Business leaders will today launch a major new initiative to persuade the Government to invest more in the fast growing West Midlands technology sector.
The move comes as inflation stands at a seven year high - reinforcing expectations of a cut in interest rates next month which will help hard pressed local manufacturers.
The CBI has said it will lead the campaign to boost the region's information and communication technology (ICT) sector at a special forum hosted by regional development agency Advantage West Midlands.
Sir Digby Jones, director general of the CBI, said: "Britain is the greatest per capita trading nation in the world - and while the UK economy will never match that of the US or Japan in terms of size - we make up for it by being clever about how we turn our science, technology, skills and innovative thinking into wealth creation." The CBI says the West Midlands has a more innovative business sector than anywhere else in the UK, with over one third of its ICT sector growing at over 20 per cent per annum.
Crucially, it also has one of the highest European rates of business spin-out from academic endeavour.
The West Midlands CBI is convinced this puts the region at the forefront of the effort to embrace globalisation and to lead the charge on wealth creation from innovation.
It also points out that West Midlands employment costs are some 13 per cent lower than in London and the South-east, while commercial property costs up to 40 per cent less.
The forum will see experts debating better ways of promoting the region's case.
The event at the ICC will also kickstart the CBI's lobbying campaign, which will include being part of a West Midlands delegation meeting with MPs and representatives from the House of Lords on July 19 in London, when the CBI will push for greater support of transport, science, technology and innovation in the region.
Chris Clifford, director of the CBI West Midlands, said: "The Government has already outlined its ambition for Britain to be the most attractive location in the world for science and innovation.
"The West Midlands has a proven track record in this field and is set for further development.
"Government recognition and support is vital if the region is to reach its full potential."
Meanwhile, official figures yesterday showed that rising food prices last month helped inflation to edge up to its highest level in seven years.
The Consumer Prices Index moved up to two per cent from 1.9 per cent the previous month, hitting the Government's target as analysts had predicted.
Food had a large upward effect on inflation, with the main contributions coming from fruit - particularly grapes and strawberries - as well as meat.