Manchester City Council

Investing In Success – Manchester’s new economic strategy unveiled

The refreshed economic strategy, Investing In Success, seeks to build on the foundations of the last 25 years or so which have seen Manchester transformed from post-industrial decline to being a dynamic city with a growing population, a larger and more highly skilled workforce and a more diverse economy – attracting talent, investment and visitors from all over the world.  

The population of Manchester has gone up from 503,000 (2011 Census) to 607,000 (Manchester City Council estimate.) 

Manchester, and especially the city centre, plays a leading role in Greater Manchester’s economy which with an £86 billion a year GDP is of a similar size to those of major world regional cities such as Vancouver, Lyon and Rotterdam and slightly larger than Birmingham’s.  

Between 2011 and 2021 Manchester’s GDP per capita, a measure of output, has increased by 44 per cent from £35,739 to £51,330 – the largest increase of any of the UK’s major cities and any Greater Manchester district. The number of businesses has gone up from around 17,000 to around 23,500 between 2011 and 2021 and the number of employees from 350,000 to 426,000 between 2011 and 2022.  

There have been other markers of progress too. For example more than 90% of Manchester’s schools are now rated good or outstanding – above the national average – and more of our residents (45%) are now educated to at least degree level.  

With these strong economic foundations established, it’s time to consider what we want future growth in Manchester to look like and how the economy can continue to grow in a way which is more inclusive and in line with the city’s commitment to become zero carbon by 2038.  

The strategy has five priority themes: 

  • Use investment and development to drive inclusive growth 

Recognising that the city centre is the main driver of growth in Manchester and the wider city region and that growing the size of the city centre is fundamental to increasing Manchester’s overall prosperity. But at the same time ensuring high quality liveable neighbourhoods across the city, with large-scale regeneration projects – for example around North Manchester Hospital/Victoria North and Wythenshawe Hospital – including economic assets that enable places to thrive. 

Nurture thriving, productive and innovative sectors  
Attracting investment in the highest growth and most productive sectors such as financial and professional services, tech and life sciences and growing and promoting current and future knowledge-intensive industries such as AI, cyber, FinTech and genomics while also developing the green economy.  


  • Develop world class infrastructure, places and talent 

Planning and delivering the physical and digital infrastructure to support businesses and ensure the city is a great place to locate, and for workers to live in. This includes working with Transport for Greater Manchester to implement the Bee Network to connect more people to employment and training opportunities via public transport, cycling or other forms of active travel.  

The city’s Housing Strategy – which is targeting 36,000 new homes by 2032 – at least 10,000 of them affordable – is also fundamental to this and includes increasing housing density in the places with the best transport connections.  

Ensuring the city is a great place to live will also help retain and attract highly-skilled talent.  


  • Transition to a zero carbon and resilient economy

Supporting the city’s goal of becoming zero carbon by 2038 to combat, and adapt to, the impacts of climate change. ‘Green growth’ will create opportunities in areas such as housing retrofit, energy, transport and research but it’s just as important that other sectors are as sustainable as possible. 

Measures such as developing a Manchester standard for net zero construction through the city’s new Local Plan will also contribute. 


  • Include more people in economic opportunity  

Connecting new businesses and investors with partners who can help them ensure training and employment opportunities for local people. Initiatives including bespoke community economic development plans for areas where large scale regeneration projects are taking place to maximise local benefits. Continuing to maximise the social value of employment, for example through encouraging all employers to pay the Real Living Wage and to recruit locally wherever possible.  


Council Leader Cllr Bev Craig said: “Manchester has seen remarkable change in recent decades. But we are clear that there’s more work to do to ensure that everyone in our city gets the benefits of Manchester’s economic growth. Our vision is clear – a thriving Manchester where every resident can share in the prosperity of a growing economy. 

“That’s what this strategy is focused on, building on our existing strengths and some of the fastest growing sectors and making sure Mancunians are connected to ever-increasing opportunities. We don’t just want to support and attract businesses, we want them to play a positive role in the wider life of the city by acting as advocates for the things we need to become a fairer and more prosperous place – from inspiring and recruiting diverse local talent to paying decent wages to supporting the city’s zero carbon goals.” 

The strategy, which was adopted by the Council’s Executive on Wednesday 15 November, will be officially launched at Roku’s Manchester office in Circle Square on Tuesday 28 November.  

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