Birmingham partners urge the Prime Minister to work together on Levelling Up the city

A coalition of leaders from across Birmingham have come together to urge the Prime Minister to work together and back investment in the city to deliver the levelling up agenda, helping to get an additional 75,000 people into work and boosting the city economy by up to £9bn a year.

Prosperity and Opportunity for All: Birmingham’s Levelling Up Strategy is Birmingham City Council’s ambitious blueprint for inclusive and sustainable growth to improve the lives and life chances of people and communities across the city. Launched in Westminster, it sets out a vision for unleashing the potential of Birmingham, by addressing ill health, poor educational attainment, low skills and incomes, congestion and air pollution – while bringing forward new homes, employment sites and community assets.

In particular, it urges government to support five ‘Levelling Up Accelerators’:

  1. Support long-term, single pot funding and devolved powers for the city to deliver greater levelling up outcomes and enable invest-to-save investment.
  2. Back the integrated local place delivery model demonstrator, the East Birmingham Inclusive Growth Strategy, covering 250,000 people to tackle deep levels of deprivation.
  3. Harness our early intervention and prevention model to assist the most disadvantaged citizens and move from dealing with crises to co-designed support and services to stop these arising.
  4. Deliver green and digital infrastructure including a comprehensive green, reliable, frequent, and affordable transport network.
  5. Back an at scale housing retrofit across the cities of Birmingham, Coventry, and Wolverhampton to tackle carbon emissions and create jobs in areas that need it most

The letter, published today and signed by a range of leaders from different sectors including health, business and economic development, and local and regional government, asks the Prime Minister to work together with Birmingham to deliver levelling up for the city. It sets out their shared commitment to the city as ‘the beating heart of the UK’ – and their ambition to make sure that every citizen in Birmingham has the same opportunities to succeed.

Henrietta Brealey, Chief Executive of the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, said: “Overall, Birmingham is a world-class place to live, work and visit – a global city with an economy larger than some countries. Covid-19, and the global fallout from it, has undoubtedly hit key sectors of our economy hard and many impacted businesses are still struggling to recover. We support the ambition of This Levelling Up strategy to leverage investment in infrastructure and inclusive growth to get 75,000 people back into work while unlocking an additional £9bn in economic benefits for the city, and the clear and innovative path it sets for the city’s economic recovery.”

The Right Reverend David Urquhart, Bishop of Birmingham, said: ““We know that Birmingham is a city of great challenges and even greater opportunities. It is unacceptable that, in the youngest city in Europe, over 40% of Birmingham’s children are growing up in poverty. Levelling up is both an economic necessity and a clear moral imperative – ensuring that every community and citizen across Birmingham has an equal chance to enjoy all that that our city has to offer.”

Cllr Brigid Jones, Acting Chair of City Board, and Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “This joint letter is a clear statement of support from across the city for our levelling up strategy, and a strong signal to national government that Birmingham stands ready and eager to work together to deliver levelling up. As partners we share a collective ambition for our city to be the best that it can be, and unleash the amazing potential of ‘people powered change’. We believe that Birmingham is the perfect place to deliver the levelling up agenda, and we call on national government to support our strategy and our five levelling up accelerators. The Commonwealth Games will kick off a ‘golden decade of opportunity’ for our city – we urge the Prime Minister to get involved and work with us to level up not just Birmingham, but the whole of the United Kingdom.”

Note to press:

The City Partnership Board is a forum that brings together stakeholders from a range of sectors to discuss the key opportunities and challenges facing Birmingham, and consider how the city responds to them. Involving representatives from the NHS, business, community safety, local and regional government, education and statutory partnerships, it seeks to support and influence the priorities, actions, and activity of strategic partnerships and sector bodies across the city to ensure an inclusive and sustainable recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, and a ‘levelling up’ of the city. 

The Board provides an opportunity to strengthen the voice of the city by bringing together a range of people who can help champion the City as it seeks to overcome long-standing inequalities, and provides a forum for networking across sectors, helping to improve awareness and understanding of shared priorities, and build relationships and collaboration across organisations operating in the city.

The full letter reads

28 January 2022

The Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP

Prime Minister

10 Downing Street

London

SW1A 2AA

Dear Prime Minister

Re: Partner Support For Birmingham’s Levelling Up Strategy

Recently, Birmingham City Council launched Prosperity and Opportunity for All: Birmingham’s Levelling Up Strategy, setting out its determination to work together collaboratively with national government to deliver the levelling up strategy in the United Kingdom’s second city.

We have started that collaboration in the city through our City Partnership Board, a forum that brings together stakeholders from a range of sectors including the NHS, business and economic development, community safety, local and regional government, statutory partnerships and education to discuss the key opportunities and challenges facing Birmingham, and consider how the city responds to them. 

Today we write to you, as representatives of organisations, sectors and communities across Birmingham, to ask you to work with us as a city over the coming weeks and months to deliver Birmingham City Council’s Levelling Up Strategy. In particular, we ask to you support the Five Levelling Up Accelerators identified in the strategy:

  1. Support long-term, single pot funding and devolved powers;
  2. Back the integrated local place delivery model demonstrator, the East Birmingham Inclusive Growth Strategy;
  3. Harness our early intervention and prevention model;
  4. Deliver green and digital infrastructure, including a comprehensive green, reliable, frequent, and affordable transport network;
  5. Back an at scale housing retrofit across the cities of Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton, to tackle carbon emissions.

We are already working together through our various strategic and statutory partnerships and other collaboration to address the inequalities and obstacles that hold back so many of our citizens. Birmingham is a city facing great challenges – but it is also a city that is delivering solutions, working hand in hand with local communities to ensure that all citizens share in the economic benefits of Birmingham’s development.

Together, we share a commitment to cement Birmingham’s position as a thriving global city – the beating heart of the UK, both commercially and culturally, where everyone has the same opportunities to succeed.

We eagerly await the forthcoming White Paper on Levelling Up and stand ready as a city to play our part in this critical national agenda. To this end, in 2022 an All-Party Parliamentary Group for Birmingham will be established, co-chaired by local MPs Andrew Mitchell and Preet Kaur Gill, to signal a new era of collaboration and increased visibility for the city.

We hope that this letter demonstrates the strength of the collective will behind the levelling up agenda in Birmingham – and the great potential that might be unleashed by working together, to benefit not just the citizens of our city but the whole of the UK.

Yours faithfully

Cllr Brigid Jones, Chair, Birmingham City Board and Deputy Leader, Birmingham City Council

Ammo Talwar, Chief Executive, Punch Records

Anita Bhalla, Interim Chair, Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP)

Cherry Dale, Chair, Birmingham Safeguarding Adults Board

David Melbourne, Designate Chief Executive, Birmingham and Solihull Integrated Care System

The Right Reverend David Urquhart, Lord Bishop of Birmingham

Henrietta Brealey, Chief Executive, Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce

Cllr John Cotton, Chair, Community Safety Partnership and Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion, Community Safety and Equalities, Birmingham City Council

Laura Shoaf, Chief Executive, West Midlands Combined Authority

Penny Thompson, Chair, Birmingham Safeguarding Children Partnership

Cllr Shabrana Hussain, Chair, Birmingham Housing Partnership and Cabinet Member for Homes and Neighbourhoods, Birmingham City Council

Steve Graham, Chief Superintendent, West Midlands Police

Yve Buckland, Chair, Birmingham and Solihull Integrated Care System

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