Ten priorities for the West Midlands economic recovery after coronavirus

The region’s political and business leaders have endorsed 10 priorities around which the West Midlands will draw up its own recovery plan.

A West Midlands road map to secure a successful post-COVID-19 economic recovery is to focus on 10 key goals, it was announced today this week.

With the Government due to reveal plans on Sunday for a phased lifting of restrictions, the region’s political and business leaders have endorsed 10 priorities around which the West Midlands will draw up its own recovery plan.

The road map, which is being developed by a taskforce of experts from across the region’s public, private and academic sectors, will aim to build a better, greener and more inclusive economy.

The 10 priorities for the recovery plan are:

  • Ensure residents are kept safe and healthy
  • Accelerate transport construction plans
  • Build more homes faster and reshape town centres
  • Get people who lose their jobs back into work quickly
  • Support local businesses
  • Secure huge new investment in technology and innovation
  • Make sure the recovery is inclusive and works for everyone
  • Step up green growth plans
  • Take the West Midlands out to the world and bring the world into the West Midlands
  • Regain control of the region’s own recovery

The 10 priorities were backed at a meeting of the West Midlands COVID-19 Economic Impact Group (EIG) which brings together business leaders, central government, banks, trade unions, and local authorities including the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

The political leaders of the seven metropolitan councils and fellow members of the WMCA board also endorsed the 10 priorities in a statement of intent, setting out their commitment to rebuilding a better regional economy.

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street, who chairs the WMCA and EIG, said: “We have a unique economy in the West Midlands which was growing faster than anywhere else outside London when the coronavirus struck.

“Unfortunately, it is that same uniqueness which also means we could be hit hardest by the economic consequences of the coronavirus.

“That’s why we need a recovery plan shaped by local knowledge and expertise that is specifically tailored for the West Midlands.

“By working together under these priorities we can better coordinate both private and public sector investment as we look to rebuild our economy.

“It is a long road ahead, but the West Midlands will bounce back.”

Experts have warned that the economic make-up of the West Midlands leaves it particularly vulnerable to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, with research by consultants KPMG suggesting the region could be the hardest hit in the UK.

To help manage the economic impact of COVID-19, the West Midlands is working together through the EIG to produce a recovery plan which will be specific to the region’s needs.

Cllr Ian Brookfield, WMCA portfolio holder for economy and innovation, explained that the region’s reliance on automotive, construction and the manufacturing sectors, as well as our young, diverse population, makes us more vulnerable to the impacts of the pandemic.

“Yet these will also be our greatest assets in the race to recover and our economy has the potential to bounce back quickly”, he said.

“The goal for this plan will be to seize the opportunities that come from recovery, such as investment in new markets and the upskilling of our workforce.

“By using local knowledge and assets we can build a better economy and lead the way in levelling-up the wider UK economy.”

The 10 prioritises have been endorsed by Cllr George Duggins, leader of Coventry City Council, and Nick Abell, chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership.