A Greater Birmingham for a Greater Britain
A public consultation on the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership’s (GBSLEP) Strategic Economic Plan 2016-2030 has opened today (Friday 29 July).
A Greater Birmingham for a Greater Britain aims to lay the foundation for creating long-term economic prosperity, supporting local people and improving their quality of life.
As well as leveraging the unique opportunity presented by HS2, the plan includes targets to create an additional 250,000 private sector jobs, increase the percentage of the working age population educated to NVQ3+, reduce unemployment levels to that of similar regions and increase productivity to the national average – all by 2030.
The plan highlights the priorities of becoming a world leader in innovation and creativity and harnessing the potential of key areas of strength including in high value manufacturing, transport and energy. It takes advantage of the area’s global connections and the transformational opportunity presented by HS2 as crucial to increasing exports and inward investment. The third planned priority is about creating stronger conditions for growth to address the barriers that could otherwise hold back the region’s potential.
The LEP has worked closely with local authorities, the private sector, higher and further education institutions to create the plan. It is a key component of the West Midlands Combined Authority’s (WMCA) shared plan ‘Making Our Mark’, which aims to make the West Midlands the best place in the UK to do business.
Steve Hollis, Deputy Chair for Strategy, GBSLEP, said: “The transformation in our economy is clear – we are leading the way for inward investment, business start-ups and job creation. And we believe our track record of delivery means that we have earned the right to be bold. In this Strategic Economic Plan we are raising our game. Our vision is for Greater Birmingham to take its place amongst the global elite to become a truly global city by 2030.”
The plan aims to build on the achievements of Greater Birmingham. In 2014/15 the GBSLEP helped attract 73 foreign direct investment projects– nine per cent more than any other LEP in the country. There were more than 20,200 new businesses created in the LEP region in the past five years, fuelling 85,200 additional private sector jobs. The region has continually outperformed the UK’s national growth average from 2011.
“Skills and productivity remain the biggest challenges and barriers to growth for the region”, added Mr Hollis.
“Despite the efforts of all partners over a long period of time, we have not delivered against our targets and we know that a bold new approach is required. We need to significantly raise our working age skills and employment levels and to tackle the persistent rates of high unemployment in some parts of Birmingham and north Solihull.”
Feedback is sought from stakeholders across the region, including individuals, businesses, educational institutions, social enterprise, the voluntary sector and local authorities. The LEP Board is particularly interested to hear views on the vision for Greater Birmingham; the core and strategic priorities; the key areas of focus and the skills challenge facing the region. A survey has been created and can be found at www.centreofenterprise.com/sep2016
All views and feedback will be integral to shaping the final plan, which will inform all future investment decisions in the future.
The consultation ends on September 9. The final SEP will be published in the autumn.