Business News £1.9bn boost for local economy

New research from Barclays Corporate Banking has found that 5G could boost the Midlands economy by more than £1.9bn per year by 2025. However the report warns that

the opportunity could be missed because industry leaders still do not know enough about the benefits of investing in the technology. The report 5G: A Transformative

Technology analyses a series of potential scenarios that businesses across the UK could face when implementing 5G. Under an ‘optimistic scenario’,

which anticipates an accelerated rollout of 5G and an enhanced uptake among UK businesses and consumers, the Midlands will see a £1.9bn increase in business revenue by 2025. A slower-than-anticipated rollout

and limited use would deliver around £793m of added revenue to the Midlands, while the expected pace of development added revenue would reach £1.5bn. Meanwhile, under the optimistic

scenario, the business areas set to see the largest revenue increases across the UK are distribution (£3.6bn), manufacturing (£2bn), professional services (£1.1bn) and business services (£1bn). The optimistic scenario could be a

Potential for business growth: Ray O’Donoghue

reality for British businesses, as mobile providers are already beginning to introduce 5G capabilities on a large scale this year. The Government is also supporting 5G by incorporating it into its Industrial Strategy, having pledged £1bn towards digital infrastructure. The bidding process for 5G licences, meanwhile, opened to the telecoms industry last year. The research revealed that 35

per cent of businesses in the Midlands are already benefitting from fast communications

‘The rollout of 5G offers a huge opportunity for the Midlands’

technology like 4G and ultrafast broadband. The top reasons for this in the Midlands are connection to multiple machines (55 per cent), access to a mobile network to communicate with customers (51 per cent) and business operates across disparate locations (57 per cent). 5G can further enhance these

operations through benefits including peak data rates 20 times faster than 4G and simultaneous connections for one million devices per square kilometre. The extreme speed paves the

way for innovations in artificial intelligence, robotics and large- scale Internet of Things (IoT) usage. For businesses, this means more

extensive machine-to-machine communications, using self-driving vehicles and better overall infrastructure – amongst other new applications. Despite the demand for current

communications technologies and the potential applications for 5G, the Barclays survey found just 45 per cent of business decision makers in the Midlands know how their business can make the most of 5G. When it comes to preparing for

5G, only 15 per cent of Midlands’ businesses are actively considering how they will harness the new technology. Ray O’Donoghue, managing

director at Barclays in the Midlands Region, said: “The rollout of 5G

offers a huge opportunity for the Midlands. “We are seeing massive potential

for business growth, which ultimately delivers a positive knock- on effect for the whole region. “While the Government and

network providers are already working hard to introduce 5G in the Midlands, we found that businesses do not yet have enough clarity about how they will benefit in the long-run. “To ensure the Midlands can

realise the full potential of an accelerated rollout, the Government, mobile operators and other corporate partners – including financial institutions – have a job to do in order to raise awareness amongst businesses so they can harness 5G.” Margot James, minister for

Digital and the Creative Industries said: “The Government is committed to ensuring businesses can harness the power of this revolution in mobile connectivity. The benefits set out in this report and the potential to add billions to our economy are exactly why we're investing in the UK’s strong 5G ecosystem. “Through our modern Industrial

Strategy, we’re focused on delivering real-world benefits from 5G in important sectors of the UK economy – providing new services, increasing productivity and improving quality of life.”

Midland Heart has surpassed its target

Midland Heart completed and handed over 450 new homes in the last financial year, more than the target set at the start of the year. The development team at the leading Midlands housing association reached the goal at the end of March, with customers collecting the keys to two properties at Rugby, Warwickshire. Joe Reeves, executive director of growth and

corporate affairs, said: “This is a brilliant achievement for Midland Heart and with more than 80 per cent of these new homes offered at affordable rent and low cost home ownership, it is great news for our customers. “On 1 April this year we launched our new

five-year corporate strategy and this achievement provides us with a very solid foundation to rise to our new challenge of building 3,000 new homes by March 2024.” During 2018/19, Midland Heart started

building 614 homes, while 450 were completed and handed over. Of these, 300 are in Leicestershire, involving seven different planning authorities for the county. A further 59 homes were released in Birmingham, 35 in Rugby, 23 in Coventry and 19 in Dudley.


different local authority planning departments for these properties alone. “I am proud of how hard the entire team

worked throughout the year, but particularly over the past few months which enabled us to provide brand new homes to 100 customers just in the month of March. “And I am especially proud that almost 60

per cent of the homes released during the year were at social or affordable rent. “When we add in the 25 per cent for shared

Visit: Shadow Housing Minister Melanie Onn visiting the Sheldon Hall Avenue development with Joe Reeves

Chris Miller, director of development, said: “I

am delighted that the team not only achieved the challenge set for the year ending 31 March, they surpassed it. “It was a fantastic example of team working

both within Midland Heart and outside of the organisation with our many partner agencies including a large number of developers and 14

ownership, the figure increases to around 83 per cent – 371 homes – that were provided at an affordable cost to our customers.” Of the 450 homes, more than 360 are two or

three-bedroom homes and 58 one-bedroom apartments. Another 27 four-bed houses for larger

families and nine one or two-bed bungalows were also completed. “There is no respite for the development

team,” added Chris. “The bar is set higher for 2019/20 with a target of over 500 new homes to be completed during the year.”

• More patrons’ news – pages 40-41

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