Colors: Purple Color

A free trade agreement between the UK and India would increase trade between the countries by 25 per cent, new research undertaken by the Commonwealth shows. If implemented post-Brexit, UK’s exports to India would increase by 50 per cent, from $5.2 billion to $7.8 billion, according to the research estimates. Exports of UK products such as cars, beverages and spirits are expected to rise.  The Commonwealth also predicts a 12 per cent annual increase in India’s exports to the UK.

Birmingham has already achieved international renown as the UK's second city, but now new data from revolutionary trading platform has revealed that "Brum" is beating other second cities around the world when it comes to off-plan property investment. There's no doubting Birmingham's popularity as a travel destination. Birmingham International Airport has recorded 19 consecutive months of record-breaking growth, with 1,207,796 passengers travelling through the airport in September 2016 alone, up by 15.8% on the previous September.

New member of The Platinum Group – Service Sector, Wolverhampton Grand Theatre recently showcased their fabulous new makeover at a series of popular networking evenings. They have proved very successful and allow local business leaders to develop their relationships in a relaxed and informal manner, whilst enjoying a night at the theatre in a wonderful setting. With the new makeover come numerous opportunities for businesses to utilise the theatre as part of their promotional, conferencing or hospitality plans.

Black Country Chamber of Commerce is getting ready for the sell-out Annual Awards Dinner on 18th November at Wolverhampton Racecourse. With places selling out in record time and over 450 guests ready to join in the celebrations, this event is set to be a huge success. The Black Country Chamber of Commerce Awards Dinner, sponsored by voestalpine Metsec plc, is a perfect opportunity to celebrate and reward the excellent businesses in the Black Country.

With a platform which included a stronger enforcement of immigration laws together with building a wall along the Mexico border, reform of veterans' care, repeal and tax cuts, plus renegotiation of trade deals with China, the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, takes office.

As millions around the world rise to the plebiscite exacted upon the new Trump Administration, the consequential effects of such a national decision would be subjects for analysis, discussion and debate for years to come. Over 50% of Americans rejected the conventional wisdom of ‘establishment politics’ by replacing it with an ‘untested’ media-savvy corporate approach, as the proletariat class swung the pendulum.

The Leader and Chief Executive of Birmingham City Council have responded to the latest letter to the current Secretary of State, Sajid Javid, welcoming the recognition of the progress the council is making. The Leader of the council, Councillor John Clancy, said: “I welcome the panel’s acknowledgment, just two years into a five-year improvement programme, that Birmingham City Council has already made considerable progress.

Most cities in the Midlands are performing above the UK average, according to the latest 2016 Good Growth for Cities Index, produced by PwC and the think-tank, Demos. The fifth annual Good Growth index measures the performance of 42 of the UK’s largest cities, England’s Local Enterprise Partnerships LEPs  and the new Combined Authorities against a basket of categories defined by the public and business as key to local socio-economic success.

Sandwell’s adult social care chief has given the thumbs-up to a new extra care housing development in West Bromwich during a visit to meet residents and others who attend activities there. Councillor Ann Shackleton, the council’s cabinet member for social care, said everyone she met at Oakley Gardens seemed happy and settled. Developed in partnership with Housing and Care 21, Oakley Gardens is set within landscaped gardens and has 81 one and two-bedroom apartments for residents aged 55 and over with care and support needs.

Retailers and business owners in Seychelles this week had the opportunity to voice concerns and ask questions of environment officials ahead of the ban on plastic that begins in January. The Principal Secretary for Environment Alain Decommarmond said the dialogue was important “to ensure there is a smooth transition so that we can meet the January deadline without any problems.”

A new dedicated online space for investors to buy, sell and compare available buy-to-let properties has been launched by estate agency firm Leaders. It brings together the UK’s largest selection of buy-to-let properties for sale, including properties available through Leaders’ sister company Romans, each of which has been identified as having outstanding investment potential, making it easy for investors to search and compare the best buy-to-let options.

Walsall College is looking to speak to businesses who would like to take students on for one-week work experience placements to support young people to develop their employability skills and potentially secure new talent for their organisation. The college’s work experience scheme enables employers to meet and inspire prospective and enthusiastic candidates who are learning the skills identified as key to their industry, and benefit from any new ideas students can bring to their organisation.

Voluntary organisations are being urged to apply for a grant to help them provide free after-school clubs and play schemes for Sandwell children. The council is looking for not-for-profit groups to run sessions across Sandwell for children aged between six and 12, and for up to 16-year-olds with additional needs. The Local Play Services Play Grant, which is worth a minimum of £40,000 a year for each of Sandwell’s six towns, will fund independent projects between April 2017 and March 2020.

An air of uncertainty still looms over parts of the Midlands commercial property market but much of with the region has shown some tentative signs of optimism post Brexit, according to the latest RICS Commercial Market Survey. On the whole the commercial property market across the Midlands has started showing some signs of recovery. Occupier demand edged up in Q3 with 21% more respondents reporting a rise in demand at an all sector level (up from 7% in Q2).