Birmingham’s business community has thrown its weight behind the city’s bid to be the UK’s City of Culture for 2013.

Business Voice WM believes the West Midlands has been so hard hit in the recession that it badly needs such a boost.

BVWM chairman Barrie Williams said: “On the merits alone, there is no doubt that Birmingham is best placed to be the UK Capital of Culture.

“The city hosts the world’s largest Pre-Raphaelite art collection and is a global leader in holding historical artefacts that relate to the start of the Industrial Revolution. In addition, Birmingham has a renowned Shakespeare collection.

“But it is not just Birmingham’s cultural heritage that merits the city winning the bid. The Birmingham Royal Ballet and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra are admired beyond our shores. The city is home to talent in other cultural areas. For instance, the majority of Punjabi music is produced in Birmingham, Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter is admired across Europe and, of course, the city is known as the home of Black Sabbath.

“From an economic perspective, winning this bid is critical for business and for jobs.

“Regrettably, the West Midlands has been the worst hit region of any part of the UK from this economic downturn. So winning the bid would not just help the cultural life of the city – it would boost the economic lifeblood of the region.

“Event management, professional services, hospitality, security and many other sectors would be enhanced, with the creation of jobs in Birmingham and the wider area.”

The outcome of the competition, which initially attracted interest from 29 cities and local areas, is due to be announced this spring.