A Common Wealth for Birmingham?
Posted on Monday, June 18, 2018 by Venn Group — No comments
Let’s start with the positives. At the back end of last year we finally received the news that Birmingham had been named host city for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, the most expensive sports event to be held in Britain since the London Olympics. But will this help the city? An estimated £180 million needs to be raised by a council already heavily in debt although the government have agreed to foot 75% of the bill. 82% of Brummies believe the games will boost jobs, investments and increase our international standing which will surely be worth the investment.
A more negative development this month was the announcement that Jaguar Land Rover is to transfer all production of the Discovery model from Solihull to Slovakia. This came on the back of an announcement in April that 1,000 jobs would be lost at JLR nationally due in part to the decline in diesel car sales which seems set to continue. Although in the short to medium term the situation looks testing, the upgrade of the Solihull plant to build electric models will hopefully help cement the importance of the plant internationally for the firm.
It’s impossible to look forward without using the term “Brexit”. The CBI President, Paul Drechsler, has warned there was “zero evidence” that trade deals outside the EU would be of any economic benefit to the UK, and said the car industry in particular would suffer without “real frictionless trade” post-Brexit. Current data seems to suggest that Brexit may help exports and the trend since the referendum result shows impressive results. In the year up to March 2018 export activity in the region rose by 7.6% from the previous year, granted the biggest importer is the EU.
Tourism in the city continues to rise with record numbers of people visiting, boasting jobs linked to tourism and revenue generated, and this increase is set to continue in the run up to 2022. Within Financial Services we now employ up to 50,000 people which includes the headquarters of HSBC’s retail arm. Overall the region now has 100,000 more people employed than this time last year which is an excellent achievement. The West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street summed up the situation by saying “a huge amount of work still needs to be done but we are making great progress in the region and people are starting to sit up and take notice. Now we need to keep up the progress”.
Greg Jones - Associate Director, Birmingham