Industry in the Midlands 2018, part 1: regional investment trends


Our three-part series focusing on industries in the Midlands aims to give you facts and figures concerning key trends from 2017 and potential barriers to growth in 2018.

In this first instalment we draw attention to some great examples of large investment projects which could provide local employment and growth opportunities in 2018.

Investment: positive signs from 2017

We’ve seen some large employers adding to their teams in Birmingham, some significant government investment, and several major infrastructure projects going live.

PwC are extending their capacity to make room for 1,000 more staff compared to where they are housed now in Birmingham. The new building work is due to complete in 2019.

Similarly, the new HSBC banking HQ in Birmingham has filled most of the initial 2,000 jobs it posted. The site aims to employ over 4,000 staff in total, representing a sizeable employment boost for the region. 

Government backing

A sum of £80m has been allocated by the government to support a new engineering facility in the West Midlands, which aims to work on world-leading battery technology. The government says that the hub will provide a crucial new link between R&D and full-scale industrialisation of battery technologies in the UK. 

Infrastructure on the up

Improvements in infrastructure may be encouraging businesses to set up in, or relocate to, the West Midlands. Last year’s Deloitte Birmingham Crane Survey reported a surge in development activity and another record year for office construction with a 50% increase in office space being built over the previous year.

HS2, the body responsible for developing and promoting the UK’s new high-speed rail network, will deliver one of the largest civil engineering projects ever undertaken in the UK.  The £50bn project is expected to benefit the West Midlands, with a redevelopment of Birmingham’s Curzon Street Station just one example of the new projects being kicked off.

Other important infrastructure projects to note:

  • The extension to the Midland Metro linking the Black Country to Birmingham city centre, which is expected to add £50m per year to the region’s economy and create a further 1,500 jobs.
  • The Birmingham Airport runway extension, part of an improvement programme which aims to have Birmingham Airport supporting 19,000 jobs by 2030.

One last piece of positive news: Birmingham has been chosen to host the Gymnastics World Cup this year, bringing together the best athletes from across the world, together with visiting spectators from the UK and overseas.

The overall picture to us looks positive for the Midlands as a region. In the next instalments of this series we’ll look at the region’s economic outlook and potential barriers to growth for businesses. Keep an eye out for updates that could help you stay ahead!

At Growth Street, we know how important SMEs are to the economy in the Midlands. We want growing businesses to have all the financial support they need to grow with confidence. Issues that can challenge any business - such as the rising cost of materials, the continuing need to update machinery to improve productivity, and uncertain demand - can sometimes make it difficult to plan ahead.

We understand these challenges. To try and help combat this, we created GrowthLine, our flagship business finance product. GrowthLine works much like an overdraft: once we give you your facility limit, you can draw down funds and make repayments as often as you like. Find out more about how GrowthLine could help you execute your 2018 growth plans, or start your application with one click.

Head here to read the second part of our series, which focuses on key economic trends to watch out for. You can read our final piece, which focuses on barriers to growth, here.


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Written on in Business Insights