City council leader Mike Whitby last night set out his vision for Birmingham as a global city with a local heart.
He pledged to continue to develop international links in an effort to draw in business and jobs, while offering valuefor-money public services on the domestic front.
Giving the first State of the City address to a meeting of the full city council, Coun Whitby (Con Harborne) said he wanted to nurture a Birmingham of inclusivity while outlawing political correctness.
Highlighting 14 months of control by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition, Coun Whitby said the council housing department had been transformed, winning a onestar ranking from the Government, and there were hopes that the previously failing social services department would be similarly recognised.
He said Birmingham had opened up important international links with America, India and China.
It was imperative to present Birmingham as a global player in order to attract inward investment, he said.
"We have built new relationships with Chicago and we have been shortlisted by American Airlines who are seriously considering reopening direct flights to Birmingham International Airport.
"Next year we will hold a major international conference on the relevance of tall buildings in modern cities.
"We have a memorandum of understanding with China and a dedicated China task force. There are already 2,500 Chinese students in Birmingham and more will be coming."
The council was determined to address the needs of all communities, he said.
Examples of inclusivity included festivals marking St Patrick's Day, VE Day, VJ Day and Trafalgar Day. "Everyone is invited, there is no political correctness," Coun Whitby added.
His comments were dismissed by Labour councillors, who castigated the coalition as ditherers unable to take important decisions.
Coun Ian Ward (Shard End), deputy Labour group leader, said: "The really big decisions haven't been taken. The highways private finance initiative is bogged down, the metro extension is bogged down and there is more congestion in this city because bus lanes have been suspended."