Selling the city to the wider world.
THE message from Birmingham City Council leader Sir Albert Bore at a Downing Street meeting with investors is that Birmingham is a success and they can be part of it. There's no doubt that the city has been through many changes. And the PS1 billion Southern Gateway project is evidence these changes are still occurring. But Sir Albert isn't exaggerating when he says this is a particularly exciting time for the city. Work on the revitalised New Street station is pressing ahead and Birmingham will soon have the world-class gateway to the city has always deserved. The new John Lewis store will add to the city's already-impressive retail offering. And the planned highspeed rail line is already attracting investment into Birmingham - with office space, according to the council leader, at a premium. But let's not forget that the city faces major challenges. The Southern Gateway project will raise the question, once again, of how to ensure every part of the city benefits from a major development in the centre. Also, while it is true that England's core cities need to work together rather than engage in fruitless competition, it's impossible not to notice that Manchester, rather than the Midlands, seems to be at the heart of Chancellor George Osborne's economic programme for Britain. What is undoubtedly welcome is the role of central government in helping Birmingham, as well as Bristol and Leeds, connect with potential investors. And it looks like the city will have an exciting offer to take to MPIM in March.