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New Metro Mayor Must Prioritise Tackling Living Standards In Greater Manchester



New Metro Mayor Must Prioritise Tackling Living Standards In Greater Manchester

A new report published today (Tuesday) by the independent think-tank the Resolution Foundation states that Greater Manchester’s impressive leadership on the national devolution agenda should now be used to tackle the stark living standards inequalities between local areas across the city region.

The Foundation’s report looks at the city region’s successes and failures in boosting living standards over the last two decades, and sets out three key challenges that the new Metro Mayor will need to address when they are elected next May.

It notes with average household incomes in Greater Manchester almost £80 a week lower than the rest of the country outside the major cities (at £484) there is plenty of work to do to boost living standards.

The report details the strong performance that saw Greater Manchester outperform most other city regions in the decade running up to the financial crisis, in part thanks to the regeneration of the City centre. However, recent struggles mean it has lost the advantage it built up, while places like Rochdale and Oldham are falling further behind both newly successful areas like Manchester City centre and established living standards leaders like Trafford.

Between 1997 and 2007, Greater Manchester enjoyed strong economic growth and a buoyant labour market. Typical pay across the area rose by 15 per cent – and by 21 per cent for the lowest earners. The employment rate rose by 4 percentage points, while employment for single parents, BAME and disabled people rose by 10 percentage points.

However, even during this period of shared economic success, new geographic inequalities emerged. While the impressive growth of some traditionally poor areas – particularly those in and around the regional centre – reduced geographic inequality, the lacklustre performance of places like Oldham, Rochdale and Bolton created new divisions between the centre and northern outskirts of Greater Manchester.

Manchester’s performance in the years since the start of the crisis has been far less impressive. The strength of the economy (GVA per head) is still 3.5 percentage points below its pre-crisis peak – a gap the UK as a whole closed last year.

Its labour market has also disappointed. Workers in Greater Manchester experienced a deep pay squeeze, with typical earnings still no higher than they were in 2002 despite the recent recovery.

The region’s mixed record on employment has contributed to a further widening of already stark geographic inequalities. While Manchester and Salford have experienced impressive employment growth of around six percentage points over the last five years, employment has grown by just one percentage point in Bury, and has actually fallen in Rochdale during this time.

Greater Manchester’s jobs divide is felt most keenly by disadvantaged groups – a BAME person is 50 per cent more likely to be in work if they live in Trafford, compared to Manchester – highlighting that serious living standards challenges remain even in the City centre.

Looking at the current living standards picture across Greater Manchester, the report identifies three key challenges that the new Metro Mayor should prioritise. They are:

  • Tackle the stark employment divide. The Mayor should target closing the huge 20 percentage point ‘jobs gap’ ­between the highest and lowest employment levels – the biggest gap of any city in Britain – for disadvantaged groups in different parts of the same city region.
  • Boost productivity. Greater Manchester must turn its post-crisis productivity slump around. It should use its high graduate retention rate to boost the number of professional and managerial jobs, showing the continued importance of developing the City centre as a magnet for such jobs.
  • Address housing affordability concerns. Boost house building to address the dramatic drop in home ownership, which has fallen even faster than London since the early 2000s.

The regeneration of central Manchester from the 1990s onwards has helped the wider economy to thrive in the years running up to the financial crisis

Stephen Clarke, Research Analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said:
“The regeneration of central Manchester from the 1990s onwards has helped the wider economy to thrive in the years running up to the financial crisis. These gains fed through into people’s pay packets and were shared fairly too, with the lowest earners witnessing the fastest pay growth. They also saw Greater Manchester establish itself at the forefront of a much needed devolution agenda, driving changes far beyond the city itself.

“But a tough recession and sluggish recent recovery means that the new Metro Mayor will face a city region at a crossroads. There is plenty of scope for Manchester to thrive again, but also a risk that it could fall behind other major cities, as it has been doing recently.

“Central to getting Greater Manchester back on track is tackling the stark geographical disparities across the region. This should include targeting the region’s 20 per cent jobs gap for disadvantaged groups. Because while the regional centre and Trafford have enjoyed impressive growth in recent decades, areas like Oldham and Rochdale have been left behind.

“The good news is that as a result of impressive leadership on devolution, the new Metro Mayor will have more tools than any other Mayor in Britain – from employment and skills, to transport and housing – to take on Greater Manchester’s living standards challenge.

“But the pressure is on whoever wins in May. Greater Manchester is the poster boy for an exciting new era of devolution. The success or otherwise of its first Metro Mayor could therefore determine the future of devolution across Britain.”


How To Make The Shipping Industry Greener




green shipping industry

Each and every year more damage is done to our planet. When businesses are arranging pallet delivery or any other kind of shipping, the environment usually isn’t their number one concern. However, there’s an increasing pressure for the shipping industry to go greener, particularly as our oceans are filling with plastic and climate change is occurring. Fortunately, there’s plenty of technology out there to help with this. Here’s how the freight industry is going greener.

Make Ship Scrapping Cleaner

There are approximately 51,400 merchant ships trading around the world at the moment. Although the act of transporting tonnes of cargo across the ocean every year is very damaging to the environment, the scrapping of container ships is also very harmful. Large container ships contain asbestos, heavy metals and oils which are toxic to both people and the environment during demolition. The EU has regulations in place which ensure that all European ships are disposed of in an appropriate manner at licenced yards and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) introduced guidelines to make recycling of ships safe and environmentally friendly back in 2009, but since then only Norway, Congo and France have agreed to the policy. The IMO needs to ensure that more countries are on board with the scheme, especially India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, which are some of the worst culprits for scrapping, which may mean enforcing the regulations in the near future.

