Zero Youth Unemployment
Zero young people will be unemployed or not in skills training
Youth unemployment remains a major challenge for the West Midlands with 4.4% of 18 to 24 year-olds claiming unemployment benefit across the region compared to 2.6% nationally.
In recent months, youth unemployment has fallen. In Birmingham, the numbers of young people not in work, education or training has reduced, with 6,000 fewer young people unemployed compared to three years ago. Coventry and Walsall are also seeing significant reductions.
However, 14,000 unemployed young people is still too many and represents a major loss of talent to the region.
To address this, Andy intends to:
- Establish a taskforce to understand and address the barriers preventing young people from accessing and taking up opportunities. This will be comprised of local experts with experience of working with young people and supporting them into good employment opportunities.
- Commission new schemes to help more young people access the support and develop the skills they need to enter and progress in work. This will include using £4m of support to tackle unemployment and low pay within local communities.
- Extend the successful 'Work Coaches' project across the West Midlands, to provide more work experience and job opportunities for young people. This initiative started in Birmingham and Solihull and encourages employers to prioritise local unemployed people for their job vacancies. Employers also offer work experience places for young people to help give them the confidence they need to be successful at interview. This initiative has supported nearly 30,000 local people into employment.
- Work closely with colleges, training providers and adult and community learning organisations to ensure that local education and skills provision is focused on helping young people to progress to further education and employment opportunities.
- Help successful individuals make a difference to the lives of young people by increasing support for his Mayor’s Mentors programme. This guides and supports young people into the world of work helping them to access opportunity and be better prepared for their future careers.
Wages in the West Midlands
Wages in the West Midlands will be increasing faster than any other city-region in Britain
The West Midlands is seeing an economic renaissance with wages growing faster than any other region.
Many years of decline and lack of attention have meant some towns and cities are not what they used to be. There has been change in the last few years - new shopping centres, apartments, and offices are popping up across the region. In the last year, wages grew faster in the West Midlands than anywhere in the UK. There is a revival of manufacturing and the region is the only one in Britain to enjoy a trade surplus with China. More businesses are born in the West Midlands than in any other area outside London.
But economic growth has not yet spread out to enough people. A recent study by the Resolution Foundation showed that the West Midlands had the lowest average household income after housing costs of any city-region. Without a strong economy it is difficult to improve living standards and we have much further to go.
All policies in Andy's manifesto are based on the ambition of a strong economy in the West Midlands that works for everyone. The activities of the Productivity and Skills Team will contribute towards this through:
- Commissioning an Employment Support Pilot to support individuals on low pay across nine key wards.
- Utilising the Adult Education Budget to support the upskilling of individuals to allow them to access high paid roles, and develop more quickly whilst in employment.
- Developing a key understanding of the skills needs of employers within our growth sectors to better align college/university and training provider delivery.
- Helping the government develop and roll out the new T-Level technical qualifications, training young people for highly-skilled work.
- Supporting specialist schools and colleges in the industries where the West Midlands leads the world, for example the National College for High Speed Rail.
- The Mayor’s Mentors scheme where thousands of people who have been successful in their careers can mentor young people just starting out, or those who wish to retrain or move into new work.
- Create a 'ladder' of training and job opportunities so people who work hard can go from low skilled work into highly-paid jobs.
Regional Economic Growth
The West Midlands economy will be the fastest growing of any city region in Britain
The West Midlands can become a world-leading centre for advanced manufacturing, technology, creative industries, life sciences, professional services, low carbon technology and construction. Each of these industries has the potential to contribute to a strong West Midlands economy and the region has unique advantages which mean that it can compete with other global city-regions. Andy and the WMCA will work with big employers in the region like Jaguar Land Rover, HSBC and National Grid will help make sure that businesses have what they need to create jobs.
Andy, supported by the WMCA, will:
- Lead the success of the WMCA Growth Company by helping West Midlands businesses to market themselves and gain investment from around the world to close the productivity gap and foster innovation.
- Explore ways to bring parts of the automotive supply chain back to the UK from overseas, creating more jobs in the region.
- Invest in apprenticeships and skills training to make sure that manufacturing companies have the skills they need to succeed.
