Economic migrants

The subject of economic migrants and what benefits or problems they bring has not been quite as topical in recent months as it has been in the past.

The downturn in the economy and the weakening of the pound are assumed to discourage migration and to encourage economic migrants in the UK to think of returning home.

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Uncertainty over the future of regional cultural research

Chair of the Cultural Research & Intelligence Group and Chief Executive of Museums, Libraries & Archives (MLA) in the West Midlands, Jon Finch provides some insight into the current situation for regional cultural research:

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Climate change targets toughened up

Ed MilibandThe new Energy & Climate Change secretary Ed Miliband (pictured) has today announced that he is to accept the recommendations of the Committee on Climate Change to introduce a tougher target on Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions.

The report by the Committee recommended a new target of a reduction in GHG emissions of 80% per annum by 2050 strengthening the existing 60% target.

The West Midlands has the same 60% target to 2050 and is aiming for a 26-32% reduction by 2020 to demonstrate progress.

The revised target does not include aviation or shipping emissions.

Analysing deprivation indicators for the West Midlands

Today is Blog Action Day when thousands of bloggers unite to write about a single issue on the same day from their own angle. This year the issue is poverty.

In December 2007, we produced some analysis of the West Midlands’ performance on the Indices of Deprivation 2007, along with comparisons with the rest of England (PDF, 110KB).

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Mr Mind Maps comes to Birmingham

Tony Buzan, the innovative thinker behind influential concepts such as Mind Maps and Speed Reading, will speaking at the Thinktank, Millennium Point, in Birmingham on 6th November 2008. Tony Buzan was named in 1994 by Forbes magazine as one of five top international lecturers along with Mikhail Gorbachev, Henry Kissinger and Margaret Thatcher.

The event, organised by the Innovation Owners Network and supported by ContactKE, is free of charge (places limited). This is an exciting opportunity to hear from Tony Buzan and to learn more about existing and new ideas to advance, as well as support, developing new ideas.

For more details on the event and how to register, email Professor Adrian Cole at

Observatory annual conference a roaring success

Well, our conference is over for another year – and what a conference it was! A packed Royal Court Hotel enjoyed speeches from our new regional minister, Ian Austin, as well as Professor Carl Chinn and Professor Alan Harding.

Left to right: Richard Hyde (Chair of the Observatory), Ian Austin MP (Minister for the West Midlands), Rosie Paskins (Chief Executive of the Observatory)

Ian Austin (centre) launched the Observatory’s State of the Region 2008 report, saying:

“Through the State of the Region process it is good to see that the West Midlands Regional Observatory is putting in place practical measures to bring policy makers and research experts together.”

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West Midlands Regional Integrated Economic Assessment published

Map of West Midlands regionThe West Midlands is the first English region to produce a Regional Integrated Economic Assessment. The aim of the project is to provide an assessment of the performance of the West Midlands’ economy and of the factors which contribute to it. It also assesses the relative position of the different parts of the region.

The Assessment is made up of:

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