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GVA growth forecast in the Midlands estimated to outperform the north says report

The West Midlands is expected to be the fastest growing UK region outside of London and the South East in terms of its economic performance over the next three years according to EY’s latest UK Regional Economic Forecast.   Click here to download EY's report.

The West Midlands will see growth of 1.8% in its Gross Value Added (GVA) each year until 2020. The strength of the its manufacturing sector and the recent announcement of Coventry as the 2021 City of Culture are expected to bolster the region’s economy. To read further about the West Midlands click here.

The East Midlands is forecast to average 1.7% growth in Gross Value Added (GVA) over the same period putting the combined Midlands area ahead of Scotland (1.5%), North West (1.5%) and Yorkshire & Humber (1.4%). To read further about the East Midlands click here.

China visit by PM following successful Midlands Engine trip

This week sees Theresa May visit China on a trade mission, travelling with more than 40 companies including businesses from the Midlands, to showcase the UK as a place to do business with post-Brexit.

This follows the visit to China in November 2017 by Communities Secretary Sajid Javid and Sir John Peace, Chairman for Midlands Engine (pictured on the visit), which launched a drive for closer working between the Midlands and China.

Read more about the PM's visit here

UK 'best country for business' in 2018 (Forbes) and UK productivity growth at six-year high (ONS)

Forbes has declared the UK to be the best country for business this year in its annual ranking saying the country has risen from fifth last year. 

Forbes reviewed 153 countries on 15 factors including property rights, innovation, taxes and red tape. The report pointed to the current dominance of the UK's financial services sector and low unemployment as a benefit. To read more on this story click here.

There has also been a sharp rise in UK productivity according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Growth in labour productivity reached a six-year high in the third quarter of 2017 - rising to 0.9%.

The data showed the increase has been credited with a rise in the manufacturing and services sectors, with both recording increases of 1% compared to the previous three months. Click here for further details

Finance now flowing from Midlands Engine Investment Fund

The first loans to help businesses grow from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) are being awarded, with the fund now officially open.

The MEIF, delivered by the British Business Bank, is investing £120 million of debt finance and small business loans to eligible firms. This initial tranche of funding is part of a wider £250 million of resource targeted towards the region’s start-ups, scale-ups and SME community.

For further details click here

Midlands exports to Europe on the rise according to survey

Twenty five percent of Midlands firms which took part in the British Chambers of Commerce International Trade Survey reported seeing growth in sales to Western Europe, while 19% of firms reported growth in sales to Central and Eastern Europe.

Net export sales growth was also recorded to North America (14%), Australasia (10%), China (8%), India (5%), and the Middle East & North Africa (3%). 

To read more click here

Value of deals on the rise in the Midlands according to a new report

The number of deals recorded in the Midlands last year was the second highest on record according to figures from Experian, which has its Headquarters in Nottingham (pictured).

The newly published figures show that more than 940 deals were announced in 2017, second only to the previous year's total of more than 1,000, while the value of deals rose 21% to more than £16.2bn.

According to the figures the busiest industry in the Midlands was manufacturing with 301 announced deals worth £5.1bn; approximately 32% of all deals and the total overall value for the region.

Click here for more information

Pioneering Midlands university and industry partnership announces plans for technology transfer

Midlands Innovation is a ground-breaking partnership which seeks to amplify the economic development of the Midlands through uniting universities and industry to drive cutting-edge research, innovation and skills development. 

Partners include the universities of Aston, Birmingham, Cranfield, Keele, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham and Warwick. Collectively, their academics generate more inventions and patents per unit of research income than any other leading group of UK universities. 

The launch event – which had speakers including Sir John Peace, Chairman of Midlands Engine and Mark Payton, CEO of Mercia Technologies PLC – outlined that to make these inventions easily available to investors and businesses, the universities’ technology transfer units have come together to provide a single point of access to intellectual property assets. This makes it easy for investors to access opportunities and enhances support available for growing businesses.

For more information click here

Lincolnshire and Derbyshire to pilot 100% business rates retention

Two Midlands areas are to take part in a national business rates trial in the next financial year. Lincolnshire and Derbyshire could benefit from up to £14m and £21m respectively of extra funding following a successful bid to Government which will see the counties taking part in a business rates pilot scheme.

The news came as part of the announcement of the provisional local government finance settlement for 2018 - 2019 and is seen as  the first major step towards localising the business rates system. As part of the announcement local government will be able to retain 75% of business rates from 2020-21. While ten 100% business rates pilots ( including Lincolnshire and Derbyshire) will take place in 2018-2019 .

To read more about Derbyshire's successful bid read here. 
To read more about Lincolnshire's success read here.

Regional Highlights 

Leicester and Coventry named in top five best cities to start a business

Leicester is named the second best city in the UK in which to start a business while Coventry ranked third, according to Barclays’ SME Growth Factors Index.

The Index, created by Barclays Business Banking, reflects the strength of 12 key growth factors such as business rate relief, infrastructure, broadband speed and labour productivity, which are essential to boosting business productivity and growth. Analysing the 20 largest cities by population size across the UK, the index ranks each city based on the strength of each factor.

To read more about Leicester's ranking click here

For further information about Coventry's ranking click here

Loughborough University helping Midlands growth

The importance of Loughborough University to the economy and employment, both regionally and nationally, has been highlighted by a new report.

The report looks at the economic impact of the University’s research activities and business collaborations and estimates the university contributed nearly 12,000 jobs and £720m GVA to the Midlands.

It also highlights the importance of the Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Park, stating the total economic impact of the park equals 4,100 jobs and £270m GVA in the UK.

Click here to read more

Summit debates Derby Nottingham Metro Strategy approach

Key business leaders have given their backing to plans for organisations across the Derby and Nottingham area to work more closely together to improve opportunities and quality of life for local people.

A Derby Nottingham Metro Summit was attended by over 100 representatives from local businesses, including Toyota and East Midlands Airport; the education sector and local councils.

Read more

A £286m business case is agreed for major transport hub next to Birmingham Airport and National Exhibition Centre

The business case outlines the opportunity to create a multi-modal hub at Birmingham International station in Solihull, bringing together future high speed and existing rail services, air, trams, buses, private vehicles, taxis and bicycles through connections to the airport and the new HS2 Interchange Station by 2025.

Read more

£150m project to transform Wolverhampton Railway Station 

The project, which is expected to take three years to complete, includes the already completed new railway station entrance from Corn Hill and multi-storey car park extension, as well as the continuation of the Midland Metro line extension to the railway station.

Demolish of the existing station is expected to start in May this year.

Read more

Derby named third fastest growing economy in UK Powerhouse study

The study, produced by Irwin Mitchell and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), provides an estimate of GVA growth and job creation of 45 of the UK’s largest cities 12 months ahead of the Government’s official figures.

The latest report reveals Derby has the third fastest growing city economy in the UK across Q3 2017, with a rate of 1.9% growth. The city’s position in the Powerhouse Table marks a 27-place climb, making it one of the biggest rising cities in the ranking.

Read more

In other news...

  • New manufacturing research centre set to put Nottingham back on world manufacturing mapRead more
  • Automotive manufacturer creates 150 jobs in Burton. Read more
  • Birmingham Airport has recorded its busiest ever year. Read more
  • University of Derby launches bursary to help address potential Midlands Engine skills gap. Read more
  • 95% of Staffordshire now has access to super-fast broadbandRead more
  • Fast-growth Nottinghamshire businesses generate £1.8bn in turnoverRead more

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