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City can look forward to greater Birmingham, says Sir Albert

Council leader sheds doom and gloom to deliver upbeat message in annual policy statement

Councillor Sir Albert Bore, Leader of Birmingham City Council

Council leader Sir Albert Bore has said the city can look forward to a greater Birmingham with new jobs and homes.

Shedding the doom and gloom of the recent years of austerity, the Labour council leader, in his annual policy statement, projected an optimistic view of Birmingham's immediate future.

Gone were references to cuts, difficult decisions and the end of local government as we know it.

He instead talked of growth, creation of highly skilled jobs, pitching Birmingham as the UK's capital of enterprise and a pledge to ensure the opportunities would be shared by all parts of the city.

He also called for greater co-operation between Birmingham, the Black Country and Solihull to drive growth in the region - warning that the likes of Greater Manchester, Merseyside and West Yorkshire were ahead in this respect.

He said: "I believe we can look forward to a greater Birmingham in every sense of that phrase.

"A greater Birmingham because we must grow as a city and provide new jobs and new homes and recapture our reputation as a global centre for skills and advanced manufacturing.

"A greater Birmingham because we will earn our national and international name as a city of diversity where all the world's nations and cultures can mix."

But he warned that without, greater co-operation at a regional level - particularly with the Black Country authorities - the West Midlands was "in danger of being left behind" five city regions which had already established combined authorities.

He highlighted new jobs in the pipeline for the digital and creative industries in Digbeth, the life sciences zone at Selly Oak and advanced manufacturing hub at Aston.

And pledged to create a Birmingham Apprentice Agency to develop skills and target jobs at the city's young people.

He also applauded pledges by both Labour and Tories nationally that they would devolve more funding and powers to big cities including Birmingham and the West Midlands.

His report was broadly welcomed by opposition members although Tory leader Robert Alden highlighted crucial health issue as missing.

"There is nothing on obesity and diabetes and sport and physical activity," he said.

While the Lib Dem's Paul Tilsley backed plans for the West Midlands to work together.

He said: "We need to realise the full potential of the West Midlands and the 2.5 million people who live here."

A video of Sir Albert's speech can be watched on the Birmingham City Council website .

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