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Greater Manchester city region attacked

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Plans to create a Greater Manchester city region have come under attack from a north-west business group.

Len Collinson, leader of Private Sector Partners which represents 100,000 firms in the region, said the government’s decision to put the partnership between 10 Greater Manchester authorities on a statutory footing, “risked undermining 10 years’ hard work on the north-west region’s economy”.

Mr Collinson said he was “instinctively uneasy” about breaking up the region into “aggressively protected and promoted fiefdoms”. The creation of a statutory Greater Manchester could undermine the benefits of Liverpool’s legacy from the 2008 Capital of Culture, he added.

Greater Manchester and Leeds were given the go-ahead to become statutory city regions in last month’s Budget and are expected to have new strategy-setting powers over adult skills funding within six months.

New joint investment boards with the regional development agency and the Homes & Communities Agency are also on the cards.

Private Sector Partners was formed in 2002 after the local Federation of Small Businesses, Institute of Directors and CBI bodies resigned from the now-defunct north-west regional assembly.

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