(February 2017) Productivity and Skills Commission (April 2018) and
Leadership Commission (2018).
Most recently, the CA worked with BEIS to produce the country’s
first Local Industrial Strategy (May 2019) which sets out how the
West Midlands will meet the Future of Mobility Grand Challenge as
the centre of transport innovation in the UK; develop new market
opportunities in data driven health and life sciences; build on the
five foundations of productivity, including targeted action on skills,
housing and transport with plans to drive up levels of business
innovation and the commercialisation of research and development;
and make sure all communities can contribute to and benefit from
economic prosperity. The focus on inclusive growth is supported by the
CA establishing an Inclusive Growth Unit and decision making tool.
In May 2017, the West Midlands elected Andy Street as the first Mayor
of the WMCA. Prior to becoming mayor, Andy combined a career
at John Lewis with a number of economic roles in the public sector,
notably chairing the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise
Partnership (GBSLEP) between 2011 and 2016.
Mr Street has placed himself squarely as a mayor who wants to
tackle the challenges identified above head on. His renewal plan for
the region, published prior to him becoming mayor, described the
challenges he faced in the following terms:
“We must not squander this opportunity. The region faces
a stark choice: do we embrace this renaissance by growing
the economy in a way which benefits everybody and become
Britain’s beating economic heart? Or, do we look backwards?
There is only one answer. If I’m the Mayor, I will work
tirelessly to make this happen.”
Latest data, as outlined in the CA’s latest State of the Region report
(published July 2019) outlines several positive developments for the
region: “The West Midlands is experiencing an economic renaissance
bucking the trend of other areas outside London. GVA, the measure
we use to assess the value of goods and services in an area, is growing