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Shadow Chancellor welcomes West Midlands Forum

Labour’s Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves MP has welcomed the launch of the West Midlands Forum to bring together key players from politics, business, academia and civil society to create a vision for the region and determine priorities for the next decade.

“Regions like the West Midlands need to speak with a strong, unified and authoritative voice. This new forum will bring together business, politics, trade unions, academia, faith leaders, the creative sector to make sure that voice is heard”, said Rachel Reeves when meeting with the region’s business leaders at the Edgbaston Priory Club.

“The West Midlands has a crucial role to play in leading the new green industrial revolution our country needs, and which a Labour government would support through a £28bn Climate Investment Pledge to bring the jobs of the future to all parts of the UK. I look forward to hearing more about this exciting and innovative project. It will have my full support.”

The launch of the West Midlands Forum comes as new analysis of the Budget shows the region losing out to other parts of the country:

  • The West Midlands has been awarded £216 million less than the North West in combined Levelling Up and Towns Fund money, coming just fourth overall in the UK

  • Awards of Levelling Up funds in the Budget for the West Midlands totaled just £33 per person – fifth in the UK, behind the East Midlands, Scotland, the North West and Yorkshire and Humberside

  • And transport funding per person was close to bottom of the league table for English regions.

  • The latest Oxford Economics baseline forecast to 2040 predicts the region’s economy will grow to £131bn by 2040, an average of 1.16% per year lagging the UK’s growth of 1.35%.

The Forum’s first report on the decade ahead for the region will be launched on Friday 14th January, followed by special reports on the creative economy and Green Manufacturing.

“It’s crystal clear our region has to step up the fight to get our fair share – and last week’s budget proved it. The frustration over the failure to establish a gigafactory to support our car industry is just one example of where the West Midlands is in danger of being forgotten. The West Midlands Forum will be both a think tank and a campaign." - Liam Byrne
"There is much to be excited about in the West Midlands, with the Commonwealth Games taking place next year, and the arrival of HS2. But our communities are still being sold short and as long as the Government continues to overlook the region, then much of our potential will remain unlocked." - Cllr Ian Ward
Cllr Jim O Boyle, co-chair said: “Coventry as the City of Culture has shown to the world just what we can achieve. We now need to work with our partners across the region to show that we can achieve so much more, especially in taking forward the green industrial agenda. This Forum will provide us with a new space to exchange our visions and priorities.”
"The West Midlands Forum will give a voice to our region on the national stage, and I look forward to collaborating with partners from business, academia and civil society to work towards a brighter future for us all.” - Cllr Ian Ward


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