Birmingham Airport has welcomed The Chancellor’s announcement to give Birmingham’s economy a £2.8b annual boost by creating the UK’s largest city centre Enterprise Zone, and calls for the Government to recognise the importance of regional connectivity to support such ventures.
Announced by The Rt Hon George Osborne MP, on Friday 22nd February, the funding will be through the Birmingham and Solihull LEP to provide a new international finance centre in the UK and create 40,000 new jobs, helping to establish Birmingham as an alternative to London for international investment and help towards rebalancing the economy.
However, to maximise the potential of such plans, the city must have global connectivity to attract overseas investors from China and the United States.
Paul Kehoe, Chief Executive of Birmingham Airport, said:
“International connectivity plays a vital role in facilitating the economic growth of a region. At the Airport, we are committed to playing our part and are working closely with businesses and the LEP to maximise the growth potential of the Midlands as the manufacturing heartland of the UK economy.
“The Enterprise Zone is a clear demonstration that this city means business, but maximising this potential also requires intelligent investment in our transport infrastructure.
“Birmingham Airport’s runway extension, set to open next year, will allow us to fly direct to long-haul destinations in Asia and the West Coast of the US. Securing direct long-haul connectivity from Birmingham Airport will enable overseas investors to fly directly into the city that they’re doing business with, bringing with them jobs and growth.
“Through the Airport Commission we hope to see national airports, like Birmingham, recognised as vital to the future success of UK aviation policy to connect global business and rebalance the economy.”
The Enterprise Zone is a significant first step towards giving Birmingham autonomy over its economic destiny and will help to propel Birmingham onto the global stage. By competing with European rival cities, Birmingham can build on its successful track record that has seen it attract a 37% increase in inward investment projects, against a fall of 2% nationally.