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Birmingham

Heseltine offers hope of return to Birmingham’s glory days

Comment from Jones Lang LaSalle's Midlands Chairman


Birmingham, 31 October 2012 - Jan Thompson, Midlands Chairman of Jones Lang LaSalle said he was enthused to hear Lord Heseltine tell a city audience that the government’s obsession with London must change. Heseltine’s trenchant comments in his report, called No Stone Unturned: In pursuit of growth, also offered hope that the country’s major regional urban centres, such as Birmingham, would regain the economic power they once had. 
 
Jan Thompson said: “I was delighted that Lord Heseltine decided our wonderful old Town Hall was the right place to unveil his review, rather than the House of Commons, because regional strategy is at the heart of his analysis.
 
“Birmingham, along with other major regional cities, has been trying long and hard to dilute the London-centric focus of successive governments on many strategic issues, particularly the need for significant infrastructure investment in roads and airports outside the South-East.
 
“Perhaps the coalition, which commissioned Lord Heseltine’s review, will accept his view that cities such as ours should have much more of a say in the way in which national revenues are distributed, and that the Regional Growth Fund needs increasing significantly.”
 
Thompson was equally pleased to hear Heseltine’s comment that Local Enterprise Partnerships needed greater financial resources, to allow them to create the jobs which the country’s flagging economy so badly needs.
 
“I’m a great believer in public-private partnerships, and the LEPs are a great idea, but in terms of wealth creation, it made no sense to abolish AWM - with an annual budget north of £300m -  then expect a LEP network in its present under-funded form to match its achievements.
 
“The review also rightly points out that Chambers of Commerce should be freed up to take a more strategic role in their regions, and as we have the oldest and the biggest chamber in the country, Birmingham can only benefit from such an approach.”