- Create the funds and support for the autonomous automotive supply chain in the West Midlands ensuring the region’s roads are equipped for the testing of driverless cars.
- Build on recent successes in the high-growth and future-facing technology and creative industries by supporting the growth of proven business clusters such as the Custard Factory and STEAMhouse in Digbeth, the Knowledge Quarter in Coventry and the Lighthouse complex in Wolverhampton.
- Co-sponsor with large businesses 'technology accelerators' to develop new spin-off start-up ventures in their industries (for example an automotive start-up accelerator with Jaguar Land Rover).
- Attract tech and creative start-ups by presenting the benefits of our youthful, diverse and educated work force, high quality of life and low cost of doing business when compared to capital cities.
- Work with banks, venture capital firms and other investors to make it easier for start-up entrepreneurs to access funding.
- Support our manufacturing research and innovation centres, for example Warwick Manufacturing Group, the Institute of Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering at Coventry University and Rolls Royce university research centres.
- Support the Challenge Fund which will finance research and development in areas like smart energy, robotics, artificial intelligence and 5G mobile technology.
- Create a Mayor’s Digital Skills Institute with responsibility for leading digital training efforts in the West Midlands so our young people finish education with modern skills that companies actually want – matching what is taught now with the real demands of current and future employers.
Land Redevelopment to attract employers
- Ensure there is enough employment land available for businesses to set up and expand by building this into the Mayor’s overall spatial plan.
- Make sure that there is enough employment land available for manufacturers to expand their sites or open new sites.
- Lobby for investment from government in comprehensive energy solutions required to enable the expansion of key employers such as Jaguar Land Rover.
- Support local authorities and developers with major redevelopment projects across the West Midlands (for example Friargate in Coventry, Snow Hill in Birmingham and Springfield in Wolverhampton).
- Work with universities and businesses to bring new investment to the region from the government’s £2 billion research and development fund.
- Lobby government to make sure the West Midlands is at the top of the list when any national cultural or creative organisation is considering relocation from the South East.
More New Homes
25,000 new homes to have been built in the West Midlands
Too many people are worried about where they are going to live now and in the future. Many feel like they will never have the opportunity to buy a house, or are having to live further from their work and commute for longer, meaning they spend less time with their families.
Significant progress has been made in addressing the housing challenge. The WMCA has appointed a Director of Housing and Regeneration, a clear sign that this is a high priority – recognising that it forms a critical part of the region's economic growth potential.
Key will be to speed up delivery of housing aligned to new jobs, transport and infrastructure, incorporating new methods of construction.
Key achievements in 2017/18:
- The second devolution deal outlines a commitment from Government to provide £6 million of funding to support housebuilding capacity.
- Plans have been approved to build 803 new housing units across the region from the Brownfield Land and Property Development Fund.
- A commitment to develop a response to the Land Commission’s recommendations. A Land Delivery Action Plan has been developed and has started to be implemented.
- Creation of a pipeline of key housing and employment sites across the region with local partners.
- Publication of a West Midlands Investment Prospectus with local partners to secure significant new private sector investment in infrastructure, residential and commercial opportunities.
- Securing funding for infrastructure to unlock significant housing and employment opportunities.
Priorities for the next few years are:
The Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) and Land Action Plan estimates that to accommodate the growing population, the West Midlands will need to deliver at least 215,000 additional new homes by 2031. To deliver this the WMCA and Andy will look to:
- Join with public and private sector partners to secure an increase in the supply of land for housing and employment.
- Bring redundant and contaminated land back into productive economic use. This will require upfront investment in infrastructure, land remediation and site acquisition.
- To become a leader in modern methods of construction, land remediation and brownfield development supported by an effective skills and talent programme.
- To create a new joint delivery team between WMCA and Homes England to strengthen the expertise and resource to unlock key sites and secure new investment.
- To implement robust processes across constituent and non-constituent authorities to secure a step-change in the pace and quality of housing provision.
- To improve the quality and standard of housebuilding in the West Midlands, setting out key design and development principles.
- With housing associations agree a new landmark agreement which will seek to significantly increase their supply contribution by 2023.
