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Birmingham Leads UK Out Of Recession

The grand opening of Birmingham’s redesigned central station is the latest symbol of a city that has bounced back from recession stronger than most of its rivals, with higher levels of inward investment, faster export growth and better job creation.

The chancellor George Osborne said the investment was “at the heart of our plans to use the power of infrastructure to build a more healthy, balanced and productive economy right across the Midlands”. Business leaders say the city is in a good position to exploit the second wave of public investment with Birmingham set to be among the first beneficiaries of HS2, the proposed high-speed rail link with London.

Across the city, development is rife, including the makeover of Five Ways shopping centre and an office building which will become a four-star hotel. This improved business environment follows the government’s decision to put Birmingham council on watch.

“Anyone looking back on this period can see we are going through a growth spurt,” says Neil Rami, head of Marketing Birmingham. “But what devolution can give us is sustained growth going forward.” However, some Midlands business leaders worry the region is in danger of missing out. “The public sector is starting to come around. But the pace needs to quicken.” Andrew Harrison, who heads the Midlands office of Royal Bank of Scotland, said.

A director of Colliers International, who launched the sale of four office buildings in the commercial district this week, said: “Our agents are going out to China, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, both US and Canadian pension funds. Birmingham is now appealing to a global audience.”