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The State of Economic Justice in Birmingham and the Black Country

Birmingham and the Black Country falling behind the rest of England on key economic indicators Birmingham and the Black Country (the local authority areas of Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton) are falling behind on key economic indicators such as prosperity, productivity, employment and skills, according to a new report. The report will be launched today in Parliament at an event chaired by Liam Byrne and hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Inclusive Growth and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the West Midlands. The findings of the report, produced by the think tank New Policy Institute and supported by the Barrow Cadbury Trust include: High homelessness: In Birmingham 20,000 families are waiting for a social rented home while each year only around 6,000 council and housing association homes become available. High deprivation: Almost half of Birmingham and the Black Country’s small local areas are among the most deprived 20% in the country. Low prosperity: Economic prosperity per person in Birmingham and the Black Country is 36% below the England average. Low employment: Birmingham’s employment rate is 8 percentage points below Greater Manchester, despite similar populations and socio-economic conditions, and in the bottom decile of local authority areas nationally. Low skills: 37% of Birmingham’s workforce and 42% of the Black Country’s lack even a basic NVQ2 (National Vocational Qualification), compared with 26% across England. Low productivity: Labour productivity is a particular challenge for the Black Country Economy, which trails Birmingham by 9% and Coventry-Solihull by 20%. Speaking on the findings of the report, Liam Byrne MP for Hodge Hill, host of the event and potential Labour candidate for West Midlands Metro-Mayor, said:  “This underlines the moral emergency we face in our region. It is disgraceful that here in what was the workshop of the world, we’re now seeing a dire lack of skills and jobs, especially for young people.  “Half our wards are in poverty and where we do see growth, it is not being fairly shared. There may be cranes in the skies of city centres but our homeless neighbours are sleeping in doorways. “It doesn’t need to be this way, and that is why the West Midlands needs a Metro-Mayor that shares our values of fairness and opportunity – and will be willing to stand up to the brutal Tory cuts being imposed from Westminster. “We need a bold new economic vision for our region, one that leans into our history leading the industrial revolutions of the steam age and the jet age. Our region must now be a pioneer of the Green Revolution, which is key to creating thousands of new, high-skilled, well-paid jobs.” Notes to editors The event, The State of Economic Justice in Birmingham and the Black Country, will be held Wednesday 8 May 13.00-14.00, Room C, 1 Parliament Street  Please RSVP to portera@parliament.uk The New Policy institute report can be read in full here. A summary of the report can be found here.

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