Andy Burnham is standing as Labour’s candidate for the first elected Mayor of Greater Manchester.
Speaking at the launch for his mayoral campaign, Burnham stated that “politics is broken” post-Brexit, which should be a wake-up call to politicians telling them that the north and south divide in our country is bigger than ever and that “we must challenge Westminster who have failed to support the people of the north.”
Burnham’s campaign mainly focuses on reducing the amount of attention that London receives from parliament and channelling that focus towards bigger issues such as creating better transport links for young children and students in our city.
Burnham stated that he wanted “a democratic solution” — which would be new forms of political engagement, resulting in people having more power over their own lives. Pre-referendum,
700,000 people voted to leave in Manchester, far more than those that wished to remain. Burnham stated that he understood why they voted to leave, having parliament dictate policies upon them and forcing them to live with what they have and not expect change.
Labour’s mayoral candidate believes that this campaign will be the “start of something radical and something new” and promises that in light of the US elections, we will not get ‘Trumped’, instead there should be a “cry for change”.
Burnham wants to make Manchester the most “inclusive, diverse and safest place”, claiming he wants to work with the people to write a manifesto, to make sure that the government are closer to them and to respond to what they are saying.
Burnham’s development in policy firstly focuses upon young people, claiming he will offer more opportunity in the surrounding communities. Young people are often claimed to be the main target for cuts however Burnham claims that what politicians fail to realise is that they are the future of today.
Burnham proposed that students between the ages 16–18 should receive free travel in Greater Manchester to encourage part-time jobs and extracurricular activities outside academia. A UCAS-style system should be created for those who prefer to move on to apprenticeships rather than university and companies should be asked to give more career paths for young adults without a degree.
For those that are newly graduated, Burnham wants to create links with international and UK companies to bring more professional jobs to Manchester so that more students are attracted to staying the city.
Burnham also addressed the need for more council housing, and his belief that those who work in care homes should paid more than the minimum wage.
When questioned about the lack of women in politics, Burnham became impassioned about changing our society’s mentality, adding that every tier of education should be more involved in parliament — Burnham wants to introduce a youth parliament to Manchester. He also stated that devolution would be a long process but one that was achievable.