Blog Archives

Birmingham ranks as leading English city outside London for quality of life

Birmingham skyline

  • Birmingham retains its position in Mercer’s global Quality of Living Index
  • City ranks as leading UK destination outside London in new ‘City Infrastructure’ ranking

Birmingham has been ranked as having the highest quality of life of any English city outside of the capital, by the global Mercer Quality of Living Report 2017.

Released today (Tuesday 14 March), the survey places Birmingham jointly with Glasgow in 53rd out of 231 global destinations. The city is placed ahead of international hotspots such as Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Miami and Dubai.

Mercer’s survey this year also includes an independent ‘City Infrastructure’ ranking, which places Birmingham jointly alongside Edinburgh and Glasgow, as the top UK cities outside London for the quality of their infrastructure. This ranking examines important factors such as transportation, electricity and water supply and the range of international flights available from local airports.

John Clancy, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “The fantastic quality of life in Birmingham is increasingly recognised, not just in this country but around the world. From our renowned Michelin-starred restaurants, to an unrivalled cultural offer with gems like the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Birmingham Royal Ballet, plus international sporting events, this city has something for everyone.

“The number of foreign visitors has doubled in just three years, and we are the most popular destination for Londoners wishing to make a new life outside of the capital. Add to this, a business growth rate higher than all UK cities, an economic growth rate of 13.5% in the past five years, and 10,000 new homes planned for the city centre, and it is obvious that Birmingham is becoming a destination of choice.”

The news on Birmingham’s ranking follows a wave of record figures for the city’s visitor economy. Birmingham’s hotel sector saw its most successful year in history, with hotel occupancy peaking at 99% and averaging at 75% during 2016. Whilst the Birmingham Perception Survey 2016*, revealed Birmingham has witnessed the greatest improvement in perceptions of all major UK cities in the last 12 months. Data from Marketing Birmingham’s Regional Observatory** also demonstrated the proportion of both international visitors and overnight visitors to the city have doubled in the last three years.

The same level of confidence is reflected in Birmingham’s physical landscape, reinforcing Mercer’s City Infrastructure ranking.  A rise in new and relocating businesses has seen office construction in the city reach its highest level in more than 13 years. Last year, 969,000 sq ft of office space was under construction – a significant boost from the city’s 10-year average figure of 384,000 sq ft.

Neil Rami, Chief Executive of Marketing Birmingham, added: “This is an encouraging report, reflecting the increasingly positive sentiment towards Birmingham as a place to live, visit and invest in. Lower living costs are tempting more and more people to live in Birmingham, and more businesses – from ambitious start-ups to global names like HSBC and PwC – to relocate or grow here.

“Essential to the quality of life in Birmingham is advancements in the city’s infrastructure and transport. Birmingham witnessed a 10-fold increase in the construction of residential schemes last year, whilst office construction is at a 13 year high. Expansion plans for Birmingham Airport and the city’s Metro lines, and the major plans surrounding the city’s High Speed Two line, are improving Birmingham’s connectivity, making the city an even more attractive proposition”.

Birmingham’s quality of living will prove a major selling point at MIPIM 2017 – an international real estate show attended by the property sector’s influencers, investors and decision makers. Beginning today, MIPIM will welcome Birmingham as part of a wider ‘Midlands UK’ delegation, which will showcase the region’s offer to some 23,000 delegates.

Ian Stringer, Regional Senior Director at GVA, who is part of the Midlands UK MIPIM delegation, added: “Birmingham has undergone a massive transformation in the last decade, particularly in the eyes of visitors who are increasingly being drawn to the city to witness what all the fuss is about. There is also a virtuous circle of major businesses relocating to the city, such as Deutsche Bank, HS2 and HSBC, and the highest number of business start-ups recorded anywhere is the UK.

“Birmingham’s current success is a direct result of people coming to see the city for themselves, rather than drawing upon outdated views of the city’s industrial past. There is now a vibrant Birmingham ‘lifestyle’ developing which is inclusive and multi-cultural. The city boasts a diverse range of events and festivals – at the same time, a restaurant revolution is currently hitting the city with a huge range of culinary offers, giving Birmingham’s record number of visitors even more to experience”.


