Liam Byrne has today called on government to urgently release new investment for the West Midlands as a new analysis revealed job losses in the region may rise by 40% next year. 

 

The numbers issued by Byrne, take the latest unemployment forecasts by the Office of Budget Responsibility last week and break them down on a regional basis. They imply that unemployment may rise by 60,000 in the region next year.  

 

Despite the looming jobs crisis, the Government has failed to set out any details for its new Shared Prosperity Fund which is supposed to replace European Union funding for the country’s most deprived communities next year.

 

The special fund is supposed to be worth £1.5 billion a year and replaces the European Regional Development Fund and European Skills Fund which funds back to work schemes in places like Birmingham.

 

The new Shared Prosperity Fund was promised to support “places most in need across the UK, such as ex-industrial areas, deprived towns and rural and coastal communities” along with “people most in need.”

 

But in the Budget last week the Government said plans for the fund will not now be published until Spring next year - and that investment proposals will not need any sign off from Elected Mayors, Combined Authorities, other local authorities or Local Economic Partnerships.

 

The news follows a host of delays in the West Midlands, where:

  • The Tory Mayor has failed to secure a staggering 95% of the money requested from Boris Johnsons Government to help keep the region working. 
  • £123 million of projects - that could have helped create 7,500 local jobs in the West Midlands - have been delayed.  

 

 

Liam Byrne MP, Shadow Mayor for the West Midlands said:

 

‘After all the sacrifices we’ve made this year, it is unacceptable for government to stand by and let the reward for thousands of people be a life on the dole.

 

‘We have the potential in our region to become the green workshop of the world, making the electric vehicles, zero-carbon railways and zero carbon jets of the future. But we need investment to make this happen.

 

‘Because we’re losing European money, the government promised to fill the gap. Well we can see the job losses coming down the track - but we can’t see the investment required to fix it.

 

‘It just one more bit of evidence that shows why we need a Mayor who stands up for the region - not just stands by’.

 

ENDS

 

West Midlands Unemployment Forecasts for 2021

Forecaster

Office of Budget Responsibility 

Bank of England

NIESR

IMF

Oxford

HMT Consensus

Forecast Unemployment Rate (2021)

6.8%

6.7%

7.6%

7.4%

5.4%

7.2%

Forecast Unemployment Rate (2021)

2,300,000

2,266,176

2,570,588

2,502,941

1,826,471

2,435,294

UK-wide LabourForce

33,823,529

33,823,529

33,823,529

33,823,529

33,823,529

33,823,529

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

West Midlands current share of national unemployment

8.9%

8.9%

8.9%

8.9%

8.9%

8.9%

Implied future West Midlands   unemployment in 2021

204,700

201,690

228,782

222,762

162,556

216,741

Current West Midlands Unemployment

145,000

145,000

145,000

145,000

145,000

145,000

Implied rise in West Midlands Unemployment (#)

59,700

56,690

83,782

77,762

17,556

71,741

Implied % rise in West Midlands Unemployment (%)

41%

39%

58%

54%

12%

49%