West Midlands Chambers publish business manifesto for elected Mayor

Three West Midlands Chambers of Commerce have united to produce a business blueprint for the work of the West Midlands elected Mayor.
 
The chambers of Greater Birmingham, the Black Country and Coventry & Warwickshire have outlined in their own manifesto what they expect from whoever secures the ballot, which takes place on May 4.
 
Business Priorities 2017: Vision for a West Midlands Mayor sets out the priorities and actions the three chambers want the elected Mayor to deliver.

The headline areas are:
 
·         Providing vision, leadership and promotion
·         Making the West Midlands the best possible place to do business
·         Developing world-class transport infrastructure
·         Ensuring a skills ecosystem fit for the future
·         Fostering a greater place to live, work and visit
·         Leading the region through Brexit
 
The manifesto has been written in partnership between the three chambers and developed in consultation with their members.
 
A poll of businesses across the region helped to identify priorities. These are that a WMCA Mayor should:
 
·         Demand a fair share of funding for the region from the UK Government (88%).
·         Promote the region on a national and international stage to Government, investors and visitors (85%).
·         Prioritise improving transport connectivity across the region (78%).
·         Prioritise closing gaps between the needs of businesses and the skills available in the labour market (78%).
 
Paul Faulkner, chief executive of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, said: “I am delighted to be working with our fellow Chambers on this united vision for business.
 
“While our region, and our region’s businesses, are admirably diverse, there are strong shared needs and objectives common to all. This document sets out clearly and concisely the key areas which we want to see the successful West Midlands Mayor deliver on.”
 
The three chambers represent a powerful lobby – between them they have more than 5,000 members.
 
“The West Midlands Mayor elections represent a historic opportunity for the region. We look forward to continuing using this document to promote pro-business policies with the candidates,” said Mr Faulkner.
 
“We will also be working hard to raise awareness of the elections amongst the business community. These elections are an opportunity for every eligible voter to shape the region’s future.”
 
With just eight weeks until polling day, awareness of the election is growing but all candidates – and their supporters – are urging as many people as possible to vote.

The election campaign has been something of a slow burner. A poll conducted in November of 500 GBCC members suggested almost half (49%) of firms were not even aware an election was takeing place.

In addition, 59% businesses said they did not feel well informed about either the West Midlands Combined Authority or the elected Mayor.