Leader's Blog: Levelling-Up Birmingham

Leader of Birmingham City Council, Cllr Ian Ward, talks about the council's vision for levelling-up the city:

Last week, Birmingham City Council hosted a Parliamentary Reception in Westminster to launch Prosperity and Opportunity for All: Birmingham’s Levelling Up Strategy. This document sets out Birmingham’s vision for Levelling Up, which could help 75,000 people into work and boost the city’s economy by £9 billion a year.

The Government has talked a lot about Levelling Up in recent months, about investing in communities across the country to improve life chances and opportunities for the citizens of the UK.

I want Birmingham to be at the heart of the Government’s plans for Levelling Up. As the largest local authority in Europe and the youngest and most diverse city in the country, Birmingham is a city of huge potential, but we also face significant challenges.

Birmingham City Council has worked with PwC to compare the level of needs in Birmingham with the rest of England and the findings are stark. Over 40% of Birmingham’s children grow up in relative poverty, 90% of our wards are more deprived than the national average, and the rate of unemployment is double the national average.

One of the clearest indicators of the challenges facing Birmingham is that there is a decade’s gap in life expectancy between the poorest areas and the most affluent areas in our city.

I want to work with the Government to tackle these challenges, and through our Levelling Up strategy we outlined five ‘Levelling Up accelerators’ that will help us to improve the outcomes and opportunities for every citizen of Birmingham.

  • Devolving more powers from Westminster to Birmingham, with long-term funding to help us to deliver better outcomes for our citizens
  • Help us to expand our work on the East Birmingham Inclusive Growth Strategy, tackling deprivation in the east of the city, which is home to over 250,000 people
  • Help us to support disadvantaged citizens through our early intervention and prevention model which seeks to prevent people falling into crisis
  • Help us to deliver the green transport and digital infrastructure that we need, this would include a green, frequent and affordable public transport network, like the one in London
  • Help us to retrofit our council and social housing across Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton to make our homes warmer and greener, cutting carbon emissions and creating jobs in the areas that most need them

We can only achieve this with the Government’s support. That’s why I eagerly await the Government’s White Paper, due in the coming weeks, which will outline their strategy for Levelling Up.

Birmingham is the beating heart of the United Kingdom, and Birmingham City Council is determined to work with the Government, and with our partners across the region, to put our city and its people at the heart of Levelling Up.

Cllr Ian Ward.

This blog was posted 29 November 2021

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