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Region's Leaders Set Out Vision For A Golden Decade

Twenty-six leaders across the West Midlands have today, Monday 7th March, set out how with the right decisions the region can look forward to a ‘golden decade’ over the next ten years.

“The Golden Decade: How the West Midlands Powers Forward in the Ten Years to Come” is the first report from a new think tank, the West Midlands Forum (WMF), and is dedicated to the memory of former Erdington MP and WMF Co-Chair, Jack Dromey.

The book includes Jack’s final essay and crystallises a consensus that the region will need innovation, investment, partnership and community spirit if it is to thrive. The contributors include business people, academics, politicians and trade unionists argue for:

A mindset of ambition and collaboration A determination to lead the green creative digital revolution Sharing the fruits of progress to every community A region of incredible places

Margot James, the former Conservative Member of Parliament for Stourbridge and now executive chair of the Warwick Manufacturing Group says; “We must make the West Midlands the essential centre for the global manufacturing economy. Our towns and cities should be a welcoming home for world leading advanced manufacturing and engineering firms.” This she believes will create half a million new jobs.

Cllr Ian Ward, Labour leader of Birmingham City Council, outlines the plans to build on the regeneration created by the Commonwealth Games with projects which will bring billions of pounds into the city. But he cautions that “shiny new buildings alone will not be enough, and success cannot simply be measured on balance sheets. True success is about people.”

Former Liberal Democrat candidate for West Midlands Mayor, Beverley Nielsen urges the West Midlands to create a vision based on regional assets rather than simply slice up national data and become the centre of renewable net-zero energy and exporting bioenergy to other parts of the country.

Other contributors include: Ashley Bertie, CEO at the Independent Custody Visiting Association; Colleen Fletcher, Member of Parliament for Coventry North East; Ian Cooper, lecturer; Councillor Jim O’Doyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change on Coventry City Council; Martin Bailey, Manager Strategic Relations at the City of London Corporation; Martin Freer, director of the Birmingham Centre for Nuclear Education and Research; Pat McFadden, Member of Parliament for Wolverhampton South East; Simon Marks, CEO Arcadis; Tom McNeil, Assistant Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands; Adam Tranter, Cycling and Walking Commissioner for the West Midlands Combined Authority; Lucy Caldicott, founder of ChangeOut; Dame Julie Moore, director, 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games; Liam Byrne, Member of Parliament for Hodge Hill, Birmingham; Lee Barron, Regional Secretary of the Trades Union Congress; Ed Shedd, Royal Television Society; Colin Crane, CEO, Black Country Chamber of Commerce; Paul Thandi, CEO, NEC Group; Martin Sutherland, CEO Coventry City of Culture Trust, Jonathan Bloom, Head of Public Affairs, Galliard Homes; Carl Richardson, director of Richardsons and the late Jack Dromey, former Member of Parliament for Birmingham Erdington and to whom the book is dedicated.

Liam Byrne MP, who edited the book said.

“With the right decisions, the heart of Britain could be transformed over the decade that takes us from the City of Culture in 2021 and the Commonwealth Games in 2022, through to the first High Speed trains drawing into the region in the early 2030s.

“The West Midlands could be the power house of a green industrial revolution which would provide secure highly paid jobs, quality homes, beautiful public spaces, and prosperity for generations to come.

“This will need innovation, investment, partnership, and good old fashioned community spirit.

“This major collection of essays from leaders across the region sets out a wealth of perspectives on the decade ahead.

“As the world recovers from the pandemic and shoots for the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, the West Midlands of the United Kingdom has an unparalleled opportunity to become the global leader it deserves to be. This could well be, Our Golden Decade.

“We are very grateful to Richardsons for sponsoring the publication of this book and to HSBC for hosting the launch at their Birmingham HQ”.

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