Birmingham
and the Black Country falling behind the rest of England on key economic
indicators

Birmingham and the Black
Country (the local authority areas of Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and
Wolverhampton) are falling behind on
key economic indicators such as prosperity, productivity, employment
and skills, according to a new report.

The report will be
launched today in Parliament at an event chaired by Liam Byrne and
hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Inclusive Growth and the
All-Party Parliamentary Group on the West Midlands.

The findings of the report, produced by the think tank New Policy
Institute and supported by the Barrow Cadbury Trust include:

  • High homelessness: In
    Birmingham 20,000 families are waiting for a social rented home while each year
    only around 6,000 council and housing association homes become available.
  • High deprivation: Almost
    half of Birmingham and the Black Country’s small local areas are among the most
    deprived 20% in the country.
  • Low prosperity: Economic
    prosperity per person in Birmingham and the Black Country is 36% below the
    England average.
  • Low employment: Birmingham’s
    employment rate is 8 percentage points below Greater Manchester, despite
    similar populations and socio-economic conditions, and in the bottom decile of
    local authority areas nationally.
  • Low skills: 37%
    of Birmingham’s workforce and 42% of the Black Country’s lack even a
    basic NVQ2 (National Vocational Qualification), compared with 26% across
    England.
  • Low productivity: Labour productivity is
    a particular challenge for the Black Country Economy, which trails
    Birmingham by 9% and Coventry-Solihull by 20%.

Speaking on the findings of the report, Liam Byrne MP for Hodge Hill, host of
the event and potential Labour candidate for West Midlands Metro-Mayor, said: 

“This
underlines the moral emergency we face in our region. It is
disgraceful that here in what was the workshop of the world, we’re now
seeing a dire lack of skills and jobs, especially for young people. 

“Half our wards are in
poverty and where we do see growth, it is not being fairly shared. There may be
cranes in the skies of city centres but our homeless neighbours are sleeping in
doorways.

“It doesn’t need to be this
way, and that is why the West Midlands needs a Metro-Mayor that shares our
values of fairness and opportunity – and will be willing to stand up to the
brutal Tory cuts being imposed from Westminster.

“We need a bold new
economic vision for our region, one that leans into our history leading
the industrial revolutions of the steam age and the jet age. Our
region must now be a pioneer of the Green Revolution, which is
key to creating thousands of new, high-skilled, well-paid jobs.”

Notes to editors

  1. The event, The State of Economic Justice in
    Birmingham and the Black Country, will be held Wednesday 8 May 13.00-14.00, Room C, 1 Parliament Street 

Please RSVP to portera@parliament.uk

  • The New Policy institute report can
    be read in full here.
  • A summary of the report can be found here.