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Greater Manchester (United Kingdom)

Greater Manchester


The area of Greater Manchester falls within the North West region of England. The city of Manchester has a population of around ½ million and is within the county of Greater Manchester (population circa 2.6m).

Greater Manchester will be represented at the Urban Forum on 16th February in Brussels by Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council who will present examples for innovative actions for sustainable urban development in this region.

It encompasses one of the largest metropolitan areas in the United Kingdom and comprises ten metropolitan boroughs: Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan, and the cities of Manchester and Salford. On average, the GDP per inhabitant was 102% of the EU27 average in 2008. The economy is largely service based and particularly strong in the creative, digital, manufacturing and finance sectors. The strongest-performing sectors in recent years are predominantly located within the city centre and adjacent locations due to a critical mass of economic services producing benefits of clustering and economies of scale.

What are the region’s priorities?

The North West of England’s priorities are:

  • Stimulating enterprise and supporting growth in targeted markets, such as developing high value new enterprises, developing higher added value activity in target regional sectors, increasing sustainable consumption and production (27% of the ERDF budget).

  • Exploiting Innovation and Knowledge, such as exploiting the science and research and development base of the region, encouraging innovation to improve productivity in all companies and developing better management and leadership (27 % of the ERDF budget).

  • Creating the conditions for sustainable growth, such as developing high quality sites and premises of regional importance and supporting the improvement of the region's visitor offer and image (21% of the ERDF budget).

  • Growing and accessing employment, such as stimulating enterprise in disadvantaged communities and under-represented groups, supporting linkages to key employment areas and supporting employment creation for areas of regeneration need (21% of the ERDF budget).

What contribution has been made by the EU's regional policy?

For the 2007-13 ERDF programme, the North West has received EUR 755 million of which Greater Manchester shares 60% (around EUR 450 million) with three other sub regions – Cheshire, Lancashire and Cumbria.

As part of the arrangements for the phasing in of former Objective one area, the North West programme contains a ring-fenced allocation of roughly 40% (EUR 305 million for Merseyside, the other sub region within England’s North West.  

Around EUR 75 million has already been invested in Manchester projects from the 2007-13 ERDF programme.

Examples of projects

  • Media Enterprise Centre at Media City (ERDF contribution: GBP 6.7 million) - The Media Enterprise Centre (MEC), located in the south tower of the Media City studio block in Salford, will offer a range of services to help stimulate and support the growth of media companies. Several key national BBC departments are based within the building.

  • Sharp Project (ERDF contribution: GBP 3.7 million) - The Sharp project has created a high-quality, multi-functional space that is suitable for established digital businesses to flourish and for small-scale companies to grow in order to drive forward Manchester’s position as a creative city.

  • Centre of Excellence for Biopharmaceuticals (ERDF contribution: GBP 2.4 million) -The centre is based in the University of Manchester, it works with 65 regional businesses to help them accelerate the development and use of biopharmaceuticals for the treatment of disease.

  • Swan Lane (ERDF contribution: GBP 1.3 million) - Swan Lane is the UK’s first zero energy cost business park built on 0.47 hectares of brownfield site in Wigan which aims to create 65 jobs. The centre provides immediate support to Small and Medium-sized Entreprises and facilitates collaboration opportunities.

  • Chapel Street (ERDF contribution: GBP 1.8 million) – This project features a package of infrastructure improvements to the Chapel Street area of Salford with an overall aim of creating vibrant business and residential district in the city.

  • Further information

    Programme North West