Birmingham is still failing to reach the "premier league" of European cities, a Cabinet Minister has warned.
David Miliband, a local government Minister, said the city had not enjoyed the same success as rival cities in Europe.
He highlighted Turin or Valencia as examples of thriving cities with strong economies and high quality services ? and warned that Birmingham needed to catch up.
Mr Miliband was speaking to The Post in advance of a ?no holds barred? summit on how the city is run.
Business leaders, councils, and young people will be invited to meet him and set out how they want Birmingham to improve over the next ten years, and what the Government must do to help.
Issues on the agenda could include introducing a directly elected mayor, following calls from the Institute of Directors for a mayor along the lines of Ken Livingstone in London.
Mr Miliband said: ?Britain?s cities were once a by-word for decline and depopulation but, in the past 20 years, business is better, quality of life is better, services are better.
?However, the European premier league for cities has very high standards, and we have got to ask ourselves what gets Britain?s cities to the top of the premier league.?
He added: ?The Birmingham renaissance happened rather earlier than in other British cities. The commitment to arts and culture put Birmingham on the map ? but you can?t live by culture alone.?
His comments came as the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry said there was a ?gut feeling? among businesses that the city would be better off with an elected mayor.
Jerry Blackett, policy director at the BCI, said a ?Mr Fixit figure? like Ken Livingstone was an attractive idea. Mr Miliband said Birmingham had a strong sense of identity, but this was not enough to ensure its success.
?If we are going to have a strong economic and social community we have to build on this sense of identity and create the systems that allow change to happen, and encourage change to happen.?
The Government was willing to consider changing the way Birmingham was run, he said.
?What sort of relationship do you want to have with central government to help you make the most of yourselves? There are no holds barred.?
This could include a directlyelected mayor, said Mr Miliband.
?The drive for decentralisation doesn?t stop with Scotland, Wales and London. I think many people outside London are looking at the Greater London Authority, and Ken Livingstone, and thinking ?how do we have that sort of drive in our city?? It was also important that different parts of the region worked in partnership, he said.
?My view is that thriving Birmingham should be good for the wider West Midlands. It is not a competition between Birmingham and Wolverhampton ? a thriving Birmingham is good for Wolverhampton.? There was a need to ?sort out? the way that some services, such as police, were organised on a West Midlands basis while other services, such as education, were run by a number of different authorities.
One of the greatest challenges facing Birmingham was to improve its reputation, Marketing Birmingham said last night. Director of marketing Dave Hodgson said: ?We can deliver as much or more than other European cities, but the challenge is making sure people know it.?