- Over the next year Andy and the WMCA will work with higher education institutions, Local Enterprise Partnerships and local councils to launch a new Regional Centre of Excellence for land remediation and modern construction methods. This will be based in the Black Country, making that area a leader in this field.
- The provision of serviced sites for new factories for modern methods of construction will be explored. This will generate employment and a local supply chain.
- The Mayor and WMCA will aim to create new delivery methods and support existing ones around major growth and regeneration projects such as the Black Country Garden City and Solihull Urban Growth Company.
Reducing Anti-Social Behaviour
A significant reduction in anti-social behaviour, especially on buses and trains
At a time when traffic congestion in the West Midlands costs the economy £2 billion per year, it is more important than ever that public transport is open and accessible to all. One of the biggest barriers to using public transport is fear of crime. Andy is committed to further driving down criminality and working with partners to tackle anti-social behaviour so more people use the public transport network.
The West Midlands benefits from the Safer Travel Partnership which has been successful in reducing crime on all modes of public transport. The Partnership includes the WMCA, as well as West Midlands Police, British Transport Police and public transport operators.
Working with the Safer Travel Partnership, the aim is to reduce threat, risk and harm by:
- Improving and upgrading CCTV provision ensuring it is present at every bus station, rail station and Metro stop and where possible upgrade to High Definition video.
- Expanding the See Something, Say Something campaign through technologies such as smartphones to ensure that as many opportunities exist as possible for passengers to report anti-social behaviour.
- Retaining the Safer Travel Police Team at existing levels and seek to increase their visibility on the network by increasing the number of Special Constables, Cadets and Accredited Security staff available at key times and key locations.
- Tackling alcohol related disorder across the transport network utilising all powers available to the Safer Travel Partnership and those of other agencies. Putting in place specific and targeted operation around peak periods and events.
- Managing offenders by using intelligence to identify persons of interest, supporting lawful behaviour and ensuring that criminal behaviour is effectively managed.
- Pro-actively identifying repeat victims of crime and ensuring that they are supported and where needed assisted back into public transport use.
Commuting in the West Midlands to be quicker, with less traffic, more punctual and less crowded public transport
Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), the WMCA's transport arm, is committed to delivering Andy’s priority of a faster commute by 2020 and work has started on a range of developments as part of the 2026 Delivery Plan for Transport with the aim of tackling such issues as congestion and accessibility.
Currently the West Midlands is experiencing high levels of congestion and capacity. This directly impacts journey times and commuters' experience, restricting access to jobs and training opportunities and testing the resilience of the transport network. Increased investments and population growth will create a greater demand on the network which will reduce resilience further.
Through management of the Key Route Network the West Midlands will benefit from the development of an effective transport system to drive growth and better connect our cities, towns and villages. A multi-agency approach will lessen the impact of disruptions during a period of unprecedented investment.
TfWM are currently working on the following projects and schemes:
- The Brierley Hill – Wednesbury Midland Metro extension with funding awarded through the second Devolution Deal for the West Midlands.
- Developing the Camp Hill line and new stations in areas such as Moseley and Kings Heath.
- A38 schemes – signal technology upgrades and management.
- Delivering a programme of new rail park and ride spaces at stations.
- Development of the Midlands Rail Hub – a series of interventions to allow an additional 10 trains per hour out of Birmingham.
- Development of plans to upgrade cycle routes in Birmingham, Black Country, Coventry and Solihull including segregated Super Cycle routes, greenways, quietways and canal routes.
- The Centenary Square Metro extension and the opening of the City of Wolverhampton Interchange.
- Supporting the traffic signal optimisation at Holloway Circus (Pagoda Island).
- Delivering the first Sprint rapid bus routes, in time for the Commonwealth Games in 2022.
The ability to strategically invest in the network and provide innovative solutions will be key to making a difference to the lives of millions of people across the West Midlands.
Mental health problems will be decreasing, not increasing.
Mental ill-health affects a huge number of people in the West Midlands, with just under 25% of adults affected by a mental health condition at an annual cost of £12.6 billion to the economy. Andy is supporting and working with Thrive West Midlands (the former West Midlands Mental Health Commission) which has been at the heart of tackling these challenges, looking to produce real change through the delivery of its Thrive Action Plan.
