This information was prepared in consultation with support from the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce Brexit Advisory Group.
Each month, we are releasing a new report analysing the latest intelligence on how businesses are responding to and impacted by Brexit.
Brexit: How Are Businesses Responding? combines data collected via the Business Brexit Health Check (a free online tool for businesses) with insight from Chamber surveys and anonymised business case studies.
It is produced by the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce on behalf of the West Midlands Combined Authority, Black Country Chamber of Commerce and Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce.
This quick fire signposting guide is aimed at public & third sector individuals who engage with businesses on a regular basis (from business support to trading standards, economic development to procurement and beyond). It aims to equip readers with enough knowledge to navigate and signpost to the local Brexit business support environment and help make sure local businesses are receiving the support they need, when they need it.
This guide is part of a series of activity on Brexit readiness activity being undertaken by the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce in partnership with the West Midlands Combined Authority.
38% believe restrictions on the rights of EU nationals to work in the UK would have a negative impact on their business
In 2017 Birmingham’s GVA figure was £28.1bn with a growth rate of 3.6%, matching the national average1
More foreign businesses invested in the West Midlands in 2016-17 than anywhere outside London and the South East2
Half the UK’s population lies within two hours and 90% within a four-hour travel time of the Greater Birmingham city-region with 140 routes worldwide accessible via Birmingham Airport3
62% Greater Birmingham businesses are confident that their profitability will improve in the next 12 months4
The Greater Birmingham region houses 4,000 advanced engineering firms and accounts for 42% of the UK’s automotive Research & Development5. Manufacturing accounts for 11% of jobs which remains one of the highest percentages for any region in the country6. Birmingham is only one of four cities that employ over 9,000 insurance professionals and 10,000 in the banking sector7. The region also contains more medical technology firms than any other in the UK8, the largest number of start-ups outside the capital and has a thriving wholesale and retail trade sector9
The West Midlands region has an above UK average rate of unemployment (5.2%) and proportion of the population with low or no qualifications (10.4%). Birmingham’s is higher still at 6.4% and 12.6% respectively 10
The West Midlands region is home to 203,000 citizens from outside the EU12. In Birmingham alone, 108 different languages are spoken13
Less than one third of companies in Greater Birmingham currently export their goods or services14
Post-Brexit, the Government will need to create, and decide where to locate, new UK focused agencies to replace the EU agencies whose jurisdiction the UK will no longer fall under. Many businesses based in London and the South East may also look to relocate parts of their business to reduce their cost base.
There are 308,000 EU Citizens currently living in the West Midlands region and 91,000 across the Greater Birmingham area (Birmingham, Burton, Chase, Lichfield, Tamworth, Solihull and Sutton Coldfield) . The West Midlands’ 10 universities attract over 8,000 EU students each year and employ approximately 5,000 academics who are EU citizens16. The details of the UK’s post-Brexit approach to immigration remain unknown.
The EU budget for 2014-2020 allocated funding of £765 million for the West Midlands from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and European Social Fund (ESF) alone with £213.5 million allocated to Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP . Over the last three years, universities in the West Midlands have received over £100m in EU funding for research18.
44% of exports of goods from the West Midlands go to the EU. The region’s higher than average reliance on the manufacturing sector and automotive manufacturing in particular make it even more reliant on trade than other areas. The West Midlands also has one of the highest share of goods imports coming from the EU (62%) only the East, South East and Northern Ireland have a higher proportion .