Radical plans to transform and level up the east of Birmingham have been announced at a recent event sponsored by BECG.
The event, held jointly with Birmingham City Council and the West Midlands Forum, saw the Leader of Birmingham City Council, Ian Ward and West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street, announce their plans to seek investment from Government to level up the east of the city, one of the most deprived communities in the UK.
As the evening kicked off, Chair, Liam Byrne MP called this the ‘region of revolutionaries’ and it was clear from the comments of every speaker that the time for revolution is now.
Councillor Ian Ward said:
You cannot level up the UK without levelling up Birmingham and you can not level up Birmingham without levelling up east Birmingham.
East Birmingham and neighbouring north Solihull have a population of over 250,000 people – larger than cities such as Derby and Southampton. Yet for decades, the area has been held back by health inequalities, relative poverty, and unemployment.
The Council Leader was clear that this new opportunity to level up east Birmingham was about jobs. Councillor Ward said the plans will include “a levelling up zone to accelerate growth, an early intervention and prevention approach and funding for schools and skills”. The bid to Government will be submitted in the coming months, which if successful, could help the city to generate ‘an additional £9billion of economic growth and create 75,000 jobs.’
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said it was because of the region’s political stability, that they had ‘earnt the right to a trail-blazer devolution deal’. The Mayor outlined the vision to create new opportunities for the local community, creating a transport solution that enabled people to access work and upskilling local people in the industries of the future.
Using the example of the Commonwealth Games as the blueprint for future success, Andy Street said:
There is a message, by working together we can achieve something brilliant. That’s the spirit we must take into the bigger challenge of levelling up our city.
BECG’s Birmingham Director, Adam Farrell said:
This event brought together the private sector, the public sector, and the voluntary sector to launch the next phase of major investment in the city.
The message from the evening was that it is only through collaboration; between business and local government; between local government and Whitehall; and in partnership with communities that we can really achieve the best outcomes for the city. The ambition of local politicians has never been greater and their willingness to work with colleagues in the private sector to build a better built environment is clear.
The opportunity in Birmingham is huge and through partnership working, it genuinely is possible to level up the city.