The state of economic justice in Birmingham and the Black Country

This is a report about Birmingham and the Black Country – the local authority areas of Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton – and the economic outcomes for the people who live here. The subjects covered are the local economy and jobs, work and employment, household resources and housing. Except when looking at the qualifications of the workforce, the report does not cover education. Poor health and disability are explored indirectly through their impact on social security benefits and life expectancy. The research was supported by the Barrow Cadbury Trust, an independent charitable foundation with a longstanding connection to Birmingham and the Black Country.

While London has its Poverty Profile, Greater Manchester has had an Inclusive Growth Monitor, and the nations of the UK have their bespoke poverty reports, England’s second city and its Black Country neighbours have had little in the way of focused data analysis in recent years. Whether this report fills that gap is for others to judge. But one thing it does show is that serious attention and action on a number of social justice issues are badly needed in the region. The research had three main stages. The first was a series of interviews with people in Birmingham and the Black Country which helped us to identify subjects of particular concern and how they might be approached. Informed by this, the second was a programme of analysis of public datasets and administrative statistics, including some through the Office for National Statistics’ Secure Research Service. The third stage was the writing of the report, which included review and further discussion with some of those who contributed to the first stage.

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