Future of the West Midlands

The future of the West Midlands reportAt the end of January, I attended and spoke at an interesting event to launch a new report The Future of the West Midlands (pdf, 361kb).

The Smith Institute, an independent social and economic research think tank based in London, organised the event.

The report aims to raise the level of debate about the future of the West Midlands and highlight what policy changes are needed to make a real and lasting difference to the region.

With the forthcoming reforms to regional and local government through the sub national review, this debate is very timely and gains an added significance.

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Keynote address at Observatory conference by “the most powerful person in the West Midlands”

Liam Byrne

Liam Byrne

Liam Byrne MP, Minister for the West Midlands, was announced as the most powerful person in the West Midlands on Friday of last week according to the Birmingham Post’s “Power 50” list.

Liam will give the key-note address at the Observatory’s annual conference on 13th October 2008, launching the State of the Region synthesis report and focusing on the importance of a robust evidence base for the region’s strategies – particularly the forthcoming Integrated Regional Strategy.

Julia King, the Vice-Chancellor of Aston University (herself number 3 on the “Power 50”) will form part of a panel of experts who will answer questions from delegates in the morning session. The panel also includes Cllr Roger Phillips, Brian Woods Scawen, Mike Beasley and Tracey O’Brian.

Places cost just £60 and are limited in number – so book your place now!

Has Liam Byrne got it right?

Liam Byrne MP

Today in his “One year on” speech, the regional minister Liam Byrne returned to his theme of increasing the number of graduates produced by the West Midlands.

What evidence there is that the planned increase in graduate supply is matched by demand for them from employers is one of the issues that will be explored in the graduate research work about to be published by the Observatory.