Is Coventry’s Development Sustainable?

Coventry is a city that has had its fair share of hard times. The same sentiment could be said for the European Union, and of late both have worked together to improve the area of the West Midlands. Since 2011, the West Midlands alone has received over £500 million in development funding for the area. Local sights like Fargo Village is a notable illustration of what the money has been poured into.

But with the union of Britain and the EU coming to an end looming over our heads, what will ‘Brexit’ mean to our pocket of the world.

Making the West Midlands development even more interesting is Brexit referendum results. Although the West Midlands has received hundreds of millions from the EU, the area actually voted to leave. In fact, the West Midlands as a whole voted to leave by 548,512 votes. A healthy victory to say the least, but not in the least surprising since the area is seen as a Labour strong hold.

I spoke to Coventry City Councillor O’Boyle to see if our local governing body were expecting any stagnation in the regions development during the EU withdrawal.

His describe the difficulty of predicting the effect Brexit will have because no one really know what deal Britain will receive. However, he sighted the private sector as being the biggest contributor to local development saying, ‘most of the city centre is privately owned’.

I also asked Councillor O’Boyle if the development of Coventry is sustainable. He again described the importance of the private sector and also mentioned that ‘a lot of European funding streams are guaranteed until 2019-20…’ and that the money being spent now would still be there as ‘…it’s all tax payer money’.

So, it seems by no means is the West Midlands recent development entirely down to the EU, the private sector has also been contributing millions to the area. I reached out to a member of Barclays investment team to understand what the private sector expected during, and post Brexit. I was told that Barclays like many others are preparing for every eventuality to minimalize the effect of Brexit on their customers. From the information, they gave it seemed that they too are unclear about how the financial market will look in two to three years.

We have heard the phrases ‘soft Brexit’, ‘Hard Brexit’ and ‘No Deal’ a lot recently and for good reason, possibly the fate of the whole of the UK’s financial markets will move up and down according to what type of deal Britain receives. If it’s a ‘No Deal’ we may be heading for another recession, a hard or soft deal are predicted to be kinder on the British markets.

But why is the financial market so important to the West Midlands development? Simply put if there isn’t money these private companies, and the government itself will not have the capacity to invest heavily in local development.

 

Luke Ambrose

 

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