A group of young people from across Greater Manchester came together to ask Andy Burnham, Simon Lepori and Melanie Horrocks questions on topics close to their hearts. So, here’s a summary of what they stand for and their pledges to us, young people in Greater Manchester. Remember, if you’re 18+ and you’ve registered to vote, you can have your say on May 6th. It’s time to decide how you want this city-region run!
Andy Burnham (he/him)
Born in the Wirral in 1970, to a telephone operator and a receptionist, Burnham was raised as both a Catholic and an Everton supporter. As an adult, he headed down to Westminster and spent 14 years as the MP for Leigh. In 2015 he ran to be the leader of the Labour party but lost to Jeremy Corbyn. 2 years later in 2017, he ran to be Mayor of Manchester and won. He is our current Mayor and is running for re-election.
What he stands for:
Homelessness was Burnham’s priority in his first term, and he focused on reducing rough sleeping. He said he is now looking for long term solutions. He has created a UCAS style apprenticeship and careers service (GMACS) for young people not going down an academic route, and he has created the Our Pass, which allows free travel for 16-18 year olds. He committed to creating more work shadowing opportunities and said he wants this to be a city for young people. He stated that Mental Health will be his next big project. He wants to look at how to better support young people’s Mental Health and have services there when people need them. As well as a city for young people, Burnham wants to create a ‘Green City’, with carbon neutrality by 2038. He is currently building cycle lanes and walkways separate from traffic and wants to use these big changes to create more jobs.
What he’s promised:
- More affordable homes in GM.
- The continuation of Our Pass.
- More work shadowing opportunities.
- Bike hires in the city centre.
- Prioritise Mental Health improvements.
- Carbon Neutrality by 2038.
“I want to throw open the doors of this city region to you”Andy Burnham, Labour Party Candidate for Mayor of Greater Manchester
Simon Lepori (he/him)
Liberal Democrats Party
Get to know him: Born in Whitehaven, Lepori has been open about his struggles in childhood. At a young age, his mum moved their family down South, and divorced his abusive father, and he has stated he was sometimes on food stamps as a child. He worked in the Health and Social Care sector for 17 years and returned to the NHS frontline in the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. Lepori is openly gay, and he and his partner have lived in Manchester for the past 15 years.
What he stands for:
Lepori’s big plan is ‘Community Hubs’. He wants to assign outreach and social workers to every district, who work hand in hand with the community. He believes this will help prevent homelessness, as they can engage with vulnerable people and deal with their problems before they escalate into homelessness. Similarly, outreach and social workers will be able to spot the signs of domestic abuse and support victims in a more personalised way, and young people will automatically become closer to the decision-making process. He said he believes in ‘20-minute towns’, where everything we need, from shops to leisure centres, is within walking distance. Lepori also wants a ‘Green Revolution’, with changes including advanced plastics recycling, a reduction in landfills, a ban on incineration, high standard mass-produced houses and better funded, safe, reliable public transport and cycle lanes. He is aiming to complete this by 2030-2035.
What he’s promised:
- Community Hubs, staffed with outreach and social workers.
- Using empty homes for the homeless in Greater Manchester.
- Education on Mental Health in schools.
- Reform the city’s recycling system within 10 years.
“The closer decisions come to the Community, the louder your voices will become”Simon Lepori, Liberal Democrats Candidate for Mayor of Greater Manchester
Melanie Horrocks (she/her)
Get to know her: Melanie Horrocks is a qualified solicitor. Her career has centred around criminal defence and she worked at the Independent Police Commission for 6 years. She has recently achieved a Masters degree in counter-terrorism. She is the mother of 2 children, who she home-schooled for a while, and lives in the Trafford ward.
What she stands for:
Horrocks believes in a holistic approach to homelessness- which includes job coaches, rehab schemes and social support- with a focus on retaining homes, not just finding them. Her first big vision for Greater Manchester is cheaper and easier access to the countryside. She believes in active travel (walking and cycling) and wants to allow more bikes onto trams, trains and buses. She thinks schooling should focus on the future, and the jobs which are newly available, and she believes education on general politics and local politics is important for students. She wants Manchester to move away from fossil fuels and build in a way which isn’t encouraging more cars. Her target for carbon neutrality is 2030. Finally, she said she wants ‘a green in every room’. She believes that green party candidates like her have a positive impact on policy, just by being elected and present.
What she’s promised:
- To invite Marcus Rashford to work with her on a strategy for food poverty.
- Allow more bikes on public transport.
- To meet with councillors once every 2 months.
- Carbon neutrality by 2030.
“One of the most empowering things you can do is listen”Melanie Horrocks, Green Party Candidate for Mayor of Greater Manchester
Unfortunately, Laura Evans, the Conservative party candidate declined our invitation to attend the Youth Hustings, and so we cannot inform you of her intentions around the issues Greater Manchester’s young people have raised.
Good luck with your voting! This was an amazing event to have been a part of, and all of us at the GMYCA are incredibly grateful to the 3 candidates who came; for giving us a chance to raise issues important to us, and for showing they care about Greater Manchester’s young people.
Remember, if you see something you want to change then shout about it, as loud as you can. Each of these candidates has promised to listen to you- hold them to it!
- All of the above comments and quotes were taken from the Youth Hustings events organised by Youth Focus North West and RECLAIM. This piece has been written by Xplode Magazine’s Rosaleen Tite-Ahern, a member of the Greater Manchester Youth Combined Authority.