Birmingham’s economy has enjoyed a decade-long boom of more than 60 per cent growth – but the city council needs to do more to raise the city’s business profile, a major national survey claims.
Data from UHY Hacker Young shows Birmingham’s economy grew at 61.3 per cent from 1995 to 2005, based on gross value added per capita, to £17,984 per capita per year.
Gross value added is used to estimate the value of goods and services produced in an area to measure its contribution to the overall UK economy.
UHY Hacker Young partner Malcolm Winston said: “Birmingham’s success is driven by its flourishing services sector while its traditional engineering and manufacturing industries continue to prosper.
“Birmingham’s professional and financial services sector is second only to London and is growing fast with Credit Suisse soon to join HSBC Asset Finance and Old Mutual Securities.
“The aerospace, rail and automotive industries are thriving and life science is also a fast-growing sector of the economy.”
UHY Hacker Young is a major firm of chartered accountants and its office in Birmingham was formed when accountancy firm Winross joined the UHY Hacker Young Group in 2001.
It highlighted Birmingham’s central location, great transport networks, skilled labour and top grade research centres.
But the firm said Birmingham City Council needed to promote this more forcefully as businesses outside the city may not be aware of its competitive edge.
Mr Winston said: “Birmingham is undergoing a sustained high rate of economic growth but it could raise its profile a little bit more as a location of choice for business and leisure to do even better.”
He said the city council should consider granting rate-free periods of between one and three years on brownfield sites to encourage more service sector companies to the area.
Better promotion of local cultural events and festivals would boost tourism from the UK and abroad in the city, he added.
A city council official said the local authority was proud of its record in attracting investors through a policy of targeted opportunities.
“The city council engages regularly in a range of activities to promote the city as an investment destination. These are specifically targeted at business areas where we judge there to be specific opportunities.”
The council pointed to a major conference this week at Aston University on alternative energy generation which brought businesses from various European countries.
“Next week we take part in two events in London: one on the ongoing government relocation programme, and a second promoting the city as a location for Islamic finance activities.”
The council also said it was making use of testimonials of business already based in Birmingham, including PricewaterhouseCoopers, Royal Bank of Scotland, KPMG, Mitchells and Butlers and ICICI Bank, each of which appear on a recent DVD extolling their commitment to the city.
Birmingham came 19th in UHY Hacker Young’s ranking of the UK’s 30 largest cities by gross value added. Belfast topped the table with an increase of 99 per cent; Stoke-on-Trent was last with 34.6 per cent.