMCA in this innovative programme that can bring acceleration to the digital potential of the Northwest. Encouraging innovation is key to helping businesses become global leaders."

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