Business sector representative on the City Region board, Glyn Pitchford, says business must not be sidelined in the efforts to regenerate the Midlands.
Falls on the Nasdaq, the FTSE jittery, Tokyo wobbles - the global credit crunch is sending shockwaves around the world.
But here in the West Midlands we are holding our own.
Professional services in Birmingham are growing, high quality manufacturers in the Black Country and Telford are focusing on exports, Solihull remains a location of choice for European corporate HQs and Coventry is still at the cutting edge of the computer games industry.
So the levels of poverty and despair in too many areas of the Midlands cannot be pinned solely on the global markets or on claims that our commercial base is weak - when the opposite is clearly the case.
The fact that too many people are living in severe poverty is down to the need to get new thinking - and political will - to turn this around.
Just a few miles from the success of Colmore Row and its environs we can see the evidence that six per cent of Birmingham people are on the dole - with rates of five per cent unemployment in some other areas of the City Region. But even these stark figures shoot up when we count the number of "workless" people - those who are not classed as unemployed but who are on other benefits or who have simply disappeared from the sight of the statisticians.
Is this because of the "nanny state" or is it that some areas have been left to decline, making poverty a way of life?
I believe it is time to have a new push on regenerating the West Midlands - and to end these pockets of despair that harm the lives of too many people while holding back the growth of our economy.
The public sector is doing its bit. Regional development agency, Advantage West Midlands, has set up "regeneration zones" to carve up swathes of Birmingham, Black Country, Coventry and Solihull. Public money is going in. Good work is being done.
And now the Learning and Skills Councils, via the City Region, are focusing on helping young people, who have been sidelined, to get the skills to find good jobs.
But I don't think that this - on its own - is enough.
So we will need to examine whether the City Region, which covers the West Midlands conurbation and Telford, should ask the Government for a financial package - known as a Multi Area Agreement - to lift up the most deprived areas.
Low quality homes need to be replaced by affordable alternatives mixed in with private housing. Infrastructure in its widest sense must be introduced. I include new schools, places where kids can meet, medical and dental facilities, local shops and employment land to encourage industry and jobs training.
But real regeneration even goes beyond this - it means real partnership with business, maybe facilitated by tax incentives.
And it is business - hand in hand with officials and politicians - that can turn occasional bursts of injections of tax payers' money into sustained long term investment which then becomes self-perpetuating. Then we would see the gap closing between the economic performance of this region compared with the UK average.
The West Midlands Business Council report, Making It in the Midlands, gave some ideas as to how partnership with business can lead to long term regeneration.
Proposals include issuing bonds to deliver long term investment in the Midlands; greater use of Public Private Partnerships - also known as the Private Finance Initiative; ending the artificial divide public regeneration bodies have to work under where money is split into capital and revenue, so not on letting it follow the need; and allowing such organisations to borrow on the markets under rules that already exist for councils.
While some of these issues can and should be followed through by regional public bodies and the City Region, it is the dead hand of the Treasury that stops many of these proposals becoming a reality.
But if we don't have the political will to draw business on board as partners - bringing certainty and ending red tape for firms - then these same old problems of poverty will just hobble along for a few more decades.
The West Midlands now has a Minister with a direct line to Whitehall. The Minister for the West Midlands, Liam Byrne, has already shown how taking strong political action can deliver the regeneration of a major rail terminus, New Street Station. Now the Minister should have the same political will to deliver the regeneration of the West Midlands.
Damp and crowded tenement blocks, scrabbling around for the cash to survive day to day and rocketing levels of poor health should not mark the heart of the world's fourth richest country.
But public money alone is not the answer. It is innovative thinking, partnership with business - and political will - that will make the difference.
The Minister for the West Midlands, public regional bodies and the City Region all have to play their part.
When the Treasury mandarins encourage closer partnership with business it is then that we can redouble our efforts to banish poverty from the Midlands and produce sustainable modern communities.