A new agenda for Birmingham

While we’re on the subject of new agendas, I’ll be posting shortly my speech to the Be Birmingham conference this morning, trailed in the Birmingham Post yesterday. The argument was blunt. In the 19th century we were called ‘the best governed city in the world’. I say that we should set that as our ambition again. We could be leaders in new industries like digital, low carbon and life sciences. And we can open new jobs to citizens from all corners of Birmingham if we use the £1 billion we’re given on education and skills spending better. And with the new wealth its possible to create we can renew our communities, starting with stronger community justice and a renaissance of home-building.

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2 Responses

  1. A very strong agenda Liam. I think there is great power in fostering joined up government and community empowerment at a ‘city-state level’. With Birmingham having great people, location and resources, in combintation with initiatives such as Science City, Digital Birmingham & Destination Birmigham there is a great opportunity to put the region on the global map as a key hub for knowledge, information and leisure, whilst generating direct economic and social benefit for the people of Birmingham.

  2. I was at the conference: your speech was very much to the point. Though the event was well-organised and timely, what we need now is more attention to the “How To?” question. The effects of this recession will be far-reaching, the challenges for public spending will be considerable; but these issues present the opportunity for radical change in public service delivery models, for investment in social capital to replace centrally prescribed and funded service delivery, and for the rehabilitation of human values as a legitimate subject of discussion in public service.

    New service models will not emerge without a catalyst, but central government is precluded from being that catalyst by the very dependency its interventions create. Birmingham’s partnerships must shift from being “artificial friendships” to being enterprising alliances of the brave, empowered to be so by central government. I am hoping that your speech signals a new approach.

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