There are five key areas where Thrive West Midlands has already been successful in supporting those with poor mental health and wellbeing across the region:
- Thrive won funding from the government for an innovative programme to trial Individual Placement Support (IPS) provision for people with severe and enduring mental health issues, to help them back into employment. This three-year trial, set to launch in spring 2018, will seek to work with 5,500 people across Wolverhampton, Dudley, Sandwell and Birmingham through a ‘place then train’ approach to work.
- The West Midlands became a national test bed for the Mental Health Treatment Requirement (MHTR) pilot programme. This works in the court system to divert those with poor mental health away from prison and into treatment, aiming to promote recovery, decrease re-offending, and reduce the impact of crime. This programme will grow throughout 2018.
- Partners across the West Midlands, including NHS trusts, police and third sector, have now committed to a 'zero suicide' ambition. The commission has undertaken significant partnership work with Public Health England and the Department for Work and Pensions to develop a strategy to deliver this. A regional level steering group was established with an emphasis on improving data, live surveillance and education.
- Thrive collaborated with charity CLASP to organise the ‘Walking Out Of Darkness’ event in May 2017 with 550 people walking a route around Birmingham’s canal network to raise awareness of mental health problems and suicide prevention. This is one of multiple events Thrive has established including the recent Thrive Awards held in January 2018.
- Thrive launched an ambitious programme to train 500,000 people across the region so they better understand mental health issues. In its first phase we have already trained 10,888 people in Mental Health First Aid with many more to follow. They are also collaborating with Public Health England to design a universal programme for mental health and wellbeing awareness due to launch in summer 2018. The pilot will take place across the whole of the West Midlands, seeking to engage 300,000 people, leading to a full mental health programme.
This year is just the start of Thrive West Midlands' commitment to tackle mental health problems in the region, but its ambition is clear – to lead the way in reducing the burden of mental ill health, promoting positive conversations around mental health and encouraging community involvement.
Establish the role of mayor as so important that turnout in the Mayoral Election in 2020 will be 5% higher than in 2017.
The historic first election for the Mayor of the West Midlands was held on May 4th 2017, and a day later, Andy Street was elected.
A Metro Mayor makes sure that local policies are decided at a local level, so they best suit local people’s needs.
Andy now represents around 2.8 million people across seven local council areas: the WMCA constituent authorities of Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton.
On his election, Andy said: "I want to be a Mayor who works for everyone across the West Midlands and binds all of our leaders together.
“That’s because ultimately that's what this job is all about - building a team to champion the West Midlands, forging an alliance with central government and local people so that we put the West Midlands back in its rightful place as the leading region of the UK."
A mayor was part of the devolution deal between the WMCA and the government, which will see more than £1.1 billion made available for investment in the region over the next 30 years.
Andy will focus on several big issues that need to be looked at across the whole West Midlands:
- Housing: housebuilding, planning
- Transport: major roads, bus services, rail infrastructure, High Speed Two
- Economy: jobs, business growth, exports
- Skills: adult skills, hard-to-help benefits claimants
- Other powers: mental health, clean air
- Total budget: £8 billion over 30 years, with more to negotiate for
- More powers in the future
The Mayor will be a leader to represent and speak up for the West Midlands in London and across the world.
Andy will work to establish the role of mayor as vital for the region by:
- Working hard to achieve the best deal for the people of the West Midlands.
- Holding regular ‘Ask Andy’ events across the seven local authorities, giving residents a chance to come and ask the Mayor about the issues that matter to them in a relaxed Q&A format.
- Attending as many events across the region as his diary allows
- Using communications and media to raise awareness of his activities and spread good news stories of the work of the WMCA.
- Holding various events across the region, such as Diwali on the Square, the Mayor and Faith Conference and the Mayor’s Community Weekend to engage with citizens and encourage active participation.
- Lobbying on behalf of the West Midlands on the issues that matter to local people not only in Westminster but on the world stage.
- Working with local business leaders to achieve what’s best for local jobs and the economy.
- Capitalising on local strengths and assets like our universities, scientific research and innovation.
Through these efforts and in combination with increased media and communications strategies, Andy hopes to establish the role of mayor as so important that turnout in the Mayoral Election in 2020 will be 5% higher than in 2017.