“We’re at the start of an exciting time for Birmingham and the whole of the Midlands,” Theresa May wrote in an article for the Birmingham Mail last month.
And she’s right – at least, in part.
As CN’s devolution reporter, I’ve been doing a bit of digging into whether Birmingham is to the Midlands what Manchester is to the Northern Powerhouse.
As an outsider who’s relatively new to the industry, the Midlands Engine certainly looks great on paper.
With in-depth knowledge about the needs and issues facing their area, local authorities seem to be in a much better place than central government to know where money should be invested within the region.
Surely, the procurement process would run much more efficiently if local authorities had greater powers, rather than central government officers scratching their heads over where to invest money in regional areas?
Seems simple enough. But looking at an area like the Midlands, it becomes very apparent that Birmingham – the biggest local authority in the country and second largest city – gets a larger slice of the investment pie than its (much) smaller neighbours.
Something that has become very apparent today.
Birmingham local authorities have announced they will be investing £1bn into regenerating parts of the city located around the planned High Speed 2 station in Curzon Street.
It was also announced last week that the city council has signed a joint investment deal with Chinese property developer Country Garden that could be worth up to £2bn to the city’s economy.
Money is being pumped into Birmingham – something contractors should keep a beady eye on.
But what about other areas around the Midlands?
Check out my video to see why contractors should be interested in not only Birmingham, but the Midlands as a whole.
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