City face loss of 700 jobs as cuts bite hard.
MORE than 700 jobs are to be lost in Birmingham as the Government continues to close regional agencies.
Business Link West Midlands, which is based in Quinton and provides advice for employers, has asked its 230 staff to consider taking voluntary redundancy after its funding was cut by by pounds 11.3 million.
In the long term, it is expected to be replaced entirely by a national service operating from London.
Ministers have confirmed that Aston-based Advantage West Midlands, another regional agency designed to support the economy, is to close with the loss of 326 jobs.
Staff at Advantage West Midlands have also been invited to apply for voluntary redundancy.
And Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has announced that the Government Office for the West Midlands, in Colmore Row, will be closed with the loss of 180 jobs.
Some civil service posts may be 'ONE IN FIVE' ON DOLE BY 2015: PAGE 15 relocated to London, allowing staff to avoid redundancy if they are willing to move. But the cuts mean that up to 736 jobs are likely to be lost from the West Midlands.
Mick Laverty, chief executive of Advantage West Midlands, said: "These are difficult and unsettling times for staff. The important thing now is that we focus on continuing to do the best job we can in the months ahead."
Labour MP Liam Byrne (Lab, Hodge Hill) said: "This is a bitter blow to public servants who have helped lead our region's response to every major crisis from flash floods to the economic crash."
And MP Tom Watson (Lab, West Bromwich East) said the cuts would hurt private sector employers by removing agencies that provided valuable advice.
But there was some welcome news for employers after new GDP figures showed the UK economy grew by 1.1 per cent from April to June.