Karen Finlayson, Risk Partner and Regional Lead for Government, looks at how the 2022 Commonwealth Games can help bring economic growth to Birmingham.
Our latest Demos-PwC Good Growth for Cities Index of economic wellbeing discussed how, while Birmingham has had a great record attracting inward investment in recent years, there is still more to be done to ensure that growth in the city is sufficiently inclusive.
The report looked at how well positioned UK cities are for economic recovery and what steps government, businesses and local leaders can take together to drive growth. A series of indicators including safety, income distribution, income, health, work-life balance, environment, transport, jobs, high street and shops, housing, skills and new businesses were weighted relative to how important they are considered by the public.
An area of concern in Birmingham’s performance in the index was its access to jobs, where the city ranked near the bottom in the analysis. The Commonwealth Games will directly help to address this by bringing much needed opportunity to the area.
But, the Games will be responsible for bringing more than just jobs to the city, it will bring economic stimulation and long-term economic and social benefits to the whole area - from a boost in tourism to the associated infrastructure improvements. It will be the largest event ever staged in the history of the city and the region, which will also be unique in achieving a number of other firsts: showcasing the largest ever female and para-sport programme in history, while also striving to become the most sustainable Games yet.
Birmingham’s challenge will be ensuring that the benefits of hosting the Games are felt by those who need it most. The city has a young and growing population, but unemployment is double the national average, and there is a decade's gap in life expectancy between the poorest and most affluent areas.
Birmingham’s levelling up ambitions were set out in the council’s ‘blueprint for inclusive and sustainable growth’. City leaders hope that “the Commonwealth Games will kick off a ‘golden decade of opportunity’ for the city.” As a proud Supporter of the Birmingham 2022 Games, we are confident that the Games, and its planned legacy, can support this vision and bring opportunities to accelerate the redefinition of the West Midlands on national and international stages.