Greater Birmingham has today (21/11) launched its strategy to create 250,000 private sector jobs and add £29 billion to the local economy by 2030. The Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Economic Partnership’s (GBSLEP) new Strategic Economic Plan 2016 – 2030 outlines how, in a post-Brexit world, Greater Birmingham can become a top global city region and the driver of the UK economy outside of London.
The plan highlights the area’s growing sector strengths in advanced manufacturing, life sciences, financial and professional services and the digital and creative industries as key to bringing more jobs, businesses and talent to its towns and cities.
The Strategic Economic Plan 2016 – 2030 updates previous GBSLEP targets set in 2013. These new aims reflect the contribution that Greater Birmingham needs to make to achieve the ambitious goals recently set by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) for its three LEP-geography; including Greater Birmingham, the Black Country and Coventry & Warwickshire.
The Plan is guided by three strategic priorities identified by the GBSLEP as vital to boosting the area’s global competitiveness. They include taking greater advantage of our global connections through expansion at Birmingham Airport and the arrival of HS2; becoming a world leader in innovation and creativity, and creating stronger conditions for growth locally by addressing key issues such as the skills challenge the area currently faces – particularly within communities in Birmingham and north Solihull, with persistent rates of high unemployment exceeding 8%.
In a time of change, the GBSLEP’s new Strategic Economic Plan builds on a strong track record. Previous plans have provided the blueprints for the delivery of its £379m Growth Deal, which is funding a range of transport, housing and skills projects across the area, the £275 million Enterprise Zone Investment Plan which has unlocked the Paradise redevelopment and the body’s business support vehicle, the Growth Hub.
Steve Hollis, Chair of the GBSLEP, said: “Greater Birmingham has put its best foot forward in creating a compelling offer for inward investors in recent years, and our track record speaks for itself. This – is the foundation of our thinking on ‘industrial strategy’ and lays out what we must do now to build on our status as the major driver of the UK economy outside of the capital, take advantage of the opportunities presented by HS2 and stake our claim as a truly global business destination.
“To continue the economic renaissance of Greater Birmingham, it is vital to invest in our future. Our plan, which includes creating 250,000 jobs and growing economic output by £29 billion, both by 2030 – is a clear signal that we want to secure greater levels of investment and grow our industrial and employment base over the long term. Following the Brexit vote, it has never been more necessary to ensure growth in job creation, output and employment. The LEP Board is absolutely clear that the opportunities of a growing economy are extended to everyone that lives and works here. This decisive response will ensure Greater Birmingham can continue to thrive.”
Cllr John Clancy, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “With Brexit igniting an even greater need to be known globally as a place to do and grow business, a place where world-class talent and markets can be accessed quickly and easily – it is vital that the public and private sectors continue to work together to build an offer that stands up against the best, truly global cities. This plan clearly sets out what must be done and why. It is the blueprint for our own regional industrial strategy and we must use it as our guide if we are to make a difference to the lives of everyone in our region.”
Working with partners, including the WMCA and the Midlands Engine, GBSLEP will now devise an implementation plan for the delivery of the SEP in the New Year. This will set out how the SEP will be the basis for future bids for funds; the framework through which the LEP will seek to direct the resources under its control; and the means by which it will seek to corral and influence those of partners and wider stakeholders.
(Image: Ross Jukes)