I’m delighted to read that it looks as though the main business-support organisations in Birmingham (the Chamber and Birmingham Forward) are to ‘get off the fence’ and support the principle of an elected mayor. On a day when the latest ONS figures show that unemployment in Birmingham now stands at 12.8%, with over 50,000 people out of work, it’s clear that business led economic growth is fundamental to the future success of this city. And if the route to greater control over ‘total place’ budgets, skills, TIF schemes and all the other levers of ‘local control’ is through us electing an elected mayor, then we need a resounding ‘yes’ result at the referendum in May.
Incidentally, a credible candidate from the business community, whether affiliated to a political party or standing as an independent, could prove to be a strong contender for the job in Birmingham. If the Chamber’s new stance on this issue results in someone who has worked in business throwing their hat into the ring, then the race to become Birmingham’s first elected mayor could become even more interesting.