It was never very likely that the Government’s Regional Growth Fund would be able to do very much more than offer limited, but nevertheless welcome, financial assistance for industry at a broad strategic level.
Bids from across the country for a share of the pot stood at £2.78 billion, with requests totalling £459 million from the West Midlands alone.
Since the total aid available for the whole country stood at £300 million, most organisations requesting a share of the RGF were bound to be disappointed.
Labour got its attack in before the latest RGF allocations were announced, condemning the whole process as a disaster and demanding that an additional £200 million be made available.
Such posturing can only come from an opposition party, and in this case a party on whose watch Britain’ descended into mind-boggling debt.
It is highly unlikely, if Ed Milliband were Prime Minister, that the RGF would be significantly larger, such is the parlous state of the country’s finances.
Birmingham and the West Midlands will have to be thankful for small mercies, and hope that the RGF money handed to the region can be galvanised to reduce high unemployment and boost consumer spending.
Several of the schemes benefitting from the RGF have been at the top of a wish list of projects drawn up by council and business leaders for a long time.
These include Birmingham Airport’s runway extension, allowing non-stop flights to take place to China, India and the west coast of America, and a research and development centre for Jaguar Land Rover.
Another long-held ambition, re-starting car production at Longbridge, was also realised this week with the first of a new breed of competitively priced MGs rolling off the track.
This can only be good news for the Birmingham economy, and hopefully will prove to be a catalyst in delivering regeneration of the vast Longbridge site.
The airport runway extension, which must be seen in conjunction with the planned high speed rail link between Birmingham and London will, in theory, offer a tremendous boost to the regional economy by making the West Midlands more easily accessible to global businesses.
The only caveat, as the airport itself admits, is that the longer runway and high speed rail must be actively championed and sold to inward-investors as a good thing.
No one should imagine that airlines will automatically want to come to Birmingham simply because the airport has a longer runway.
Similarly, it is not a God-given fact that a high speed rail line will necessarily bring investment into the West Midlands – the trains will run in both directions, also making the attractions of London more easily accessible from Birmingham.
And if anyone doubts the need for this region to promote itself as never before, consider embryonic plans to connect Oxford, Milton Keynes and Cambridge by motorway, with the aim of creating thousands of new jobs in Britain’s Silicon Valley?
Whatever, one might ask, happened to Birmingham’s Central Technology Belt, a strip of modern high-tech industries stretching along the A38 to Malvern?
The answer is that nothing very much has happened to turn such an ambitious plan into reality and that sites earmarked for technology companies are more likely to become housing estates or be used for other purposes.
In the present climate, this has been a good week for Birmingham.
But the challenges that lay ahead in terms of generating jobs and wealth must not and cannot be under estimated.