Business leaders in the region today welcomed the “outstanding” figures that show the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) is second in the UK for creating private sector jobs. The GBSLEP has already created 85,200 jobs, 72 per cent of its target to create 119,000 jobs by 2020. This gave them a 6 per cent higher growth rate than in any other core city LEP area, apart from the West of England.

Paul Faulkner, chief executive of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC), said: “These outstanding figures are tremendous news for the GBSLEP region and a testimony to the resilience and determination of our businesses.

“This reflects the growing confidence of businesses and the strength of the region’s economy. The data from last year comes in a week when the city is unveiling the fruits of huge investment in Grand Central, which means we can expect even better figures for this year.

“The private sector is hugely important to the success of Greater Birmingham and Solihull. It is their success and creation of jobs that will drive an economy that will bring more wealth to the whole region.

“And this will be vitally important as we look forward to the exciting prospect of the creation of a West Midlands Combined Authority.

“Our growth rate of 6 per cent is higher than any other core city LEP area, apart from the West of England, and above the national growth rate of 4.3 per cent and London’s 4 per cent.

“This will greatly improve the appeal of the region for more private sector investment given its position at the centre of national and international transport network.

“We can look forward to this trend continuing with the development of HS2 and this week’s opening of Grand Central underlining the growing appeal of Birmingham as a city in which to do business, supported by a strong GBSLEP.

“The Chamber is also making an important contribution by playing an vital role in  the Birmingham Growth Hub, which will help to maintain this momentum of growth in conjunction with the GBSELP and Birmingham City Council.”