Black Country business bosses hear of booming economy

Annual Black Country LEP Conference celebrates continued economic success.

On Thursday 21st March over 200 delegates from public and private sector organisations and businesses from across the Black Country joined the Black Country LEP for the Annual Conference at West Bromwich Albion Football Club.

Hosted by ITV Central’s Sameena Ali-Khan the conference was opened by Sarah Middleton, CEO Black Country Consortium Ltd and Stewart Towe, Chair of the Black Country LEP Board as they shared key progress from the annual Black Country Economic Review.

Highlights reported include:
• The Black Country Economy is at an eight-year high at £21.7 billion GVA (Gross Value Added).
• GVA per head continues to increase – £18,294 – and at a faster rate than England – 3.5% vs 2.9%.
• There are a record number of enterprises in the Black Country with the figure at 38,505.
• Resident wages are up with a 2.8% increase to an average £25,505.
• The Black Country workforce has reached a record high with 463,000 jobs across the area.
• Fewer people have no qualifications – a decrease from 19.5% to 15.6%.
• The employment rate has increased across the Black Country, at a faster rate than England – 3.2pp vs 0.9pp with the number of people not in education, employment or training below the national average – 5.6% vs 6.0% across England.
• The Black Country continues to see new homes – an increase of 2,500 this year to 493,000 – for the growing population which is expected to reach 1.2m this year.

Delegates had a chance to listen to a series of Spotlight Sessions, hosted by Black Country LEP Board Members, reporting on key economic topics covering: Energy & Brexit; Health, Employment and Skills; Black Country Garden City; Commonwealth Games 2022 and Culture; Competitiveness and the Black Country Growth Hub.
The event closed with an Open Forum inviting questions and answers across the Black Country LEP team before an opportunity to network with colleagues from across the area.

Stewart Towe, Chair of the Black Country LEP said: “Once again we have a hugely positive story to tell here in the Black Country and it is fantastic to be able to share this at a packed Annual Conference. I am delighted to report that the GVA and number of jobs in the Black Country are at an 8-year high, demonstrating how our economy continues to grow.”

For further information on the Black Country Economic Review, and progress to-date, download the full report from or join the debate online and follow @BlackCountryLEP #BCLEPConference19