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What construction needs to know about Labour's Manchester mayoral candidate

Labour has selected MP Andy Burnham as its candidate for next year’s Manchester mayoral elections.

Former chancellor George Osborne first announced plans for devolved power and an elected mayor for Manchester in November 2014.

The new mayor, due to be picked in May 2017, will have wide-ranging powers across housing, transport, health and crime policy.

These will potentially include a £300m housing fund to provide 15,000 homes over a 10-year period, new planning policies, and a transport fund to boost local infrastructure.

With Andy Burnham now picked as Labour’s candidate – and the odds-on favourite to win at next year’s election – what does construction need to know about his policies?

Construction News takes a look at the key construction pledges that Mr Burnham has made for Greater Manchester.

Andy Burnham, MP for Leigh and shadow home secretary

Leigh MP, shadow home secretary and former Labour leadership candidate Andy Burnham was probably the most recognisable of the three frontrunners for the Labour party’s mayoral candidate.

Mr Burnham has pledged to use the mayor’s planning powers to “buy out absent private landlords” and return properties to the public housing stock, and will set up a “rent-to-own” scheme to build new affordable rented homes for young people.

He has also pledged that he will campaign for a new east-west high speed rail route, which he says should be prioritised ahead of investment in Crossrail 2.

Mr Burnham is also expected to follow a similar policy to his former mayoral rivals and adopt a transport policy that will include taking bus operation back under public control.

Previously, the mayoral candidate has said he would give “no guarantees” on the future of HS2, and promised to offer a review of the £50bn project during his failed bid for the Labour leadership last year.

Mr Burnham beat competition from two other candidates to secure Labour’s nomination: police and crime commissioner Tony Lloyd and Bury South MP Ivan Lewis.

The runners-up

Tony Lloyd, interim mayor for Greater Manchester

Greater Manchester police and crime commissioner and former MP for Stretford Tony Lloyd has been the region’s interim mayor since his appointment in May 2015.

The 66-year-old Stretford local set out ambitious plans for housing in particular, with two headline policies aimed at boosting the number of affordable homes in the region.

Mr Lloyd wanted to set up a Greater Manchester Decent Homes plan, a taskforce that will decide how best to distribute the new mayor’s £300m housing fund, as well as recommendations for planning policy.

He also pledged to create a Greater Manchester Development Bank, which will encourage private investment in local businesses, and said he would “recycle the money earned from commercial loans to support private business” to fund building homes for rent and sale across the region.

The mayoral candidate planned to adopt a “use it or lose it” policy on brownfield land under the mayor’s planning powers, in order to unlock more brownfield sites for housing development.

On top of this, he also pledged to create 2,000 apprenticeships across Greater Manchester’s public services over two years.

On transport, his policies included taking bus franchises back under public control, an oyster card-style system for use across all of the region’s transport, and a road investment and green transport plan.

He also said he would have “used new legal powers so that the public can have a greater say in investment in transport, the best routes, the frequency of services and the level of fares”.

Mr Lloyd was backed by unions including Unite, as well as Ashton MP Angela Rayner.

Ivan Lewis, MP for Bury South

Mr Lewis, who has been MP for Bury South since 1997, held a number of shadow cabinet positions in Ed Miliband’s Labour, including shadow Northern Ireland secretary.

In running for Greater Manchester mayor, he pledged a price freeze for bus fares until 2020 and the creation of a publicly owned Greater Manchester Bus Company to bid for franchises across the region.

He said he would also use transport funding to prioritise new orbital transport routes in the region.

On housing, Mr Lewis pledged “stronger regulation” on the private rented sector, which he claims would improve standards and tenant protection.

Mr Lewis argued that the £300m housing fund, provided as part of the region’s devolution deal, is “flawed” as it can only be used by private developers, not social housing projects.

He adopted a similar policy towards brownfield land as Mr Lloyd, with a “use it or lose it” strategy towards private landlords who fail to build on brownfield plots.

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