Manchester has seen its population increase by 31% over the past twenty years, the qualifications of its residents have increased and it is recovering from the Covid lockdown according to the latest state of the city report released today.
However, according to the report, there has been a significant increase in the number of people claiming unemployment benefits, the pandemic has worsened existing inequalities in the city and the number of homeless households in Manchester has remained high.
The latest mid-year ONS population estimates suggest Manchester experienced a 31% population growth between 2001 and 2020 and it is evident that Manchester’s popularity is increasing and is an attractive place to study, work and live.
The resilience of Manchester’s economy has been tested throughout economic shutdowns and the evolution of travel guidelines following COVID-19. During the pandemic, 95,400 jobs were supported through the government’s leave plan. There are now signs of recovery in Manchester’s economy. Job postings continue to fluctuate in the city but remain on an upward trajectory – the highest being 7,900 job postings posted in the week ending September 18.
Dynamic development continued to transform the city’s skyline. Important downtown development projects include NOMA, St Mary’s Parsonage, St John’s and Great Jackson Street. There are many other projects in development or in the works, including a major redevelopment of North Manchester General Hospital to create the new North Manchester Health Campus.
There has been a continuous increase in the number of residents with higher level qualifications. In 2020, 47.7% of residents have higher level qualifications, which is above the national average. However, recent improvements in skills, qualifications and wages have not reached all of our communities.
Older residents, those for whom English is not their first language, residents with disabilities and residents with long-term illness are more likely to have low skill levels and therefore to be more vulnerable to job losses, according to the report.
As the City is committed to a green and zero carbon economy, its new employability programs will aim to prioritize green economy skills to broaden the skills base and support advances in the digital economy.
Work is underway on developing a zero-carbon skills framework to understand the skill needs that will emerge for each sector, including building renovations, low-carbon heating and transport, and low-carbon services. carbon emission.
Due to the high levels of unemployment during the pandemic, the number of people claiming unemployment benefits has increased dramatically. Swift intervention is needed to get residents back on track – locally, Manchester’s Rising Star Fund was launched in January 2021 to help ambitious young people overcome barriers that prevent them from progressing in their education, employment or training .
The pandemic has had a major impact on the delivery of education, with schools being closed to most students for long periods of time. To help the most vulnerable, education providers provided good quality distance learning and the council supported schools and allocated more than 3,000 laptops to disadvantaged children. Manchester is dedicated to improving outcomes for all children. Education services within the Council will continue to work closely with early childhood providers, schools, post-16 service providers and education leaders to develop a long-term plan to do so. in the face of the impact of the pandemic on children and young people.
The pandemic has worsened existing inequalities in the city, especially for our most disadvantaged communities, ethnic minorities, women, migrants, people living in poverty and the elderly, which means that our focus on reducing inequality is more important than ever.
The number of homeless households in Manchester has remained high over the past year. At the end of March 2021, 2,546 households were residing in temporary accommodation, in part due to the lack of moving options during lockdown.
The “Everyone In” initiative has led to greater engagement with statutory and support services. In 2020/21, the Housing Solutions Service succeeded in preventing 789 people and families from becoming homeless through various interventions. A series of responses have been developed to fight restless sleep in the city, including the A Bed Every Night initiative.
During the pandemic, there has been a substantial increase in demand for food banks and pantries, and an increase in eligibility for free school meals. In order to provide practical support to families, the Our Manchester Pocket guide has been developed and the Family Poverty Alleviation Strategy has been redefined to meet the needs of children and families living in poverty.
Increasing the supply of housing – and affordable housing in particular – will be a key part of the city’s recovery from the pandemic. The demand for housing from the most vulnerable residents has increased with increasing numbers on the housing register and in temporary housing. In 2020/21, construction began on 2,000 new homes across the city, of which 844 are affordable.
The transition to a zero carbon city remains a key priority for the city. Manchester City Council is on track to become zero carbon by 2038 – emissions fell 21% in 2020/21. However, the city is not yet decarbonizing at the required rate and emissions must now be reduced by at least 16% per year until 2038. Over the past year, a series of projects have been delivered to advance our zero carbon ambitions, including the completion of the first walking and cycling route supported by the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Challenge Fund – creating a safer environment for cyclists and pedestrians. At the same time, 2 km of urban heat transport network were installed for the district heating network (pipes, electric cables and communication cables) as well as the completion of the Tower of Light.
Libraries and parks have proven essential for Manchester communities during the pandemic. Libraries offered programs and events online during the lockdown and there was an 89% increase in electronic resource use. Libraries have also set up two initiatives to help digitally excluded residents become confident online users at home. There was also a sharp increase in park visits and over 11,600 youth participated in park activities throughout the summer.
For a city to be successful, it must be well connected locally, nationally and internationally. Demand for trips to and from downtown is generally high, but due to the pandemic, there has been a decrease in trips in all modes between 2019 and 2020.
The Council continues to work with Transport for Greater Manchester to take a strategic approach to planning the city’s transport network. In 2020/21, £ 18.8million was invested in improving roads and sidewalks. Projects such as the Great Ancoats Street Project, the Medlock Street Roundabout Congestion Reduction Program and the first phase of the Chorlton Walking and Cycling Program have also been completed. The renewed downtown transportation strategy prioritizes walking as the primary means of getting around downtown.
Ensuring that residents have the skills and technology to make the most of our digitizing world is integral to Manchester’s future. Many residents now depend on reliable broadband connections and digital skills. In 2020, Manchester developed a digital inclusion action plan working with stakeholders across the city to reduce digital exclusion.
Councilor Bev Craig, Head of Manchester City Council, said:
“The state of the city shows that Manchester has continued to achieve many successes during an incredibly difficult year for the city, and the legacy of the pandemic will be with us for some time to come. Our economy has withstood the impacts of the pandemic, our population continues to grow rapidly. We’ve helped our children learn, our residents stay healthy, we are working harder than ever to tackle poverty and inequality, and significant investments are being made across the city for the next ten years.
“Manchester’s future remains optimistic; we all want to build an even better city. Four points stand out for me where we must work with all the partners to go further. First, do more to build a more inclusive economy for all of Manchester’s residents that enables everyone to benefit from our growth. Second, we know that COVID has exacerbated inequalities, so we need to redouble our efforts to tackle inequality and invest in communities. It is essential that we work with the most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities. Third, be even more ambitious when it comes to affordable housing. Fourth, quickly reduce our carbon emissions as a city.
“Finally, on behalf of Manchester City Council, I would like to thank the people of Manchester for their resilience and their efforts to make Manchester a world class city.