With ongoing uncertainty in the UK economy, it has been a tough investment environment nationally, however, Greater Manchester has remained resilient supported by the fact that it has been another successful year from an inward investment perspective. MIDAS will shortly announce very positive year-end results further cementing the city-region’s position as a leading business location.
Whilst there are undoubtedly plenty of challenges ahead, we’ve had particular cause for optimism in the past month with the ‘City Deal’ announcement, and with some of the developments in the UK Budget which will make sectors such as digital industries and R&D activity more competitive internationally.
The ‘City Deal’ for Manchester is set to give it freedom from some of the controls imposed by Whitehall, providing the city with new powers to create jobs and train local people with the right skills to fill them. It has been estimated that up to 6,000 jobs will be protected, which is welcome news for the region. The deal will also allow Greater Manchester to ‘earn back’ up to £30 million a year of tax for the growth it creates.
Following the announcement of the ‘City Deal’, George Osborne’s Budget delivered the news that corporation tax will be reduced to 24% from April, to 22% by 2014, and in due course to 20% which is of course, positive news for Greater Manchester’s business community and the region’s ability to compete internationally for inward investment.
Manchester’s ICT, digital and creative industries have also received a welcome boost in two separate announcements. First of all, in the 2012 Budget, it was confirmed that a new tax credit will support Greater Manchester’s growing video games sector. Manchester has also this month been chosen as one of 10 UK cities to develop an ultra-fast broadband network. The city will receive £12 million to install ultra-fast broadband, delivering speeds of up to 100mps to support 224,000 households and 11,000 businesses by 2015.
All in all therefore there are a number of reasons to be very positive about the commercial outlook for Greater Manchester for the next 12 to 24 months and MIDAS is looking forward to continuing to be right at the heart of it.
Tim Newns, chief executive of MIDAS