Reduce Emissions

A single large container ship can produce the same amount of emissions as 50 million cars, making international shipping one of the major contributors towards global warming. Stricter emissions regulations are needed to reduce the amount of emissions entering our atmosphere. The sulphur content within ship fuel is largely responsible for the amount of emissions being produced; studies have shown that a reduction in the sulphur content in fuel oil from 35,000 p.p.m to 1,000 p.p.m could reduce the SOx emissions by as much as 97%! The IMO has already begun to ensure that ships with the Emission Control Areas of the globe, such as the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and the English Channel, are using this lower sulphur content fuel, but it needs to be enforced around the world to make a significant difference.

As it’s not currently practical or possible to completely phase-out heavy, conventional fuels around the world, a sulphur scrubber system can be added to the exhaust system of ships to help reduce the amount of sulphur being emitted.

Better Port Management

As more and more ships are travelling around the world, congestion and large volumes of cargo can leave ports in developing countries overwhelmed. Rapidly expanding ports can be very damaging to the surrounding environment, take Shenzhen for example, it’s a collection of some of the busiest ports in China and there has been a 75% reduction in the number of mangroves along the coastline. Destroying valuable ecosystems has a knock-on effect on the rest of the country’s wildlife. Port authorities need to take responsibility for the environmental impact of construction and ensure that further expansion is carried out sustainably.

Some have suggested that instead of expansion, improved port management is needed. If port authorities can work with transport-planning bureaus, they will be able to establish more efficient ways of unloading cargo to reduce the impact on the environment caused by shipping congestion.

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What Kitchen Suits Your Style? Modern, Classic or Shaker?




shaker kitchen designs

A kitchen is the centre of the home. Your kitchen ranges between where friends and family gather, talk about their day, cook meals, have drinks, to somewhere you can just enjoy each other’s company. The kitchen is the heart of the home. But, everyone’s lifestyle is different. Everyone’s taste is different. So, you need a kitchen that not only mirrors your lifestyle but matches your taste too. Whilst some prefer a more traditional design, others want a modern feel or flair – and it’s all down to personal taste.

When it comes to redesigning your kitchen, what style would you go for? It’s a difficult one isn’t it. With so many different styles to go for, how can you know exactly what you want until you’ve seen it in action? Leading kitchen designer, Roman Kitchens, based in Essex, have provided three examples of bespoke kitchens and styles they specialise in, accompanied with beautiful images. This design guide will get you one step closer to picking your dream kitchen for your home.

1. Modern

New home in the city centre? Or even a sleek new modern build? You want a trendy and modern kitchen to reflect your city lifestyle. In modern kitchen design, colours are bolder and fresher, with sleek design and utilities that are distinctive and vibrant.

modern kitchen designs

This modern kitchen is sleek and smooth with flawless design and beauty. Minimalism doesn’t stop this kitchen standing out. Featured walls of wood and vibrant mint green draw the eye, whilst the white surfaces reflect the light, illuminating every nook and cranny of this kitchen. This kitchen features products from Rotpunkt, innovators of modern kitchen design. Made with German engineering, a Rotpunkt Kitchen is the ultimate modern addition to your home. Rotpunkt Kitchens have timeless design and amazing functionality, they work for every purpose and are eco-friendly. Sourced from natural materials, a Rotpunkt kitchen uses 37% less timber, conserving natural forests and being more environmentally conscious.

2. Classic

Prefer a homely and traditional feel? Classic kitchens are warm, welcoming and filled with wood. Wood flooring, wood fixtures, wood furniture – you name it! You can bring a rustic feel to your urban home with a classic kitchen. Subtle colours and beautiful finishes, Classic kitchens are for taking it back to the basics with a definitive look and feel.

classic kitchen designs

With stated handles for cupboards, Classic kitchens are effortlessly timeless. They convey an elegant but relaxing nature. Giving off countryside vibes, natural elements convey a British countryside feel. The wood featured in a classic kitchen can range between oaks and walnut, creating a warmth and original feel to your home. Soft English heritage colours add a certain mood to your home, softening the light making it cosier.

3. Shaker

Any kitchen planner will tell you that the meeting point between traditional and modern design, is a Shaker kitchen. They have a distinctive style and innovative feel. Shakers are fresh, mixing different colour tones with stylish wood and vinyl. The most important feature of a Shaker kitchen is functionality – every feature needs to serve a purpose in the kitchen. Paired with stylish and unique furniture, a Shaker kitchen is an ideal addition to any home.

shaker kitchen designs

The ultimate marriage between Classic and Modern kitchens, this Shaker kitchen has deep colour tones with copper emphasis features. All the fittings and fixtures blur the line of modern and tradition, with a Classic look but modern colour vibe. Unique furniture and design make Shaker Kitchens perfect for the middle ground in kitchen design. Minimal but beautifully dressed. Traditional but bold and modern at the same time. Storage solutions are part of the functionality of Shaker kitchens, but don’t detour from conveying yours as a luxury kitchen.

Whatever you choose for your new kitchen, be it Modern, Classic or Shaker – pick whatever suits you. Taste is, and always will be, subjective – it’s down to you.

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