With inflation touching double figures, and a currency in freefall, it is easy to think it’s all bad news. But, is there an upside? Maybe.
Whilst not part of the plan, a weak pound – if sustained over a longer period – will make the UK more attractive for international investors, as well as benefitting exporters.
There is now be a golden opportunity to attract global money and sell our goods abroad – particularly in the US or Asia – as the UK becomes cheaper and more competitive.
Investment Zones, announced as part of the mini-Budget on Friday, could further sweeten the deal. Built around existing investment opportunities, these Zones could act as global beacons.
Although not yet confirmed, the West Midlands is in line for two Investment Zones. One around the HS2 Interchange Station in Solihull, and one which includes the West Midlands Gigafactory site at Coventry Airport.
The details are still emerging but each zone is set to benefit from preferable tax rates – which could include reductions in employer National Insurance payments – as well as looser planning rules.
A campaign which builds on the Investment Zone opportunities – set to deliver major manufacturing, homes, research & innovation, and infrastructure – whilst promoting the wider region, would be powerful.
This leaves us now with a golden opportunity to sell our products, and our opportunities on the global market. The West Midlands’ stock is already high following the Commonwealth Games – now is the time to turbocharge our efforts.
The region must come together, quickly, and work closely with government and the Department for Trade to drive our contacts with the world. From trade shows to political visits, now is time to aggressively up the ante.
If we move now, and with combined purpose, we can ‘sell’ the West Midlands across the globe, open new markets and consolidate existing ones.