The annual Birmingham Economic Review produced by City-REDI, University of Birmingham and the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce reveals that the region is well placed to counter ‘once in a generation’ events such as the energy crisis and make Birmingham the best location for business ambitions.
The report cites a number of challenges facing the business sector, including record numbers of firms under pressure to raise prices driven by energy costs and staff shortages. Meanwhile, the cost of living crisis is biting as inflation soared to 9.9 per cent in August, driven by price surges in food, energy and fuel.
Conversely the reports points to series of positives for the region. Skills attainment in the West Midlands continues to improve, and unemployment rates have decreased from pandemic highs. The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games brought in almost £800 million of public investment to the city and the wider region and promoted the region’s reputation as a leading destination for tourism, trade and investment.
On HS2, construction of the London to Crewe High Speed 2 route is well underway, with almost 25,000 jobs, over 800 apprentices and more than 2,400 UK-registered businesses already involved.
Meanwhile, on further investment in sustainable transport, the Department of Transport has confirmed a five-year, £1.05 billion City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement for the West Midlands Combined Authority, supporting further extension of the Metro, improvements to bus services, development of new rail stations, the improvement of local networks and other upgrades.
Latest available figures from the ONS show that Greater Birmingham contributed an estimated £52.6 billion in Gross Value Added (GVA) to the national economy in 2020, accounting for 3.1% of England’s total. In that year, GVA declined by 11.8% – a greater fall than London and other core English cities – as economic activity was significantly hampered by the pandemic and social restrictions.
Read the full review on the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce website.