We still make things – that’s the message of the second Birmingham Day event in the House of Commons, designed to inform the nation’s leaders about city and the contribution it makes to the economy.
It was revealed that the event, on March 5, will also showcase the West Midlands region, including the Black Country and the towns involved in the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
Birmingham Day will be held in a Commons committee room, where stands will inform visitors about the work of successful businesses in the region.
The theme will be the important role played by niche manufacturers, to dispel the myth that manufacturing is dead or in decline.
City MPs from the three major parties have come together to host the event.
Gisela Stuart (Lab Edgbaston), Andrew Mitchell (Con Sutton Coldfield) and John Hemming (Lib Dem Yardley) will jointly welcome guests.
The first Birmingham Day in the Commons, held last October, attracted ministers, MPs and journalists. Speakers this time will include Andy Street, chair of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP and Managing Director of John Lewis, as well as Stewart Towe, chair of the Black Country LEP and Managing Director of Hadley Group, one of Europe’s largest privately owned cold rolled steel manufacturers.
Sir Albert Bore, leader of Birmingham City Council, will also be speaking.
Ms Stuart said: “It’s knocking on the head this notion that manufacturing in the Midlands has gone. No it hasn’t – it’s just that the nature of it has changed.
“Having speakers from two LEPs is important. This isn’t just for Birmingham, it’s also making sure that people know what the region as a whole does.”
Mr Street said: “Whichever way we look at it, there is every reason for us to be optimistic about Greater Birmingham’s economic recovery.
“We know we are the best performing LEP in terms of attracting inward investment, creating or safeguarding more than 5,000 jobs through foreign direct investment in 2013 alone.
“Our exports are up 30 per cent since 2011, we can boast a net trade surplus with China and, between September 2010 and 2012 we saw 41,900 private sector jobs created.
“Yet, there are even greater opportunities on the horizon.”
He added: “HS2 brings not just a massive improvement in our connectivity with national and global markets, but also the chance to make a step-change in our skills performance and regenerate significant areas of the city centre.
“It is vital that we take this message to opinion formers in London. Much as we may not like the fact, Greater Birmingham’s resurgence is not yet a well known story. Therefore we should showcase what is already happening here, and give confidence that we can deliver much more yet.”