The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has named the leader of Oldham Council, Jean Stretton, as the new portfolio lead for Equality, Fairness and Inclusion.
During the first Greater Manchester Combined Authority meeting to be chaired by Andy, it was also agreed that for all future meetings both men and women would be represented from across the 10 local boroughs.
Andy said: “I made a commitment to delivering equality in local government, and I’m determined to see this through. If we are to make Greater Manchester a successful, world-leading city region, we need both men and women involved in the decision-making that affects us all.
“It’s vital that our plans for Greater Manchester benefit everyone, not just the few. Jean will be playing a key role to ensure that Greater Manchester is a fair and inclusive city region; a place where everyone can get on in life, healthy and happy.
“Ageing in particular is an area we need to address. For too long older people have been spoken of as burdens or ‘bed blockers’. We will rewrite the rules, pioneering a new positive vision of ageing that sees people living longer, being given access to training and skills, and valued for the contribution they can make. I want Greater Manchester to become the first age-friendly city region in the UK.”
Heading up plans to create a fairer, equal, and more inclusive Greater Manchester, Cllr Stretton will be responsible for ensuring that Greater Manchester’s ambitious plans for the future are set to improve life for everyone, regardless of characteristics such as age, gender, or race.
Cllr Stretton said: “The Combined Authority’s plans around key topics such as housing, employment and education, must factor in the needs of everyone who lives here. Regardless of how old someone is, where they live, or the colour of their skin, Greater Manchester must become a place where everyone receives the same opportunities; where everyone can find a job, be healthy, and put a roof over their heads.”
As an employer and service provider, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, like other agencies, has to comply with the Equality Act 2010 and fulfil statutory duties with regards to equality and inclusion. But the Combined Authority’s ambition stretches far beyond this, with many of the aspirations set out in the Greater Manchester Strategy and the Mayor’s manifesto looking to improve outcomes for all.
Committees, panels and boards that advise the Mayor will also be gender-balanced wherever possible.