West Midlands Combined Authority growth company scheme gets ministerial support

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) is to establish a growth company to promote the region around the world.

The growth company will help create new jobs, expand existing businesses and promote the region’s considerable business and tourism assets to secure investments from around the world.

It will also support delivery of the WMCA’s Strategic Economic Plan (SEP), which sets out the vision, objectives, strategy and actions to improve the quality of life of everyone who lives and works in the West Midlands.

Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Ministerial Champion for the Midlands Engine, welcomed the move.

He said: ““This new initiative will help the West Midlands showcase the economic opportunities it has to offer the rest the UK and the world.

It’s also a great example of how local leaders are using the significant powers we’re devolving from Westminster straight to the West Midlands.”

Cllr Bob Sleigh, chair of the WMCA said by joining forces across the region, the growth company presents a significant opportunity for the West Midlands.

“This is an important step towards delivering our aspirations for the region and how we will make the most of devolution,” he added.

“There will be many advantages in combining our tourism and investment offer across the region, demonstrating that a stronger West Midlands is not just good for local people and businesses, but the whole of the UK.”

Cllr John Clancy, leader of Birmingham City Council and WMCA portfolio lead member for economic growth said: “The region’s economy is already home to hundreds of globally competitive businesses, provides a strong foundation for growth, along with a wealth of universities, science parks and research institutes, and supported by high quality transport links.

“This growth company will ensure 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 businesses of the region to stimulate economic growth.

“Devolution presents a unique opportunity to change our region and focus on the issues that matter most to the people who live here.

“The growth company will leverage devolved powers and resources to deliver a stronger West Midlands, with a focus on creating jobs, infrastructure and inward investment.

The growth company is being established in association with local enterprise partnerships, local authorities, growth hubs, universities and the private sector across the WMCA region.

The WMCA commissioned Marketing Birmingham in July 2016 to develop a business case for the establishment of a growth company, which would help support delivery of a number of ambitious targets set out in the WMCA Strategic Economic Plan (SEP).

Since then, Marketing Birmingham and WMCA partners have worked together to present plans for a growth company which would be wholly owned by the WMCA and its constituent members, and would serve as a key delivery vehicle to promote the region’s considerable business and tourism assets and secure investments from around the world.

In partnership with LEPs, local authorities, growth hubs, universities and the private sector, the growth company would help create new jobs, expand existing businesses and attract new businesses and investment to the region.

Initially it will focus its core activities across the WMCA three-LEP geography of Greater Birmingham and Solihull, Coventry and Warwickshire and the Black Country.

Formation of the growth company was approved at a meeting of the WMCA board in Birmingham on March 3.

The WMCA is now in discussion with Marketing Birmingham about playing a central role in the growth company, with proposals scheduled to be finalised in spring 2017.

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