Inward investment: record high for West Midlands

In the period 2008 to 2009 the West Midlands region received 117 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects, a record high since records began in 1991 (shown by the blue line in the graph below).

Bar chart shows increase in foreign direct investment into the West Midlands between 1991 and 2009

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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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West Midlands rural areas hit particularly hard by recession

Aerial shot of rural WorcestershireThe Observatory’s Skills Team are working on an assessment of skills and labour market issues in the rural areas of the West Midlands on behalf of the Regional Skills Partnership and the Rural Affairs Forum.

While we expect to publish in April 2009, we can report now on emerging findings relating to the impact of the recession.

Rural areas of the West Midlands have out-performed the rest of the region in recent years in terms of business growth, new business formation and employment growth.

However, there remains a significant dependence on lower value added sectors and industries such as agriculture, manufacturing industries such as food and drink, construction, hotels and catering, and transport.

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Migrant workers mini scenarios in Wychavon

Hop field in WorcestershireWychavon District Council have produced a set of mini scenarios looking at the possible impact on the economy and local communities of changes in the numbers of migrant workers coming to Wychavon.

The new report suggests that:

…the public and private sector will have to work to attract migrants to the area in the face of stiff competition from other parts of the UK, in particular Kent and the South East. In order in particular for our farming and food production to prosper, conditions have to be attractive to potential employees.

The full report, executive summary and data appendix are available:

These new scenarios build on Wychavon’s 2004 study on the extent, size and characteristics of the migrant workforce in the Vale of Evesham (pdf, 364kb).

There is also an interview with Councillor Audrey Steel where she discusses the report’s findings, the changes in Wychavon since 2004 and how new evidence presented in the mini scenarios is helping decision making.

Making information more accessible

InstantAtlas maps

InstantAtlas maps

How to make complex information available to a wider audience and how to make it more easily understand? Those were questions being considered in Coventry this week.

On Tuesday 20th January, Coventry City Council hosted a meeting designed to share ideas on how regional partners were using software to make their information more readily available.

The main focus of the event was Geowise’s InstantAtlas tool, which is used by many public sector organisations to provide a nice clear visual interpretation of the data they hold.

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West Midlands local development annual monitoring reports

The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 requires local planning authorities to regularly monitor planning policies that affect the planning and development of their areas.

Each council is required to produce an Annual Monitoring Report which is published in December to assess the effectiveness of policy in the Local Development Framework.

These show whether the progress towards targets and milestones in the Local Development Framework are being met and whether council planning policies are being successfully implemented. If policies are not working as intended – or are not achieving sustainable objectives – the Annual Monitoring Report includes suggested actions.

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West Midlands produced 3rd strongest regional growth in England, according to latest GVA per head figures

Land Rover production lineThe 2007 Regional and 2006 Sub-Regional Gross Value Added (GVA) data are released today by the Office for National Statistics. Indexed GVA per head (where UK=100) for the West Midlands in 2007 was 86.0, a marginal decrease from the revised 2006 index value of 86.1. GVA per head in the West Midlands rose from £16,300 in 2006 to £17,200 in 2007, an increase of 5.3% compared to a 5.3% increase in GVA per head across the UK, and a 5.4% increase in England.

In the latest data for 2007 the West Midlands in regards to GVA per head is ranked seventh amongst the nine English regions, where London is the strongest performer at £30,400 and the North East is the least strong at £15,700. In total, regional GVA for the West Midlands in 2007 was £92.4bn, an increase of £4.9bn on the revised figures for 2006.

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