When Alistair Darling gets to his feet to deliver the 2009 budget, Birmingham will hold its breath to see just what it means for the city which has seen the biggest increase in Job Seekers’ Allowance claimants in the past year.
Analysis from The Work Foundation revealed there was an increase of 12,383 claimants in the city in the 12 months to February.
With hundreds of people losing jobs here every week, and manufacturing at the heart of the crisis, it is, as Birmingham Chamber’s John Lamb says, no surprise to see we have been hit the hardest.
He goes further by reminding us that history shows once you lose your skill base it doesn’t return that easily.
Businesses are struggling and the last thing any of them want to do is lose their skilled workers.
Most businesses are trying to avoid adding to job losses, but without an upturn in their prospects they are soon going to be left with little choice but to let staff go.
Naomi Clayton, who led the study into how the recession has affected cities, warns the Government not to forget how important conurbations like Birmingham are if we are to recover from this economic malaise.
“Policymakers ignore how recessions play out locally at their peril,” she says, and adds: “It is to be hoped that the forthcoming budget focuses much more attention on the large cities – Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham – that can drive the recovery, as well as recognising which areas need the most support to survive and prepare for better times.”
It is a sentiment that we as a paper which has been campaigning for a rescue package for Jaguar Land Rover can only condone.