Colors: Purple Color

Business leaders in Greater Birmingham have urged the Government to deliver on the promise of a “truly regional approach” to its Industrial Strategy by committing to significant investment in the Midlands. The Government today unveiled its vision for a modern Industrial Strategy, with an emphasis on building on the UK’s strengths and extending excellence into the future, closing the productivity and wealth gap between different regions and driving growth more evenly across the country.

With people returning to their normal daily routines after the festive period, new research from Santander reveals that an eye watering £3.8 billion was overspent on presents during the festive period, equivalent to £78 per person.  Consequently, two fifths (38 per cent) of adults will make cutbacks this month in order to save money post their Christmas splurge. A fifth (20 per cent) vow to spend less on going out, and a similar proportion (18 per cent) plan to spend less on food and drink.

Full refurbishment works on Wolverhampton’s Civic Halls will get underway on Monday after City of Wolverhampton Council appointed a contractor. Enabling works for the £14.4 million refurbishment of the Grade II listed venue were completed last year. Shaylor Group has now been handed the job of delivering the remainder of the scheme that will see major changes made to the Civic Hall and Wulfrun Hall in phases.

Sandwell councillors have backed a motion calling for a fairer deal for women born in the 1950s affected by a reduction in the state pension age. Representatives from campaign group Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) joined Sandwell's full council meeting this week to hear the motion put forward. Councillor Syeda Khatun, the council's deputy leader, thanked the women for attending the meeting and praised their ongoing campaign efforts. 

Midlands companies in the fashion, giftware and creative sectors that are looking to export for the first time are being invited to join a Midlands Engine visit to the Czech Republic. Organised by the Department for International Trade (DIT) Midlands team, the three-day Export Insight Visit (EIV) visit to Prague is specifically designed to help consumer sector businesses in the Midlands Engine region that have little or no experience of overseas trade.

The Karachi Kings is the biggest and most supported team in the HBL PSL. Proudly owned by Mr. Salman Iqbal, who is also the Founder and President of ARY Digital Network. Karachi Kings is a manifestation of the multicultural metropolis that is Karachi, the heart and soul of Pakistan. The team along with leading fashion apparel brand Cotton and Cotton launched its exclusive line of clothing for its fans today.

Organised crime, cyber security, opportunities for young people and the multi-million pound police budget were on the agenda at West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner’s Business Summit. David Jamieson hosted the summit at Lloyd House in Birmingham. As well as the PCC, speakers included Assistant PCC Ashley Bertie, who discussed the Commission on Gangs and Violence; Superintendent Keith Fraser, who is the business lead for West Midlands Police; Anna-Maria McAuliffe from Wolverhampton Business Crime Reduction Partnership; Waheed Saleem from the Commissioner’s Strategic Policing and Crime Board; and PCC Chief Finance Officer Mark Kenyon.

Business leaders in Greater Birmingham say there are “many areas” which require more clarity before they are satisfied with Theresa May’s approach towards Brexit. The Prime Minster set out her negotiating priorities as part of a 12-point Brexit plan – stating that trade, defence, immigration and law enforcement would be at the forefront. Mrs May confirmed Britain will seek a deal within two years but promised a “phased approach to implementation.”

In response to UK labour market figures, John Hawksworth, chief economist at pricewaterhousecoopers, commented:  "The previously booming UK labour market continues to show signs of cooling in the aftermath of the Brexit vote, with the number of people in work down slightly in the three months to November compared to the previous three months. It is true that the unemployment rate remained at an 11- year low of 4.8%, while the actual number of people unemployed fell, but this was matched by a rise in economic inactivity rather than more people in jobs."

The British Safety Council has launched a free, special one-year 60th Anniversary Supporter offer for small organisations and charities to help them manage health, safety and environmental risks. Responding to the challenges of time, resources and the shortage of health and safety expertise among the smallest companies, the British Safety Council is inviting small and micro-sized organisations (under 50 employees) and small charities (under 100 employees) from across the world, to join it as Supporters.

It’s a story which went viral as a food store, renowned for attracting customers from near and far afield was heavily fined under hygiene laws as evidence of mouse activity throughout the premises and gnawed food packaging was found, in the store room, after an inspection by Birmingham City Council officers. The store, on Dudley Road, in Winson Green, was shown to have potential pest entry points in the toilet area and evidence of a fly infestation. The toilet area was dirty and food was stored there.

The Birmingham office of national law firm Clarke Willmott LLP has announced its charity of the year for 2017 will be Sport 4 Life, an organisation committed to positive change for some of the region’s disadvantaged young people. Currently celebrating its 10th anniversary, Sport 4 Life is the leading youth and sports charity in Birmingham. Founded in 2006 as a small community project in Ladywood, Sport 4 Life has developed into an important charity, dedicated to changing the lives of Birmingham’s most disadvantaged young people through the power of sport.

A Worcestershire company that has developed the world’s first smart technology electric actuator to control industrial valves has officially launched its unique product and already has a full order booked for 2017. Malvern-based Smart Actuator Company, producer of the energy efficient smart technology electric actuator, returned to Valve World in Dusseldorf in December to launch the product and two other models.

The Clearing is a vision of the future, coming to the grounds of Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park from March to December 2017. British artists Alex Hartley and Tom James are creating a living, breathing encampment in the shadow of a stately home on the shores of an idyllic lake, where people can come together to explore at first hand a future afflicted by climate change. And they need your help.

Leading home assistance provider HomeServe has been named the UK’s best home emergency cover provider for the third year running – and been honoured with a rare “Triple Gold” award – by independent personal finance website Moneynet. Moneynet handed Walsall-based HomeServe the Triple Gold award as part of its seventh annual personal finance awards, which recognise the UK’s top financial services providers over the last 12 months. HomeServe has achieved top spot in the category in 2015, 2016 and now 2017.

Black Country Chamber of Commerce is celebrating Futura Design as Member of the Week after 12 members of staff recently took part in an extensive first aid training course at their premises in Oldbury, highlighting the business’ commitment to upskilling their workforce. Led by Geraint Tilliot of Lifeline First Aid Training, the Futura team learnt a wide range of first aid skills during the course. After grasping the basics of CPR, the team spent time practicing their technique on the state-of-the-art first aid manikins, which were provided by Lifeline.