The second ‘State of Economic Justice in Birmingham and the Black Country’, authored by the New Policy Institute and supported by the Trust, revisits themes and data from the first report, whilst incorporating current concerns and interests of local stakeholders.
The majority of data analysis took place pre COVID-19, but figures which were already worrying took on increased weightiness in the context of the pandemic. Over recent years, levels of deprivation across Birmingham and the Black Country have, at least in relative terms, worsened, with some populations faring much worse than others.
The deep and chronic disadvantage described in the report can, however, be alleviated if those with their hands on the economic levers – regional and local authorities, local enterprise partnerships and large employers – explicitly address the question of how economic benefits are distributed.
According to Sara Llewellin, CEO at Barrow Cadbury Trust:
“Many people were already struggling to manage on low incomes, but job loss, reduced savings and high unemployment, mean that many who just about got by before will now find themselves in need in a way they never imagined.
Challenges will be deeper and local authorities, statutory bodies, private business, social enterprise, faith groups and the voluntary sector across Birmingham and the Black Country will have to be creative and collaborative in ways never seen before. There are enormous challenges ahead and we hope this report provides evidence to assist action, target resources and attract additional attention to the region from a range of audiences. We are well aware both of the challenges facing stakeholders in Birmingham and the Black Country, but also the assets and wonderful work that is already being delivered by so many of those we know and respect”.