The Leader's blog


Andrew Western

The blog of the Leader of Trafford Council, Councillor Andrew Western.

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Digital Future

Posted: Tuesday 4th September 2018
Blog: 2018

A cyber security scheme was launched yesterday to protect companies across Greater Manchester against malicious computer attacks, which are a huge risk to our region’s businesses in terms of cost. It’s a University-led initiative, fronted by MMU, and it’s all part of our efforts as a region to protect our digital and creative sector, which is vibrant and growing but also open to potentially catastrophic impact if our cyber defences are breached.

We’ve also just submitted a letter of intent, via colleagues at the GMCA, to secure £24m from the government for full fibre network across 1500 public sector buildings in Greater Manchester and we believe this will be a significant driver for growth. We currently have 2% full fibre in GM, and the aim is to get to 25% by 2020. Interestingly, we’re way behind countries like Spain and Portugal in this area at the moment and we need to turn that round.

I mention this partly in my capacity as GM Council Leader responsible for the ‘Digital’ portfolio.  I was delighted to be offered this as an area of focus as it’s one that’s very close to my heart.  It’s also an exciting and ever-changing subject area that affects each one of us on a daily basis, whether that’s in terms of broadband connectivity or support for SMEs to innovate and thrive.

Digital technology is of course a key enabler for Trafford too. I met key contacts at Microsoft, last week, one of our key partners in UA92. Microsoft will be helping us to drive digital skills across Trafford and beyond, via their expertise, the courses offered and through work experience, which will be a hugely important part of courses offered by UA92. It’s a constantly changing agenda and working with the best experts in the field will help us keep ahead of the game as both a local authority and the wider region.