The West Midlands Combined Authority’s Strategic Economic Plan (SEP), launched today, is the blueprint for the region making its mark regionally, nationally and internationally.
The SEP lays out how the area’s economy can be transformed over the next twenty years, creating 500,000 new jobs, increasing life expectancy, having access to 1.9 million new homes, driving up productivity and skills transforming the region’s prosperity and wellbeing.
The SEP has been developed and agreed by a wide partnership of people, organisations and businesses who share a pride in, and ambition for, an area with unique assets, challenges and opportunities. It recognises that a stronger West Midlands is not just good for its residents and businesses but also for the UK economy.
Devolution offers the area a once in a lifetime opportunity for transformation, a chance to focus on the issues that matter most to residents – jobs and homes alongside wellbeing and prosperity.
Innovation will play a crucial role in increasing productivity and reforming public services, and people of all ages will be given access to the best education and training, along with improved housing.
The SEP’s vision sees the area becoming home to the biggest concentration of advanced manufacturing in Europe, while at the same being crowned the world leader in low carbon technology and life sciences.
Councillor Bob Sleigh, Chair of the Shadow West Midlands Combined Authority Board, said:
“Our SEP is the blueprint for a region reborn. It ensures resources are focused in the right places at the right times to deliver fast, flexible and dynamic change in the areas that matter most to the people and firms of the region.
“Our economic growth will be underpinned by the arrival of HS2; developments at Birmingham Airport and improved regional connectivity, which will include the introduction of new metro links.”
“The region is well placed to make the most of opportunities offered by devolution. We have Birmingham city centre at our heart, the two cities of Coventry and Wolverhampton, all complemented by the surrounding towns, villages and countryside with their own unique characteristics, strong identities and cultural assets.
“Our SEP is an ambitious plan, but no less than the area needs and our people deserve.”
Andy Street, Chair of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, said:
“The West Midlands is already home to hundreds of globally competitive businesses and have world renowned universities, science parks and research institutes, all supported by rail, road and air links.
“All of this provides a strong foundation for growth.
“However, this is not enough. To create the safe, prosperous communities our people want, we need to compete nationally and internationally.
“We need to continue to transform our economy, better educate our people; find ways to deliver world class public services across the region and reach out across the UK and the world, to trade and do business.
“Through the LEPs the business community will play a leading role in our Combined Authority. Such collaboration will help guarantee our economic success.”