Nigel Murphy, Head of Cratus, Manchester
Over recent years, Greater Manchester has established itself as an outstanding and innovative place to both conduct business and live. It has the largest regional economy outside of London with an estimated GVA of approximately £63 billion. Furthermore, the city of Manchester is the most successful city outside of London in attracting direct, foreign investment. Manchester outperforms all other UK cities in a wide range of sectors including: construction technology, cyber technology, medical technology and service design.
As someone who was born and bred in Manchester and spent most of their working life here, including as Deputy Leader of Manchester Council, I have always promoted Manchester and the city region as a great place for people to do business and to invest in. On many occasions, I have been asked ‘why Manchester?’ One reason is the availability of quality, local talent. The city region is home to five universities, enrolling more than 100,000 students. These universities produce more than 35,000 graduates each year with, on average, 45% of them deciding to stay in the region to live and work. This natural flow of graduate talent helps drive the innovation and practice that shapes the future of the city and region.
Another reason many people choose to live and work in the city is the fact that you get much more for your money. In Manchester, you get the best of both worlds: the urban buzz of the city centre with its international cultural attractions and within less than half an hour out of the city, you are in the natural beauty of the Pennines and the Peak District. Because there is something for every type of lifestyle and interest in Manchester, it was voted one of the world’s most liveable cities ahead of London, New York and Rome.
Manchester’s success and popularity is due to the fact it is a Gateway to the World with easy access to international markets. The integrated transport system, including Manchester Airport, makes Manchester one of the best connected and accessible cities locally, nationally and internationally. The proximity to the motorway network and rail networks means that it is incredibly easy to travel to other UK cities. The comprehensive bus and tram network locally ensures reliable connectivity with the rest of the region.
The pandemic has highlighted and consolidated Manchester’s position as being one of the best digitally connected cities. Manchester is a principal access point for the North of England and is capable of supplying the networking and communication needs of global businesses. Not only does Manchester have the transport infrastructure necessary for a global city, it also has the digital infrastructure. Manchester and the City Region continue to secure success in the future and have guaranteed funding for a Full Fibre Network. MediaCity is now one of the best connected media hubs and the second most connected place, after BT Tower. It was the first area in the UK to get commercial 5G coverage. In the changing world of how business is being conducted, Manchester again has the best of both worlds.
As part of the revised Greater Manchester spatial framework ‘Places for Everyone’, Greater Manchester plans to build 160,000 new homes by 2037, of which over 55,000 will be within the City of Manchester. This is alongside 20.5 million square feet of accessible office space and 36 million square feet of industrial and warehouse floor space. There has never been a better time to invest in a region that is renowned for getting things done, so when people ask the question ‘why Manchester?’ maybe the question should be ‘why not?’.
If you would like to find out more about how Cratus can help navigate the challenges of developments in Manchester and the North West then please contact me at [email protected]