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GBSLEP Chair Tim Pile reaction to £66 million Getting Building Fund announcement

It has never been more important to invest in innovation, whilst focusing on market needs and sector strengths which are unique to our region, generating new ideas and solutions, thus creating new highly skilled jobs for the benefit of everyone who lives and works here. Locally developed and led projects of this nature have a crucial role to play in bouncing back from the challenging circumstances we currently face and improving our future resilience.

GBSLEP are extremely proud to have been able to play our part in securing funding for three strategically significant projects via the Government’s Getting Building Fund. These projects will be of enormous benefit to our region and indeed the wider West Midlands economy for many years to come.

In Greater Birmingham, £10.8m will provide innovation spaces and research laboratories at the Birmingham Health Innovation Campus, £1m will go towards WM5G’s work with small and medium sized business to develop ground-breaking apps and £15.1m will be invested towards the redevelopment of University Station in Edgbaston.

Life sciences and healthcare has been one of the fastest growing sectors within the West Midlands in recent years and presents a huge opportuntity for further growth in a sector that will be a key driver of sustainable economic growth in the future. The region already boasts world class expertise and facilities, the Birmingham Health Innovation Campus will further cement the region’s strengths by driving healthcare innovation and the development of new technologies. Putting the patient at the heart of activity, these innovative new solutions will address prevalent health burdens not only in our region’s population but the rest of the UK and potentially the wider world.

WM5G will work directly with SMEs to harness the power of 5G to deliver growth and innovation throughout the West Midlands and beyond. Utlising cutting-edge facilities, the 5G Application Accelerator (AA) – the UK’s first commercial 5G accelerator centre bringing together the private and public sectors to develop innovative and ambitious 5G solutions – will increase take-up and maximise benefits from 5G technologies significantly, creating additional jobs and bringing new products and services to market.

The redevelopment of University Station will enable seven million passengers a year (the station was originally planned to serve 400,000!) to use one of Birmingham’s busiest stations, whilst improving operational efficiency and service reliability. The upgraded station will not only feature as a key gateway for welcoming visitors to the Commonwealth Games in 2022 but will vastly improve the experience of those using the station as part of their daily lives.

Bringing together local partners to guide local recovery will ensure real and sustainable levelling up of the economy. All three of these projects have a critical role to play in the region’s recovery, creating new jobs and stimulating innovation whilst also driving forward the region’s ambitions to become a globally recognised centre for creativity and innovation.

LEPs, working closely with partners, have an unrivalled understanding of, and insight into, the needs of their local economies. The foundations which LEPs are building for local recovery were set out in their Five Point Plan published last week. Our role at GBSLEP is to help bring to bear investments like these, which drive growth, raise quality of life and enable the full potential of the West Midlands to be realised. We’re delighted to see recognition of the impact that can be made by these investments with the Government’s announcement of funding today.