No-one has a f*cking clue about Brexit


The great and good of Manchester’s business community descended on the Lowry Hotel for the Pro-Manchester Economics Conference 2018 on Thursday (18 October).

While the agenda had some similarities to Theresa May’s in Brussels, the mood in the room was markedly more upbeat and convivial.

Hosted by economist and former CEO of Pro-Manchester, John Ashcroft, attendees were treated to a series of presentations and panel sessions covering transport & congestion, homelessness, the environment, the role of Salford, our tourism scene, employment & skills, and, of course, Brexit.

While the word of the day was undisputedly ‘challenges’, practically all of the speakers had high hopes for the city’s economic future, here’s why:

  • The city is a hive of ambition and creativity

No one exemplified this quite like Marketing Manchester’s Managing Director, Sheona Southern, who outlined her vision to propel the city to a global top 20 tourist destination by 2035.

Not one for catchy taglines, Sheona detailed how Marketing Manchester has been flying our flag on a global level, and how new direct flight routes from Manchester Airport to the likes of Mumbai are set to bolster tourism for years to come.

  • Manchester is a tech hub

The city is the fifth biggest tech hub in Europe (behind behemoths London, Paris, Berlin and Stockholm) and has the infrastructure to keep growing.

Some £432 million was raised by start-ups last year, and numerous tech/media firms have moved to Manny or chose the city as the place to begin life.

The panels’ words were prophetic, with Amazon announcing 600 highly skilled jobs for Manchester just hours after the conference finished.

  • We have a homelessness problem, but more importantly, we have a willingness to fix it

Manchester’s homelessness problem is well documented, but the conference showed us that the local business community is invested in playing a key role in fixing it.

Delegates were shown a short film about the vital work homeless charity Booth Centre does in providing support to those who need it, while Kennedy’s partner Alison Loveday spoke about how the city’s artistic community have been helping raise awareness of the issue.

  • Manchester is in a good position to thrive amid a rapidly changing retail landscape

Thanks to our work with the likes of wilko, the team at Brazen are more than familiar with the rapidly changing retail landscape.

But, as a city, Manchester needn’t be as worried as the UK’s smaller towns/cities, according to the expert panel.

Manchester Arndale’s Centre Director, David Allinson, spoke about how the shopping centre is adapting its offering to give visitors a more well-rounded leisure experience.

Similarly, Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank’s Paul Titterton described their plans for an exciting new Market Street branch, which will focus on the human aspect of banking and compliment (not compete) with its digital offering.

  • Mancs can deal with Brexit

No one has a f*cking clue about Brexit. Fact. But at least, come March 2019 (or whenever we leave the EU), we’ll still have first class football to enjoy, quality live music venues to visit, fantastic food to feast on and an ever-evolving mix of bars to drown our sorrows at.

So, sorry everyone not living in Manchester – you might be in a spot of bother – but we’re all feeling fairly good about the future.

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