Greater Birmingham & Solihull heads growth league

Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership named top core city LEP for economic growth.

Greater Birmingham & Solihull has been revealed as the top core city LEP for economic growth, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The latest sub-regional data shows a 4.7% growth increase in the city region’s economic output between 2014-15 to £44.5billion – this is higher than London’s growth of 3.2% and well above the national average of 2.6%. Greater Birmingham & Solihull’s GVA per head, the average contribution from each individual, also improved by 4%, outperforming London (1.6%) and making it the fastest growing core city LEP for this measure.

The results reflect Greater Birmingham’s rising position as a centre for business and investment. Sectors that experienced the largest growth include financial and insurance services and construction; boosted by the delivery of major projects including the £600 million redevelopment of New Street Station, £50m Mailbox refurbishment and the opening of the £150 million Resorts World. Beyond high growth markets, 90% of the sectors measured in the GVA report enjoyed growth, including the region’s burgeoning manufacturing and real estate industries. Solihull experienced particularly strong growth of 8.2% with 5.1% in Birmingham, both well above the national average..

These figures indicate that the GBSLEP is making headway to increase GVA by £29bn and become the leading core city LEP for GVA per head by 2030. Launched through the region’s own ‘Industrial Strategy’, its Strategic Economic Plan in 2016, the LEP’s targets set out to reach and exceed national GVA averages, drive economic growth in Greater Birmingham and make significant contributions to the targets of the West Midlands Combined Authority, the Midlands Engine and the UK as a whole.

Steve Hollis, Chair of the GBSLEP, said: “These figures are testament to the ability of the public and private sector in the region to deliver on ambitious growth plans and drive the economy through collaboration. The GBSLEP and its partners have worked hard to create strong conditions for growth, something that has galvanised key sectors including professional services and construction, sectors that are instrumental in spurring business and investment activity and creating a truly global city region.

“Looking ahead, the GBSLEP is focused on maintaining confidence and building on this momentum, especially in key areas such as innovation and creativity, as well as fortifying our global connections – beginning in leveraging the benefits of HS2 which gained the Royal Assent last week. Greater Birmingham is strongly positioned to increase its global competiveness and play a leading role in the UK’s future growth.”

The ONS figures follow a number of strong results for the GBSLEP, which in the same year – 2014/15 – was named the UK’s leading LEP for foreign direct investment after attracting 73 new FDI projects, from investors including Jaguar Land Rover, KPMG and Amazon. Recently, Birmingham has been recognised for its rising position on global city rankings, being dubbed as an ‘International Middleweight’ alongside Melbourne and Tel Aviv by the World Economic Forum.

Councillor John Clancy, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “This is a fantastic result for Greater Birmingham. The region has really made its mark in the last few years for outstanding economic growth, but has also managed to sustain this upward trajectory and continued to increase its position on the global stage. This success is down to the strong partnerships between business, the public sector and further and higher education.

“It has never been more important for city regions to be given devolved powers to control their own destiny and make local decisions that benefit local people, and Greater Birmingham is already making immense progress. We’re seeing record levels of business and investment activity and this is only set to increase further over the coming months.”