This is the second report by the New Policy Institute about the state of ‘economic justice’ in Birmingham and the four local authority areas of Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and  Wolverhampton that make up the Black Country. It sets out how different groups are experiencing economic wealth and opportunity, and the ongoing systemic and structural barriers faced by many in achieving financial resilience. Using data from a range of sources, it explores and highlights the extent to which economic prosperity is felt equally across the population. The research was supported by the Barrow Cadbury Trust, an independent charitable foundation with a long-standing connection to Birmingham and the Black Country.

As the UK’s second city, Birmingham – with the Black Country alongside it – fully merits sustained attention. Second cities like Lyon, Barcelona, Milan or Munich are centres of national economic strength. Birmingham and the Black Country were once that too.
Fifty years ago, economic output per head in the West Midlands was above the national average. Now it is one sixth below it. Most of the fall took place before the late 1990s. Since then, Birmingham’s economy has almost held its own in national terms, but the
Black Country’s has fallen further still. This economic weakness lies behind the high levels of poverty and deprivation documented in the first report. Presenting evidence of problems does not put them right but getting them recognised, both locally, regionally and nationally, is the first step towards doing so.

Click here to view the full report.