Business News

City tops list for investment

Birmingham is the highest ranking UK city for investment prospects, according to a new report. PwC and the Urban Land

Institute’s latest Emerging Trends in Real Estate Europe report ranks Birmingham 24th in Europe for investment prospects, ahead of Manchester (25), Edinburgh (26) and London (29). Cities are selected and

ranked on a range of investment and development criteria, including transport connectivity, availability of assets, traditional finance measures, economic performance and digital connectivity, and attractions to talent and city leadership. The report recognised the significant investment being made in infrastructure and connectivity in Birmingham, including HS2, the extension of the Metro, and 5G mobile data pilot scheme. However, the report also

recognises that uncertainty surrounding Brexit continues to impact the UK’s regional real estate markets. Jonathan Clements, director

and specialist in real estate tax at PwC, said: “While the UK a is being affected by uncertainty surrounding Brexit, Birmingham is performing strongly and provides a wide range of real estate opportunities. “The attractiveness of the

city is also boosted by its leadership and its access to an excellent talent pool of graduates and emerging talent as the number one location outside London for start-ups and scale-ups.”

From left: Preet Gill MP, Chamber vice-president Steve Allen, Sir Keir Starmer and RSM’s regional boss Mark Taylor

Shadow Brexit secretary in talks with businesses

By Dan Harrison

Businesses held constructive Brexit talks with Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer at an event hosted by Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce and accountants RSM. Sir Keir took part in a roundtable

discussion with key business figures before addressing around 50 delegates at RSM’s Birmingham city centre offices. The visit was organised by Preet

Gill, the Labour MP for Birmingham Edgbaston. Business figures had the opportunity to quiz Sir Keir on what happens next in the Brexit process, with Britain scheduled to depart the European Union on 29 March. Sir Keir said gauging the views of businesses had been “extremely

helpful” in shaping his party’s position on Brexit. He said: “One of the things that

has really helped me in trying to stake out Labour’s position on Brexit has been talking to businesses. “Therefore, for the last two years

or more I’ve been going across the country talking to individual businesses, visiting premises and understanding how things work and also doing group sessions like this. “It has been extremely helpful.

All businesses are different, each sector is different and nobody can claim to understand that until they actually go and talk about it. “These visits have been really,

really constructive in our position.” Preet Gill said: “I would like to

thank the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce for hosting the event, and to all attendees for

sharing with Keir their invaluable insights on what matters most to business. “Labour has listened to, and

talked with, businesses up and down the country. It is these conversations, meetings, and events that have informed Labour’s position on Brexit, and the cause for Labour’s commitment to, and campaign for, a continued close relationship with the European Union post-Brexit. “A close relationship not only in

terms of important economic ties, but also in ensuring that the UK continues to attract the skills and talent our business and industry needs.”

• For more information on the Chamber’s Brexit activities visit www.greaterbirminghamchambers .com/brexit

Birmingham’s growth to ‘outpace other UK cities’

Birmingham will outperform other parts of the UK in employment growth this year, according to a report that predicts the impact of Brexit on 46 UK cities. The UK Powerhouse study, from law firm Irwin Mitchell

and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), estimates Birmingham’s year-on-year employment growth in Q3 of 2019 will reach 1.6 per cent. Employment headcount in the city was 581,000

during Q3 2018, with the report estimating that this will rise to 590,100 in the third quarter of this year. It also expects annual GVA growth in Birmingham to

increase slightly to 1.4 per cent in Q3 2019, from 1.3 per cent in the same period in 2018. Chris Rawstron, partner at Irwin Mitchell in

Birmingham, said: “The overall impacts of Brexit on the West Midlands in the long term prove difficult to predict and although the report says that the economy

6 CHAMBERLINK March 2019

will grow more slowly following Brexit, there are some positive signs in relation to employment levels. “There are challenges ahead and also many opportunities and we are working hard with our clients to support them and provide proactive advice so that they are well-prepared for the future.” UK Powerhouse study reviewed the economic impact

of three distinct Brexit scenarios, including a No Deal, a deal agreed roughly in line with the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement and an accepted Withdrawal Agreement that could be altered to allow some form of free trade. The report states that after 2019, unemployment will

initially increase in all potential Brexit forecasts. However, even at its highest in the first scenario, unemployment will remain 1.8 percentage points below its peak during the 2008 financial crisis.

Chris Rawstron: Positive signs

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