Grant Thornton urges local organisations to make their voices heard

David Hillan, Practice Leader, Grant Thornton Birmingham

Business and finance adviser Grant Thornton UK LLP in Birmingham is urging organisations across the West Midlands to add their voices to its manifesto for a vibrant economy.

The manifesto, which will be presented to the next government immediately after the election in June, will provide a set of recommendations to help unlock the UK’s full potential using feedback from a series of discussions and events held across the country.

David Hillan, practice leader at Grant Thornton in Birmingham, said: “Over the last 18 months, Grant Thornton has been exploring how the firm can help build a vibrant economy in the UK. In January we convened our West Midlands Inquiry at Villa Park, which highlighted several issues that we need to address as a region, from strengthening links between business and education and improving integrated transport systems to building the West Midlands’ profile on an international stage. Programmes to enhance health, wellbeing and happiness across the region were also profiled as vital, which echoed the findings of the region’s Vibrant Economy Index.”

Grant Thornton’s Vibrant Economy Index measures 52 indicators of performance across local authority areas, tracking factors that enable businesses, communities and individuals to thrive. These include economic measures such as Gross Value Added, educational attainment and average incomes, and combines them with data around fuel poverty, obesity levels, air quality and crime rates to give a picture of how a place is performing overall.

While the scores for economic prosperity, dynamism and opportunity across the West Midlands demonstrated that the region is in rude financial health, several areas across the region were below average in health, wellbeing and happiness, which examines issues such as sports participation, levels of obesity, prevalence of diabetes, average life expectancy and anxiety. Where 100 is the average, Birmingham scored 94.16; Stoke-on-Trent 92.42; Walsall 92.05; Sandwell 91.2; and Wolverhampton 89.2.

Hillan continued: “The general election announcement has come at a critical juncture in the UK’s journey towards life outside the EU and provides us with an opportunity to shape our future. We believe that there’s a broad consensus emerging across sectors and cities around the key priorities and a desire and willingness to work together with government to deliver them. A vision is emerging of creating a prosperous UK by building the most collaborative, open, trusted and connected economy in the world.

“Government policy will be essential to unlocking the UK’s potential and creating a vibrant and prosperous economy for all. There are many organisations who struggle to get their issues and thoughts aired and we would love to hear the views of private, public and third sector organisations across the West Midlands and I encourage them to add their voices to ours.”

Anyone wishing to contribute their ideas to Grant Thornton’s manifesto for a vibrant economy can do so by reading Grant Thornton’s draft manifesto and submitting comments by 31st May 2017.