Council leader backs calls for Birmingham to become new tech centre
Birmingham City Council leader Cllr Ian Ward today welcomed a new report by Centre for Cities.
It says the Government should seize the opportunities of Birmingham’s growing technology sector by investing to build a new innovation district in the city.
In last month’s Autumn Statement, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced plans to make Britain the 'world’s next Silicon Valley' with ambitions to “'build clusters for new growth industries'.
And today's Centre for Cities report, published in partnership with HSBC UK, entitled At the frontier: The geography of the UK’s new economy, urges the Government to deliver on these plans by investing £14.5 billion from existing earmarked spending to build innovation districts in Birmingham, Manchester, and Glasgow.
This money would go towards funding infrastructure upgrades, improving public transport, and boosting research and development (R&D) to help make the three cities more attractive to emerging advanced tech industries.
Responding to the report, Cllr Ward said: "I welcome this timely report from Centre for Cities, which quite rightly identifies Birmingham as a city of huge untapped potential. I would welcome the opportunity to work with Government to unlock that potential.
"Our city is already home to almost 3,000 new economy firms in sectors such as esports and gaming, FinTech (financial technology) and advanced manufacturing but we could and should be playing an even bigger part in the new economy. With the right funding and support, that number could be significantly higher, improving Birmingham's productivity, driving economic growth, and creating more high-skilled jobs.
"As the report illustrates, jobs and funding in these sectors have traditionally been focussed mainly in the southeast, but to truly level up the UK economy, then we need Government investment in skills, regeneration, and infrastructure to create opportunities at the forefront of new technologies and innovation."