Greater Birmingham seeks economic breakthrough with Strategy for Growth
The Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) has today launched a strategy that aims to re-establish the city region as the major driver of the UK economy outside London.
Produced following a White Paper consultation which saw more than 400 representations from businesses, local authorities, third sector organisations, universities and colleges, the Strategy for Growth will underpin economic activity up to 2020.
In this timeframe, the GBSLEP has set targets of increasing private sector jobs by 100,000, driving up GVA by £8.25 billion and transforming performance in skills and employment.
The GBSLEP is a private-public sector partnership made up of businesses, education providers and Birmingham, Bromsgrove, Cannock Chase, East Staffordshire, Lichfield, Redditch, Solihull, Tamworth, Wyre Forest local authorities.
At the heart of the Strategy for Growth are six ‘enablers’ which will be the focus for the LEP’s work:
- Growing the number of successful businesses
- Building sector strengths and opportunities
- Stimulating innovation in products, services and businesses
- Improving our skills talent pool
- Improving physical and digital connectivity
- Optimising physical, cultural and environmental assets.
The Strategy for Growth will be vital as the GBSLEP begins the process of preparing to bid for the Single Local Growth Fund due to be announced in the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review on June 26.
Steve Hollis, Deputy Chair of the GBSLEP, said: “The Strategy for Growth, we believe, is a bold and ambitious bid to not only provide a step-change in our economic fortunes but contribute to the UK’s economic recovery.
“Ambitious targets have been set and all stakeholders will have to play their part in helping us achieve them.
“While we are acutely aware of the challenges we face here in Greater Birmingham, it is important to remember we are on the cusp of a breakthrough in our economic fortunes.
“This will be fuelled by investment that is both planned and in progress that is on a scale that we have never seen before in our city region including investments in major infrastructure projects such as HS2 and New Street Station and landmark growth engines such as the M42 Economic Gateway.
“Furthermore, even in some bleak economic times, we can boast of some remarkable business success stories.
“The GBSLEP will, rightly, be judged by our ability to deliver this ambitious strategy and that we will need to develop and improve our delivery capacity.”
Sir Albert Bore, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “For the first time, the strategy has focused on the city region and been developed by local authorities, businesses, universities and other key stakeholders working together to explore ways in which we can all benefit from investment in economic growth.
“Work is still necessary to ensure a robust governance structure to deliver the step-change we need, but the Strategy for Growth provides the basis from which we can move forward.”
In order to ensure stakeholders and the public can monitor the progress of the Strategy for Growth, an online portal will be launched providing public access to the activity underpinning the plans.