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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Heart of enterprise: West Midlands feature in the Guardian

guardian200812031Wednesday’s Guardian newspaper included a special supplement to the Society Guardian all about the West Midlands, Heart of enterprise. If you missed it, all of the articles are available online.

The supplement includes commentary by Ian Austin MP, who re-iterated points made during his inaugural speech as Regional Minister for the West Midlands at the Observatory’s annual conference back in October 2008.

There are also articles looking at how the region is being affected by the current economic situation and what steps are being taken to address the current challenges. Regeneration schemes in the Black Country, Birmingham and North Staffordshire are featured.

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Forthcoming research from the West Midlands Cultural Observatory

You may be interested to know about research currently being conducted at the West Midlands Cultural Observatory.

Over the next year, we will be producing three evidence papers which draw together what we know about the impact of culture on ‘prosperity’, ‘people’ and ‘place’ in the West Midlands. Not only will this help to inform regional policy, the aim is that the papers will also provide a useful reference tool for everyone in the sector needing to ‘make the case’ for culture.

The first paper to be developed will look at the economic impact of culture, building on Culture West Midland’s Growing the Cultural Economy in the West Midlands (2007) report. The 2007 study estimated that the region’s cultural sector accounts for:

  • 12.5% of the region’s Gross Value Added (from a total turnover of £18 billion p/a)
  • 10.1% of the region’s employment
  • 14.5% of businesses in the region

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