Local Enterprise Partnerships need to act to reinvigorate the private sector

Distilling machine CERAM Stoke-on-Tent

Weaknesses in the structure of the West Midlands economy mean that it was hit particularly hard by the recent recession and is likely to see further job losses over the next five years.

Our latest briefing paper (pdf, 408kb), produced as part of our West Midlands Skills Assessment 2010, reveals that the West Midlands has a weaker private sector than other parts of the country. The West Midlands has poorer representation of higher value added activities and high growth firms with the potential to create new, skilled jobs.

As a result the West Midlands has seen its share of jobs in the public sector rise more rapidly than anywhere else in the country. It is particularly vulnerable to job losses from the spending cuts announced by the government.

We forecast that West Midlands Gross Value Added (GVA) will grow by only 8% (£8.8 billion) between 2010 and 2015 and there will be a net fall in employment of more than 38,000 people.

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Local enterprise partnership proposals announced

56 proposals for local enterprise partnerships across the country have been submitted, the government has confirmed, following the closing day for submissions.

There are seven proposals from the West Midlands:

Three distinct responses in respect to cross boundary working arrangements have also been received from Peak District, South East England and West Leicestershire and Northern Warwickshire.

Here’s the full list of proposals.

Inward investment into the West Midlands 2009/10 – a local analysis

In 2009/10 there were 84 inward investment successes in the West Midlands and another four knowledge-based investments. These investments created over 1,500 new jobs and safeguarded another 4,300.

Although these 88 investments represented the lowest number of jobs created or safeguarded since 1992/93, they also represented the 7th highest total number of projects since 1991.

Pie chart shows 38 inward investments in West Midlands metropolitan areas and 49 inward investments in the shire counties over 2009 to 2010Inward investment is usually spread reasonably evenly between the West Midlands metropolitan areas and the shire counties. In 2009/10 the shire counties attracted the majority of inward investment projects (55%). See left.

However, the metropolitan areas of Birmingham, Coventry, Solihull, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton have attracted perhaps just over half of the projects over the years – see below. The number of jobs created and safeguarded also generally follows a similar pattern.

Stacked bar chart shows percentage of inward investments into West Midlands metropolitan areas versus shire counties between 1991 and 2010

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Solihull wins national award for cross-sector partnership work

Compact Week 2009 logo

The Compact Plus for Solihull was among the winners at this week’s national Annual Compact awards.

Sir Bert Massie, Commissioner for the Compact, announced the winners at a ceremony in London, held during Compact Week.

Solihull won the Local Compact of the Year award for its attempts to reinvigorate a Local Compact agreement that was largely ignored. The Compact Plus for Solihull 2008-2013 (pdf, 725kb), an agreement to improve relations between the Solihull Partnership and the third sector, was officially launched in December 2008.

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Future proofing rural communities in Warwickshire

Warwickshire Rural Community Council logoWarwickshire’s rural dwellers are being encouraged to move to the forefront of the battle to address climate change by creating a ‘cheaper, greener, more sustainable’ future for their countryside communities.

Warwickshire Rural Community Council (WRCC) says that, historically, rural communities have always been willing to embrace change and see the strong community spirit at the heart of many villages as key to their future success.

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Observatory collaborates with CSWP to develop new sub-regional strategy

cswp-logoThe Observatory is pleased to continue our long standing links with the Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire Partnership (CSWP) through a forthcoming project aimed at exploring future economic prospects for the sub-region.

We were commissioned in 2007 to deliver an initial economic assessment for CSWP. This report provided CSWP with a review of the strengths and weaknesses in the wider socio-economic environment for the sub-region as well as outlining future opportunities and threats.

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Latest gross disposable household income estimates indicate metropolitan West Midlands is UK’s poorest sub-region

Office for National Statistics logoThe 2007 Regional Gross Disposable Household Income (GDHI) (Word, 411KB) estimates are released today by the Office for National Statistics.

Indexed GDHI per head (where UK=100) for the West Midlands in 2007 was 90, stable in comparison to the revised 2006 index value of 90.

GDHI per head in the West Midlands rose from £12,700 in 2006 to £12,900 in 2007, an increase of 1.9%, in line with the increase seen in England and the UK.

Gross Disposable Household Income (GDHI) per head is preferred to Gross Value Added (GVA) per head as a measure of economic welfare.

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