Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham plea to David Cameron for investment

Politicians and business leaders from Birmingham have held a "positive" meeting with the prime minister, urging him to provide more money to the city.

The group, called Team Birmingham, said cuts to the city council's government grant threatened economic growth.

It said extra funds were needed to attract new companies to the city and improve the transport infrastructure.

The delegation said it would now work with government to produce more detailed plans.

City councillors from the three main parties, along with the city's MPs, were among those taking part.

'Remove obstacles'

The delegation also included Andy Street, who is the chief executive of John Lewis and chairman of the Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, and Jerry Blackett from the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce.

In a joint statement, the group said it was hoping to work with Michael Heseltine to explore "radical new ways" of supporting businesses and had "positive discussions" around issues such as Birmingham Airport.

The group said it wanted to improve the skills of Birmingham's workforce and develop its transport links to encourage more firms to invest in the city.

It said it welcomed "the prime minister's encouragement for an integrated transport plan for an area extending beyond Greater Birmingham".

The group said: "Throughout, the prime minister stressed that it was our responsibility to make robust proposals, but it is government's responsibility to remove obstacles."

Randal Brew, the Conservative finance spokesman on the Labour-run city council, said: "We're coming together as politicians but also as Brummies and we need to beat the door and say we need more resources for our city.

"The situation we are in is well rehearsed. The public don't want to hear us bickering with colleagues, we need to just see what resources we can get."

In July a report to the authority's cabinet said the council's budget was facing a £21m "black hole" after the first two months of the financial year.

The authority announced cuts of almost £62m to its 2012-13 budget in February.

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