Everyone in West Midlands ‘worse off’ than 10 years ago as region ‘levelled down’

People in Birmingham and across the West Midlands are thousands of pounds worse off than they could have been since the Conservative Government came to power – and children are bearing the brunt of the pain, according to a new report.

Poor levels of growth and productivity in the country since 2010, when David Cameron became PM and ushered in 13 years of Tory rule, mean the average person in the West Midlands has £4,320 a year less in disposable income than they’d have if the economy had not flatlined. Kids are suffering as a result, with a startling growth in child poverty levels.

The analysis, carried out by the respected thinktank Centre For Cities, shows that Birmingham is one of the worst six places in the country for kids, with more than one in three growing up here in ‘relative child poverty’, with the number rising dramatically in that time.

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The city by city comparison shows almost every place in the West Midlands is out of pocket. It’s an issue that will be central to the General Election this year, with findings showing the scale of the challenge ahead for whoever is in power, says the Centre for Cities.

Their calculations show the average person in the West Midlands has missed out on £4,320 in disposable income when compared with predictions based on 2010 trends. Worst affected places are Stoke (£7,360 less) and Coventry (£8,950 less). In Birmingham each person has on average £2,680 less. The Cities Outlook 2024 study by the thinktank suggests that while the sheer number of jobs created has increased, productivity growth stalled.

All the signs in 2010 were that households would continue to have more disposable income to spend. But instead, under successive Conservative Governments, they have less. The impact of rising costs for housing, energy and other costs, alongside stagnating productivity, have made them worse off overall.

This national underperformance is reflected in every place in the country, including those places that have struggled with the decline and loss of local industries as well as places with more dynamic local economies, says the research At a national level, people have been left with £10,200 less to spend or save on average since 2010 than if the economy had grown at pre-2010 trends.

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