Colors: Purple Color

Birmingham City Council has guaranteed there will be no school crossing patrol job losses next year after launching the School Crossing Safety Trust. And council leader, Cllr John Clancy, is continuing talks with businesses and other potential partners to fund the service in future years. Cuts to the service were among budget proposals published in December but Cllr Clancy stressed his preferred option was to launch a trust to fund crossing patrols in future years.

Facewatch, the revolutionary, hi-tech system launched last year to help businesses report crime is already seeing success following a string of arrests.  The first success saw ‘report to arrest’ within five hours where a prolific shop lifter responsible for 2 thefts from Selfridges totalling £210 was remanded in custody due to the high quality footage available.

Cabinet is set to approve the adoption of a plan to tackle the long-standing issue of low skills in Birmingham by ensuring people of all ages are equipped with the skills they need to secure sustainable and well-paid jobs. Developed in conjunction with partners, the Birmingham Skills Investment Plan (BSIP) sets out the challenges relating to low skills and unemployment in the city and how these will be addressed in the long-term.

Wolverhampton's Youth Offending Team is working well to protect the public and prevent young people from reoffending, according to inspectors. They gave the City of Wolverhampton Council-run service top marks in four of the six inspection areas, and the second best rating in the other two, making it one of the best performing Youth Offending Teams in the country.

Qatar Airways has been ranked as one of the world’s most valuable brands for the first time, becoming the only Qatari company to be represented in the 2016 top 500 global brand ranking. Brand Finance, a world-leading independent brand valuation consultancy, listed Qatar Airways as one of the most powerful global brand in the annual ranking. The UK-based company is widely recognised as conducting highly extensive analysis of the world’s most successful businesses to produce a definitive list of valuable brands.

For the seventh year running, Severn Trent customers are receiving the best value in Britain following an announcement that its bills are still the lowest in the land, and will remain that way until 2020. Planning to spend around £6billion - £1,4000 per household or business, on new pipes, fixing leaks more quickly and much more, including improving the quality of rivers and the environment and reducing sewer flooding. In 2016/17, the average household bill will remain unchanged at £329. 

Member of European Parliament, Neena Gill, recently met with Barclays bank in the West Midlands to discuss support for small and medium sized businesses and online protection for customers. Ms Gill, the Labour member for the West Midlands, spoke after the event saying: “As one of Britain’s biggest lenders Barclays  play a fundamental role in supporting entrepreneurs to set up small businesses and drive the West Midlands’ economy.

The EU and US have reached a deal on data sharing, whereby a US director of national intelligence will sign a pledge that the US government will avoid “indiscriminate mass surveillance” of EU citizens when their data is sent from Europe to the US, referred to as the 'Privacy shield'. This agreement replaces former data-sharing arrangement – 'safe harbour' - used by thousands of companies to transfer highly sensitive personal data.

After winning the prestigious Advisor Firm of the Year award at the New Model Advisor Awards (NMA) 2016, celebrations were in full flow for Midlands based Cooper Parry Wealth. Following its merger with Clement Keys at the turn of the year, the firm managed to beat numerous other wealth management firms to be crowned winner in London.

A ‘Right to Rent’ scheme trialled in Wolverhampton has this week been rolled out nationwide. The new law was first introduced in the city and other parts of the West Midlands in December 2014, and under the legislation landlords could face fines if they rent homes to illegal immigrants without first checking their ‘Right to Rent’. Private landlords have to check the right of prospective tenants to be in the country if they want to avoid potentially being fined up to £3,000 by the Government.

The Black Country Chamber of Commerce aims to double the size of the Black Country economy by the end of 2023. £2.5 billion of this growth can come from transport improvements and Chair of the Chamber’s Transport Group Colin Leighfield responds to some recent good news about Birmingham Airport and sets out businesses’ demands for the coming year.

City of Wolverhampton Council and Centro have highlighted the importance of the planned Metro extension to the city centre’s £120 million Interchange. Preparatory works are expected to start later this year on connecting the existing Metro service from Birmingham with the soon-to-be redeveloped railway station via Pipers Row and Railway Drive. New tram stops are proposed at the railway station, and either side of Pipers Row, near Castle Street, directly outside the bus station.

Leader of the City of Wolverhampton Council, Roger Lawrence has unveiled the New Horizons: Our Vision for the City of Wolverhampton in 2030 to city partners. The document, details how the city can secure a sustainable, successful future for the next generation of Wulfrunians, and was drafted following consultation with key city stakeholders. More than 100 representatives from the business, education and public sectors, from around the city and beyond, saw it launched  at a partners event staged at the City of Wolverhampton Science Park.