Select Committee on Work and Pensions Third Report



1. Profile of the Area

Birmingham has a long tradition linked to engineering and metal working industry and is still heavily dependent upon the fortunes of the motor industry and component manufacture. Major private employers in this sector include Rover MG, at Longbridge, LDV Commercial Vehicles at Washwood Heath and Jaguar at Castle Bromwich. Other large employers include Cadbury, TSB Bank, Kalamazoo Business Systems, IMI and Lucas Industries.

However, manufacturing is now in decline within the city (down 1.4% on 1999 figures) and has recently been overtaken by other sectors. Current job creation is predominantly in the retail and catering sectors.

The city has a population of around 940,000. According to the 2000 Annual Business Inquiry (latest available) just over 567,000 people are employed in the Birmingham and Solihull Local Authority Areas. The main employment categories are Public Administration, Education and Health 140,000 (25%), Banking, Finance & Insurance; 123,000 (22%), Distribution, Hotels and Restaurants 114,000 (20%), Manufacturing; 99,000 (18%) and Transport & Communication 39,000 (7%).

The Birmingham and Solihull Jobcentre Plus District covers the whole of the City of Birmingham and incorporates the two nearby towns of Sutton Coldfield and Solihull bordering on its eastern side. The District comprises a network of 18 Jobcentres and 9 Social Security Offices.

2. Unemployment

Unemployment ­ Birmingham local authority area and West Midlands region

Birmingham local authority
West Midlands region
Total unemployed
% Unadjusted workforce* base unemployment
Total unemployed
% Unadjusted workforce* base unemployment
Apr 2002
Most recent available
Apr 2001
One year ago
Dec 1992
Most recent peak
11.1 %
July 1986
Most recent all-time high
13.5 %


* Workforce = employees in employment + self employed + HM forces + participants in work related Government training programmes + claimant unemployed

3. Recent Good News

City Centre — More than 600 new jobs will be created within the next twelve months when the Royal Bank of Scotland opens its new regional headquarters in the Brindley Place area of the city. The bank will move when building work is completed.

Witton — (North of City Centre) Dana Preferred Technical Group, suppliers of steering equipment for the Ford Fiesta is to take on 250 workers over the next year, effectively doubling its workforce, to meet demand.

Sheldon — (Due South of City Centre) Mobile phone manufacturer Sendo is moving from Small Heath in Birmingham to a larger HQ near to Birmingham International Airport. The expansion will create up to 250 new jobs over the next three years.

Tyseley — (South east of City Centre) Euro Packaging, suppliers of supermarket food packaging is expanding its factory after buying adjoining land from the City Council for £10 million. An additional 200 jobs will be created.

Longbridge — (2 miles South of Northfield) MG Rover, which came close to closure two years ago, took on 300 additional staff last September. Some were apprentices but the majority were general production operatives brought in to overcome skill shortages. An open day to recruit up to 50 engineers was held in March.

4. Recent Bad News Stories

Longbridge — Car parts firm GPM Engineering Systems Ltd. has gone into receivership after a downturn in trade. Around 30 workers have already been made redundant and another 120 workers are waiting to see if a buyer can be found for the firm.

Solihull — In February, gas pipeline firm Transco announced that up to one in four jobs is to go at its five West Midland offices as part of a £230 million cost cutting programme. This could result in as many as 700 job cuts at its Solihull and Coventry plants.

Ladywood — (West of City Centre) A company that has been making paint in Birmingham for over 120 years is to close with the loss of 180 jobs. The American owners of PPG Industries has decided that the plant will close over the first three months of 2003.

City Centre and Washwood Heath — (East of City Centre) Consignia are closing two parcel distribution depots in November with 114 job losses as part of national cut­backs. It is not yet clear how many, if any, of the redundancies will be compulsory.

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2002
Prepared 31 July 2002