In case you missed it, yesterday the jazzily-titled West Midlands Joint Strategy & Investment Board (that's WMJS&IB to you and me from now on) issued a 'statement' (see above pic). This 'statement,' which you can read for yourself here, says that, in a nutshell, the members of WMJS&IB are committed to improving the regional economy.
I have mixed feelings about quangos like the WMJS&IB and 'statements,' not least because it feels somehow disloyal to knock anything that is trying to improve the region (let's face it: there are plenty of bashers out there already). So let's start with the positives. It should go without saying that anyone trying to do anything to improve our lot in these moribund economic times should be applauded. So well done WMJS&IB. And I particularly welcome an organisation that steps up to the plate to co-ordinate support for HS2, something I said was urgently needed a while back.
And now come the 'but's'. I absolutely support the aims of the WMJS&IB. But I wonder whether what is essentially a collective of public sector bods (with a token private sector presence) is really ever going bring about real economic change, especially the kind needed to breathe new life into the commercial property sector.
It is a good thing to communicate. But how many 'statements' have we seen before? What we really need is action. Right Now. The kind of action that delivers real results. I acknowledge that the WMJS&IB has grasped this point and is working on some quick wins. Funding for the Birmingham International Airport extension, brilliant. Construction of a manufacturing technology centre at Ansty, great. A new 'Regional Statement of Skills Priorities,' er.... I'm sorry, but I don't think another 'statement' on skills is the kind of action the property sector either wants or needs.
So here's a 'statement' of my own: I'm going to keep a close eye on WMJS&IB from now on and will be reporting on its progress, good, bad or indifferent. Watch this space. And, in the meantime, I'd welcome your views on the WMJS&IB - just post a reply back to this blog.