Monthly Archives: September 2016

Bringing community wealth to Birmingham

cles anchor institutionsA ground-breaking Birmingham project aims to stop millions of pounds ‘leaking out’ of the city economy every year.

Birmingham City Council is joining forces with the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) and Barrow Cadbury Trust to look at how ‘anchor’ institutions can use their spending power to increase economic opportunities for all of Birmingham’s communities, businesses and citizens.

Anchor institutions, such as the local authority, hospitals, universities and housing providers are significant spenders in the local economy, with large annual budgets for staff, food, energy and other supplies and services.

Now, using an approach which is common in many North American cities and which CLES has piloted in Preston, the new partnership aims to help Birmingham’s anchor institutions use their spending power locally by identifying changes in behaviour around procurement and other processes that will benefit local businesses, people and communities.

Examining the economic power of these anchors, the project will analyse:

  • which goods and services are locally purchased;
  • which local people are employed and from which areas;
  • how land and property has the potential to create wealth which communities truly benefit from.

Birmingham City Council leader Cllr John Clancy said: “Our anchor institutions are already hugely important but they can play an even greater role in economic growth and prosperity. Birmingham contains significant existing wealth which needs to be harnessed more effectively for the benefit of our economy and people.”

Neil McInroy (Chief Executive) and Matthew Jackson (Deputy Chief Executive) of CLES said. “We know that this programme of work can bring real wealth and income benefits to communities and citizens.  We are absolutely thrilled to be working in Birmingham to deliver better social outcomes and local wealth creation through the collective progressive action of significant city anchors.  We have a lot of work to do.  But with the help of anchors, we can deliver at a scale not realised in the UK before.”

Sara Llewellin, Chief Executive of Barrow Cadbury Trust said: “The Trust has been pleased to see debate and practice on local economies grow in Birmingham in recent years.  This anchor institution work will build on a movement which is already strong within the city and help to explore how resources already flowing through the city can be better utilised for the good of all citizens.”

Notes to Editors:

Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) is the UK’s leading independent charitable research organisation with a focus on economic development, regeneration and place-making. CLES promotes action on progressive economic activities which create positive environmental, health and social outcomes. In all their work the relationship between place, economy and people is central.

For comment from CLES, contact Matthew Jackson, 0161 236 7036 and to view previous work undertaken by CLES in Preston see:

For comment from Birmingham City Council, contact Geoff Coleman on 0121 3033501

Barrow Cadbury Trust is an independent, charitable foundation, committed to bringing about socially just change.

Birmingham crowned Most Enterprising Place in Britain

Birmingham crowned this year’s ‘Most Enterprising Place in Britain’

  • Birmingham, Liverpool, Broxbourne and Kent win Enterprising Britain awards
  • The awards celebrate local initiatives to back business and growth
  • Birmingham and Liverpool of the winners will go on to compete in Europe-wide enterprise competition

Birmingham has been named the ‘Most Enterprising Place in Britain’ by the 2016 Enterprising Britain Awards.

The winning project saw Birmingham City Council team up with six Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) to improve confidence, encourage investment, and attract and retain business talent. It supported 1,000 businesses, generating £87 million in private sector investment and creating or safeguarding 4,300 jobs, as part of the ambitious plans to build a Midlands Engine for Growth.

Companies to benefit from the project include Westfield Sports Cars which accelerated production of a new prototype vehicle and Induction Technology Group which invested in new manufacturing equipment, leading to an increase in global sales.

Birmingham City Council leader John Clancy said:

“Birmingham is fantastic place to do business and this award shows that when we work together and invest in people, the city really can thrive.

“In partnership with the LEPs, the Business Support Package has been a huge success and it’s so rewarding to see businesses playing their part in boosting the city economy and that of the wider region.

“We’re supporting Birmingham’s natural creativity and entrepreneurial drive to create jobs, improve skills and give people across the city the opportunities they need and deserve.”

Saqbi Bhatti, Board Director, Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP Said:

“We are delighted that the success of the Business Growth programme has been recognised nationally, our work with Birmingham City Council, the six West Midlands LEPs has helped to foster an even stronger environment for start-ups. There is a great entrepreneurial spirit that exists within Greater Birmingham and Solihull and this programme has helped to provide the necessary conditions to improve entrepreneurial confidence, encourage investment and stimulate economic growth.”

Small Business Minister, Margot James said:

“We have 900,000 more small businesses than in 2010 and they have an important role to play in building an economy that works for all. It’s great to see the support available for business owners making a real difference and driving entrepreneurial spirit across the UK. These awards recognise the value of local support and show what can be achieved when people who know their community best make their own decisions. Congratulations to all four winners.”

Run by Investment in Young People (IiYP), on behalf of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Enterprising Britain awards celebrate local initiatives which boost business and growth.

Liverpool John Moores University, the Borough of Broxbourne Council and Kent International Business also won awards for building enterprise skills, promoting entrepreneurial spirit and supporting exports, respectively.

Birmingham City Council and Liverpool John Moores University will now go forward as the UK entries to the European Enterprise Promotion Awards.


Making Birmingham THE skills city

Councillor Brett O’Reilly, cabinet member for jobs and skills, talks about how we can all Step Forward to improve skills in the city.       Brett OReilly waist up 1                              

Skills levels in the Birmingham city region will have a major impact on future economic growth and we are facing a significant challenge to increase skills levels of those both in and out of work, not just to provide economic growth, but to pursue inclusive growth, that reaches out all citizens in all parts of our city, and ensuring that nobody is left behind.

The figures are stark and make uncomfortable reading. Nine per cent of Birmingham residents have no qualifications, compared to a core city average of five per cent. Just 57 per cent of Birmingham residents are qualified to level 3+ (A and AS level and equivilent) compared to 62 per cent for core cities.

So in order to mirror the core cities average we will need to ensure 11,000 of our working residents gain qualifications; get over 21,000 more employed residents qualified at level 3+; and nearly 14,000 more employed residents qualified at level 4+ (from HNC and equivalent).

But behind these statistics lies the story of what we are already doing as a city to improve things – and I deliberately say ‘city’ rather than ‘city council’, as we can only do this together. Other than in schools and adult education, the local authority is not a direct provider, so we need everyone who delivers or invests in skills and training to invest in a shared city-wide vision.

Despite significant cuts, there is still a significant amount of money spent on skills in the city but it needs to be spent intelligently. Our Skills Investment Plan sets out a vision and aspiration, looking to create 70,000 new jobs by 2020, having an employment rate of 67 per cent and a reduction of 15,000 people claiming welfare benefits.

There are a number of initiatives that will drive this forward, including the Birmingham Jobs Fund and the Youth Promise Plus, and today I have been at a careers event talking about Step Forward, which is an initiative that will promote the benefits of skills development for our workforce, both economically and socially.

Working in partnership with the public, private and third sectors, as well as the LEP, we will be campaigning directly with employers to encourage the upskilling of the workforce, co-ordinating support and guidance available so people can choose the right qualifications for the career paths they want to take; whether it is future proofing with transferable skills, or training for the emerging industries of the future, we are calling on everyone to Step Forward and make Birmingham THE skills city.