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Greater Birmingham launches plan to create 250,000 jobs by 2030

Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Economic Partnership (GBSLEP) has launched a strategy to add £29bn to Greater Birmingham’s economy by 2030, aiming to create 250,000 private sector jobs and make the region the major driver of the UK economy outside London.

GBSLEP’s new plan, the ‘Strategic Economic Plan 2016-2030’ – an update on previous targets set in 2013 – outlines how the LEP is aiming to make Greater Birmingham a global city-region in line with the ambitious goals set by the newly established West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) which combines seven West Midlands councils.

The plan includes taking greater advantage of Birmingham’s global connections through expanding Birmingham Airport and the arrival of HS2; making Birmingham a world leader in innovation and creativity; and addressing the region’s stubbornly high unemployment rate, which is currently over 8%.

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.”

The Strategic Economic Plan looks to exploit Greater Birmingham’s growing strengths in the life sciences and as one of the largest professional and financial centres outside of London, along with its traditional fortes in advanced manufacturing and engineering.

The GBSLEP has previously delivered its £379m Growth Deal, currently funding a range of transport, housing and skills projects across the area, and the £275 million Enterprise Zone Investment Plan which aided the redevelopment of Birmingham’s Paradise civic centre.

“To continue the economic renaissance of Greater Birmingham, it is vital to invest in our future,” Hollis added. “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.”

The agreement was welcomed by the leader of Birmingham City Council, Cllr John Clancy, who called the plan the “blueprint” for Birmingham’s own regional industrial strategy, a particularly vital need in a post-Brexit landscape.

He said:  With Brexit igniting an even greater need to be known globally as a place to do and grow business … 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 [Greater Birmingham’s] 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.”

The GBSLEP will now work with its partners, including the WMCA, to devise an implementation plan for the delivery of the Strategic Economic Plan in the New Year.

(Image: Birmingham skyline c. Steve N)

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