My Lords, in partnership with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, the Greater Manchester local enterprise partnership has launched the Build Back Better campaign, an initiative that sets out to build back the economy and create a better opportunity for a strong and successful recovery from Covid-19. Among the emerging themes are the need to embed good employment practices and deliver a sustainable low-carbon and green economy across the Manchester city region.
In Greater Manchester, 30% of households do not have access to a car, so public transport and a city region’s ability to shape its networks are essential to prevent people being left behind figuratively and literally. The Clean Air plan can form an important part of Greater Manchester’s post-lockdown recovery, cleaning up our commercial vehicles and providing bus operators and taxi drivers with the necessary funding to move to a modern green fleet. We are finally beginning to understand the value of the working classes—the drivers, delivery men, refuse men and council workers. They should be given the best employment rights in the world.
However, this is all aspirational; we need real powers devolved to deliver these things. Those powers—in transport and planning—have been outlined by other speakers today. City regions understand what city people need. We need support from the Government. It is not always top-down; sometimes we on the ground understand the needs of our communities. The sooner the Government get that and begin to devolve real powers to real city regions—that was the deal when we all signed up for them—the sooner we, all around this country, can deliver the services that our communities demand and which, at the end of Covid, will surely give us a better society for all.