Greater Manchester Local Economic Assessment: Bolton
Source: GMFM 2010
6.1Bolton is relatively more independent from the conurbation core, with relatively lower commuting flows into the Cities of Manchester and Salford, though still higher than to areas outside Greater Manchester.
6.2Bolton’s town centre benefits from a scale and diversity of functions that provide critical mass, which is complemented by continued strength in manufacturing and logistics activities, such that Bolton has developed into the key office market in the north of the conurbation.
6.3However, over the last decade, Bolton has seen minimal employment growth, and exclusively from the public sector, suggesting that economic restructuring is still underway, and that Bolton currently remains reliant upon the conurbation core for new employment opportunities.
6.4With its reliance on public sector employment, Bolton is vulnerable to cuts and the lack of a dynamic private sector needs to be addressed in order to compensate for the coming reduction in public sector employment. Bolton needs to continue to grow its knowledge-intensive businesses, particularly business and professional services, as manufacturing will continue to decline in employment terms in the future even if the sector sees a resurgence, as increasing productivity is essential to maintain global competitiveness.
6.5Bolton has some significant strengths that provide key opportunities for growth in the future. The high quality lifestyle offer in much of the borough makes it an attractive location to attract and retain skills, while a good quality transport links to employment sites both inside and outside of the borough provide strong connectivity for commuters. Bolton’s town centre, with its university and retail assets also provides a sound foundation for economic growth in the future.
6.6However, it remains important to address economic inequalities across the borough, in order to enable more of Bolton’s residents to share in the benefits of growth. Long-term worklessness remains an issue in a number of deprived areas of the borough.
6.7Skills are an important issue, both for reducing deprivation and worklessness and for stimulating business growth. In order to maximise the advantage of the size of its economy and resident population, Bolton needs to increase the proportion of its residents attaining higher-level skills, and create higher-value employment opportunities in the borough. The borough is particularly well placed to upskill its population, with Bolton University providing an important asset that can be built upon in the future.
1 The definition of para-state for these estimates has been adapted from one used by a CRESC working paper. As a result it should be treated as an estimated guide rather than a definitive statement of the size of the para-state sector. See John Buchanon, Julie Froud, Sukhdev Johal, Adam Leaver and Karel Williams, “Undisclosed and unsustainable: problems of the UK business model”, CRESC Working Paper no. 75, December 2009, pp 3, 29.
2 ESA figures used here include those still claiming the old Incapacity benefit.
3 Jones Lang LaSalle (2010) Identification and Market Demand-led Assessment of Large Employment Sites within Greater Manchester
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