Mercer produces worldwide quality-of-living rankings annually from its Worldwide Quality of Living Surveys. Individual reports are produced for each city surveyed. Moreover, comparative quality-of-living indexes between a base city and host city are available, as are multiple-city comparisons. Details are available from Mercer Client Services in Warsaw, at +48 22 434 5383 or at

* Marketing Birmingham has conducted the Perception Survey since 2005 to provide market intelligence on perceptions of Birmingham as a place to visit, do business and as a place for businesses to relocate to.

**The Regional Observatory Team provides data, intelligence and analysis to inform the work of Marketing Birmingham, Birmingham City Council, the GBSLEP and the new West Midlands Combined Authority.

Midlands region unites on unprecedented scale at MIPIM 2017

  • Midlands area comes together under one roof to showcase £14billion worth of investment opportunities at global property exhibition
  • Area supported by nearly 50 private and public sector partners, including Department for International Trade (DIT)

A Midlands-wide delegation – featuring ten Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas and 49 private and public sector partners – will exhibit together for the first time at the global property and real estate show MIPIM (Cannes, France, 14th-17th March).

Working collaboratively in a dedicated pavilion, the Midlands Engine delegation is the largest of its kind to represent the UK at this year’s event. The region will showcase more than £14billion worth of projects and investment sites to the annual exhibition’s 23,000 attendees – from potential investors and developers to property agents and the media. Themes will range from the opportunities surrounding the Midlands’ connectivity offer – including the new High Speed 2 rail network – to the region’s Enterprise Zones, housing and commercial schemes.

Destination partners include Greater Birmingham (Birmingham, Solihull and the Black Country); Coventry City Council, Warwickshire County Council and Coventry & Warwickshire LEP; D2N2 (Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire); Lincoln & Lincolnshire; Leicester City Council and Leicester & Leicestershire LEP; SEMLEP; Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire; Telford & The Marches; and Worcestershire.

The inaugural 200m² Midlands UK pavilion will contain an event space – featuring a programme of up to 50 presentations, panel discussions and receptions – and a networking area, plus separate sections for each destination partner.

Sir John Peace, Chairman of the Midlands Engine, said: “The Midlands is coming together on an unprecedented scale at MIPIM to attract even more investment from around the world. The Midlands Engine is working hard to accelerate growth across the whole region and Local Authorities, LEPs and businesses are all collaborating to bring this ambition to fruition. MIPIM is always a success for our region and this year we have more exciting investment opportunities than ever before. For the first time, a brand new Midlands Pavilion will showcase the wide range of investment opportunities across the region, demonstrating to investors around the world that the Midlands is open for business and can offer a global proposition.”

The region’s presence is being coordinated by inward investment agency Marketing Birmingham, together with the Department for International Trade (DIT) and partners including transport hubs Birmingham Airport and East Midlands Airport, automotive giant Jaguar Land Rover and the Midlands Enterprise Universities group.

Cllr John Clancy, Leader of Birmingham City Council, commented: “Interest and confidence in Birmingham is booming – shown by a significant increase in office and residential construction and the highest rate of business growth of any UK city in 2016.

“Last year’s MIPIM exhibition put Birmingham firmly in the spotlight, with landmark announcements surrounding the city’s multi-million pound Paradise, Smithfield and Snowhill developments.

“As part of a united presence this year with our colleagues from across the Midlands, we will be demonstrating to global investors that Birmingham has a huge range of options for big capital investment in regeneration schemes such as Curzon to smaller shovel-ready projects.”

The Midlands region covers 18.4% of the UK population and an economy worth £243billion. It contains two core cities, 12 million people, 25 universities, 25 science parks and three international airports. In the last five years, the Midlands area has received over 1,130 Foreign Direct Investment projects, creating over 62,800 new jobs.

Birmingham Smithfield video

Video used to sell our city at MIPIM last week.

Birmingham Smithfield to create a new place at the heart of the city, attracting millions of visitors and over £500 million of investment

  • The ten year plan will see the redevelopment of 14 hectares of prime city centre land
  • The site will deliver over 300,000 sq. metres of floorspace, 2,000 new homes and 3,000 new jobs, adding £470 million GVA to the local economy and attracting millions more visitors to the region
  • The plan will see the creation of a sustainable and inclusive place that includes new cultural and leisure attractions, vibrant retail markets and a new residential offer.
  • The launch of the plan marks the start of extensive public consultation as the city seeks to deliver a legacy development

Find out more