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West Midlands Levelling Up Growth Prospectus

Global West Midlands

(Trade & Investment)

The Challenge

As it stands, 55% of UK Foreign Direct Investment goes to London and the South East, and while FDI into the West Midlands has grown, it is not at the pace of these other areas. 

The West Midlands is also seriously compromised by the imbalance in funding between the English regions and the devolved nations – demonstrated by recent evidence that the Welsh Government is targeting WM companies to relocate. 

Moreover, less than 30% of international leisure tourists are aware of the WM offer (compared to 75% for London and 50% for Manchester); less than half of investment intermediaries are aware of the WM offer compared to nearly all for London and almost 80% for Manchester.

Progress So Far…

The Business and Tourism Programme (BATP) –designed and delivered in partnershipbetween the West Midlands Combined Authority, the West Midlands Growth Company, the Department for International Trade (DIT), VisitBritain and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) –is delivering the economic legacy of theBirmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

This is an innovative approach to delivering tourism, trade, and investment, which has never been delivered elsewhere in the UK, and has developed the region’s institutional capital significantly.

It’s expected that the Business and Tourism Programme will have a GVA impact of £53m and have created over 1,000 new jobs.

The Prize

A ‘Global West Midlands’ programme that builds on the Business and Tourism Programme to give the region the mandate and funding required to punch its weight on the global stage. Communities and supply chains in the West Midlands will also benefit from Foreign Direct Investment into the region, from increased trade opportunities, and businesses in the visitor economy.

Levelling Up Mission:

By 2030, pay, employment and productivity will have risen in every area of the UK, with each containing a globally competitive city, and the gap between the top performing and other areas closing. 

Our Proposal

We want to help the West Midlands recover and rebuild after the pandemic, creating more opportunities, better jobs and boosting living standards.

Our proposals will deliver a number of the government’s specific objectives – notably, attracting and retaining inward investment, supporting UK businesses to take full advantage of trade opportunities, global marketing of UK regions as tourist destinations, winning more international business events, and extending the season and length of stay for both domestic and international visitors. To achieve this, we propose that:

  • We co-design with Government a WestMidlands Internationalisation Strategy to deliver regional and national priorities, with the West Midlands Growth Company formally recognised as the de facto lead agency for Trade and Investment across theWest Midlands;
  • The Department for International Trade to become a shareholder of the WestMidlands Growth Company alongside WMCA, 7 local authorities and 5universities;
  • We implement the recommendations of the De Bois Review into destination management organisations;
  • We create a new regionally administered investment incentive fund drawn from the global Britain Investment Fund;
  • We deepen and formalise the relationship between the Office for Investment and West Midlands on capital investment outcomes;
  • We secure additional investment for the internationalisation of the Plan for Growth.

What We Hope to Achieve

We want the region to be more competitive, relative to the devolved administrations and international competition. We’ll do this through the allocation of incentive funding and the development of regionally targeted policies –such as sector/cluster focus programmes, supply chain growth and spatial regeneration priorities. Our proposals will:

  • Increase GVA and jobs in transformational sectors, in line with the West MidlandsOutcome Framework;
  • Boost regional exports (# firms exporting and volume) and narrow the trade deficit;
  • Increase GVA per hour and deliver economic growth across the region, providing financial support and expertise to potential exporters;
  • Increase the visitor economy;
  • Attract businesses to accelerate the NetZero transition, increase innovation and productivity in science and technology, and help make the West Midlands be the best place to start and grow a business;
  • Realise increased foreign direct investment in the region and growth in the number of projects and jobs landed.