Colors: Purple Color

For the seventh year running, Severn Trent customers are receiving the best value in Britain following an announcement that its bills are still the lowest in the land, and will remain that way until 2020. Planning to spend around £6billion - £1,4000 per household or business, on new pipes, fixing leaks more quickly and much more, including improving the quality of rivers and the environment and reducing sewer flooding. In 2016/17, the average household bill will remain unchanged at £329. 

Member of European Parliament, Neena Gill, recently met with Barclays bank in the West Midlands to discuss support for small and medium sized businesses and online protection for customers. Ms Gill, the Labour member for the West Midlands, spoke after the event saying: “As one of Britain’s biggest lenders Barclays  play a fundamental role in supporting entrepreneurs to set up small businesses and drive the West Midlands’ economy.

The EU and US have reached a deal on data sharing, whereby a US director of national intelligence will sign a pledge that the US government will avoid “indiscriminate mass surveillance” of EU citizens when their data is sent from Europe to the US, referred to as the 'Privacy shield'. This agreement replaces former data-sharing arrangement – 'safe harbour' - used by thousands of companies to transfer highly sensitive personal data.

After winning the prestigious Advisor Firm of the Year award at the New Model Advisor Awards (NMA) 2016, celebrations were in full flow for Midlands based Cooper Parry Wealth. Following its merger with Clement Keys at the turn of the year, the firm managed to beat numerous other wealth management firms to be crowned winner in London.

A ‘Right to Rent’ scheme trialled in Wolverhampton has this week been rolled out nationwide. The new law was first introduced in the city and other parts of the West Midlands in December 2014, and under the legislation landlords could face fines if they rent homes to illegal immigrants without first checking their ‘Right to Rent’. Private landlords have to check the right of prospective tenants to be in the country if they want to avoid potentially being fined up to £3,000 by the Government.

The Black Country Chamber of Commerce aims to double the size of the Black Country economy by the end of 2023. £2.5 billion of this growth can come from transport improvements and Chair of the Chamber’s Transport Group Colin Leighfield responds to some recent good news about Birmingham Airport and sets out businesses’ demands for the coming year.

City of Wolverhampton Council and Centro have highlighted the importance of the planned Metro extension to the city centre’s £120 million Interchange. Preparatory works are expected to start later this year on connecting the existing Metro service from Birmingham with the soon-to-be redeveloped railway station via Pipers Row and Railway Drive. New tram stops are proposed at the railway station, and either side of Pipers Row, near Castle Street, directly outside the bus station.

Leader of the City of Wolverhampton Council, Roger Lawrence has unveiled the New Horizons: Our Vision for the City of Wolverhampton in 2030 to city partners. The document, details how the city can secure a sustainable, successful future for the next generation of Wulfrunians, and was drafted following consultation with key city stakeholders. More than 100 representatives from the business, education and public sectors, from around the city and beyond, saw it launched  at a partners event staged at the City of Wolverhampton Science Park.

Hornsey Town Hall’s future has taken further strides forward, with six bidders shortlisted to present innovative ideas for securing the landmark building for generations to come. The bidders were selected from a host of interested groups, who were each asked to complete a detailed "pre-qualification questionnaire"  highlighting their experience of delivering projects with community benefits. Responses were thoroughly evaluated by the council, the Hornsey Town Hall Creative Trust and property experts GVA.

Almost a half a million female and ethnic minority jobseekers in the finance and IT sectors will not be considered for roles this year purely because of the name on their CV, according to Nottx.com, the UK’s only ‘name-blind’ headhunting platform. The service is applicable to any job applicant, regardless of gender or ethnicity, who wants to work in a diverse workplace, but is especially useful to talented female and ethnic minority job seekers.

A host of community causes have already received a funding boost from Haringey Council’s new ward budget scheme, just six months after it launched. Each of the borough’s wards have been allocated £10,000 to spend on neighbourhood projects under the programme, which launched in July – with local people putting forward ideas on what it should fund.

Figures from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) today reveal that construction employment in the West Midlands is set to rise by 10,200 in the next five years, with an estimated total of 215,000 jobs predicted in the region by 2020. CITB’s Construction Skills Network (CSN) report forecasts that employment is set to rise at an annual average rate of 1% between 2016 and 2020, with the labouring trade seeing the largest expansion at a rate of 3.7%, followed by bricklayers (3.2%), steel erectors (3.1%) and civil engineers (3%).

Business students at Walsall College had an insight into the inner workings of global banking, with an industry presentation delivered by the Swedish bank, Handelsbanken. The branch manager at Handelsbanken’s recently opened Walsall office, Stephen Breen, along with his colleague Joanna Warburton, from the Regional Personnel department, visited the college’s business hub on Thursday 21st January and gave an inspiring talk to a class of students.