Conservatives launch plan for backing Birmingham Businesses to maximise growth impact

Underpinned by growth plans the Conservatives put in place when in control of Birmingham City Council prior to 2012, supported by substantial infrastructure investment from the Conservative UK Government via City Growth deals and led more recently by the work of the Conservative Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street, Birmingham has seen considerable inward investment over the last decade. More needs to be done however, to ensure that this investment delivers the growth needed and that it reaches all parts of Birmingham and not just the City Centre.

Councillor Alex Yip, Shadow spokesman for Trade and Investment said

“From speaking to local businesses, we know that they are frustrated with the lack of vision and leadership on Birmingham City Council, the difficulties in navigating a complex bureaucracy and the inconsistency they find in both support and enforcement. The Conservatives would break down bureaucratic siloes and simplify processes to ensure businesses can get the support they need when they need it in order to increase employment and prosperity in our city.”

Amongst other initiatives, the Conservatives, if they take control in the elections on May 3 would

- Establish a Business Support Desk within the Chief Executive’s office to provide a point of access to help businesses get coordinated support across council departments (and other agencies) including on issues such as apprenticeships.

- Ensure proactive engagement with businesses submitting planning applications to understand their needs and support growth and skills, including through the supply chains

- Provide support for new and existing Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) including Joint BIDs and scrap the ‘shoppers tax’ that the Labour Council is introducing on these areas by charging them to collect the BID levy, money that should going into the districts themselves

- Establish a public/private joint venture company to regenerate our suburban local centres

- Reform the council’s contracting arrangements, currently too heavily weighted against small and medium size businesses. The City should give our SMEs

an equal chance of winning our contracts and not set procurement criteria that works against smaller firms.

- Work proactively with the regional mayor and national government to draw in additional funding and make the most of the fantastic opportunities being provided through HS2 and the Commonwealth Games.

Councillor Robert Alden, Leader of the Conservative Group said

“We want Birmingham to be the place where innovation and enterprise thrive, where investment and growth creates sustainable and well paid jobs for all. We have the will within the business community, we have the commitment to infrastructure investment from the Government, we have the ambition and drive of the West Midlands Mayor, we need a City Council that can harness all of that and ensure that growth reaches every part of this City ensuring every community benefits from growth in our City".

Picture - Cllr Robert Alden, Cllr Randal Brew, Cllr Debbie Clancy with Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Greg Clark MP at a recent meeting to discuss supporting business growth and local centre regeneration in Birmingham