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Culture and trade join forces in region.

Commerce and culture have agreed to come together in a bid to ensure that greater prosperity and jobs are created in the Midlands.

Culture West Midlands, which represents West Midlands' regional culture, sport and tourism bodies, and the West Midlands Business Council - which brings together business representative organisations - are to join forces.

West Midlands Business Council deputy chairman, Dr Sarindar Singh Sahota, said: "We are delighted to have been able to formally agree with Culture West Midlands that we will work together for the good of the people of our region. Culture is not just good for the soul - it is also good for jobs.

Some 215,000 jobs across the West Midlands region are estimated to exist now in the cultural sector - from sport to the silver screen.

Over pounds 2.5 billion was the outcome of the work of the cultural sector in just one year.

For instance, it is estimated that 80 per cent of Panjabi Bhangra music is from the UK - much of the music produced in the Midlands.

And new projects - such as Keira Knightley's new movie being shot around Shrewsbury - is also a boon to the Midlands economy.

Dr Sahota said: "That is why we are delighted to have agreed with Culture West Midlands that we will join forces to work together in a range of areas to grow the cultural economy and to ensure the arts, sport and tourism is at the heart of the Government's inspired Regional Economic Strategy for the West Midlands."

Jonnie Turpie, vice chairman of Culture West Midlands and chief executive at Birmingham's Maverick TV, said: "We share a vision for a strong regional economy from which everybody can benefit and the creative and tourism sector is playing its part in making this a reality.

"This means not only harnessing the creative talent and heritage of the region to build strong businesses but also helping to offer the quality of life which makes people want to live, visit, learn, work and invest, here in the West Midlands."

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Dr Sarindar Singh Sahota: Culture good for the soul and jobs
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jul 13, 2006
Words:351
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