Skyscraper City Forum banner
1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,982 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Right, I've had a go from the V tower discussion to create a thread where we can discuss the wider aspect coming from V about developments and towers to develop Birmingham, more than second city debate but to ensure Birmingham can lead in the national and global business opportunities of the future.

We all want a better Birmingham and towers have some role but so does the wider regeneration through the urban glue. How do we ensure our elected leaders and the unelected quangos do this.

Discuss
 

·
Simples
Joined
·
6,811 Posts
We all want a better Birmingham and towers have some role but so does the wider regeneration through the urban glue. How do we ensure our elected leaders and the unelected quangos do this.

Discuss
A proposal i have read about in Regeneration and Renewal this morning for Greater Manchester is that some of central governments planning function could be transferred to the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities.. ie city region level of government. Specifically in this case the power to 'Call in' large planning applications would be handled regionally not nationally.

I think this would be a good start in devolving power from central government but i would like to see it go much further and see the establishment of a stronger tier of regional government develop. One of the reasons i'm not a huge backer of the Mayoral proposal is that i favour a city region tier of government not a shuffle round of the local powers. Greater Birmingham needs to be more defined in terms of identity and powers and of course this has to go hand in hand with democratic accountability.

There are a whole load of things that in most countries are decided at regional level but where in the UK we decide at national level. Allocations of funding for large scale projects are almost always decided nationally in the UK.. a big mistake in my opinion. They should be decided much nearer the end user. (Yes i'm particularily thinking about transport but not exclusively)

I guess i am proposing a major reorganisation of local and regional government but i personally think it is necessary
 

·
S1NGH
Joined
·
79 Posts
Hi Guys,

Glad to see the progress the city is making is mostly in-line with the planning proposals we have seen across these messageboards.

I have long proposed the creations of an important self-governing economic region with control over central planning in relation to regional infrastructure and economic/job creation. I am still living and working outside of the UK, but I have seen the benefits of Special Economic Zones ("SEZ") in major cities across Europe. Where a regionalised authority with its own Exchequer can create a geographical area within its major city/cities (i.e. Birmingham within the West Midlands) and within these areas offer incentives for the location and presence of large corporates operating within industries offering competitive advantage for the area.

This may seem quite radical, but an SEZ could bring in thousands of new jobs and enhance the area's within Birmingham which it is already very competitive in, such as Medium Level Corporate Banking, Business Legal and Finance Services, as well as Engineering and Creative Engineering industries.

Again, I reiterate, this may seem radical. But if you look at the UK Economy as a whole, it is heavily overcompensated by London and the South, and if anything, this contributes to the North-South divide, as centralised government (80-85% of whom are still sitting in Whitehall, 4/5 years after the Sir Michael Lyons review!) retains the strategic importance of London in paying the "bills" and gives London everything it needs.

Two reasons why this is wrong... 1) Terrorism: I am Indian, and when I was in India two years back in November 2005, there were several explosions in Markets in our capital city New Delhi... The Sensex fell 84 points at end of business (thats 0.1% at the time, the index is now in the 12-13,000 points region)... now that may not mean much to a Skyscraper fanatic, but the fact is that Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, continued to function as per usual... the economic effects were heavy for the one particular region, but the national health wasn't as badly affected. Now, imagine a large range of explosions ala 7/7 style on a larger scale? Other cities must be allowed to disseminate some of the economic importance away from the City of London and the South of England region.

2) London in itself is experiencing a huge boom which in itself is creating a two-nation economic cycle, where London can seem to continue its growth with large scale foreign property, commercial, and financial institutions muscling into the region and keeping the property market bouyant. The rest of England is now becoming the second-tier element, which from the outside (think from the perspective of say, a Vietnamese BPO company CEO) makes other region cities appear less able to offer the same workforce, infrastructure, attitude, work ethic, global-outlook and proximity to competitors. SEZs are a great opportunity to create a powerful alternative to locating in London, with better value yields on commercial property and high-affordability in terms of Standard of Living (vs London), it would be a fantastic opportunity to develop a European and Global (why not Global!) city that can support and stand on its own two feet and deliver everything that corporations and the city-wallahs of Birmingham need and people on these message boards are desperate for.
 

·
S1NGH
Joined
·
79 Posts
In terms of a successful SEZ, that could just be considered perhaps as an example of where it has worked well, would be the IFSC development in Dublin on the site(s) of the previous Docklands of the city. Mainly in the Dublin 1/ Dublin 2 postcode areas around the Custom House Quay, Georges Quay (where I work) and Sir John Rogerson's Quay areas). Corporate Tax for businesses located here used to be 10% about 6/7 years back, now the whole of Eire applies Corp'Tax of 12.5%, imagine the advantage that holds against UK Corp'Tax of 30% (to drop to 28% in April 08).
 

·
Simples
Joined
·
6,811 Posts
A local corporation tax within a defined SEZ is a good idea in theory but only where the number of SEZs are strictly limited as otherwise there is too much downward pressure on corporation tax as a whole. Ultimately the exchequer needs to raise money from successful business. This is especially a risk to central government coffers in an environment where profits are rising but average income's are not at the same rate. As we have been seeing for the past few years since China and India etc entered global labour/capital markets in a substantial way.Internationally speaking there is downward pressure on Corporation taxes everywhere.. hence Brown's decision to lower it from 2008 (he fudged it a bit mind).

It's definitively a good idea in principle for Birmingham to look for a SEZ but what scale are we talking about... one for Eastside? One for the whole of the City, the city region, the wider WM region... there ultimately relative costs born by business/and people outside of where ever you draw the boundary line. I'm not sure deliberately setting up inequality by post code is something i would support unless it was for a particularly small area.
 

·
S1NGH
Joined
·
79 Posts
I think the number of SEZs would naturally be limited in number. SEZs being designated across India are large scale developments focussing on specific Industries with core R&D facilities to support innovation and further value addition within the respective businesses, and the terms and conditions by which these businesses operate within the SEZ are covered with many different tranches and covenants. Initial entry costs are often adopted to promote “buy-in” and business retention. I know India and China on the whole have benefited from this, although some people will have experienced negative experiences through it (more skills competition, change of community dynamics etc), but perhaps Birmingham shouldn’t look at trying to compete on the scales you will see in Navi Mumbai, or Chennai or New Delhi / Gurgaon – such sites there have over 4,000 hectares. I was thinking more on a small scale targeting a development area, perhaps parts of the Eastside as Engels mentioned. The overall success of the Asian SEZs will rely on global markets and the determination and ambition of the Indian and Chinese businesses to expand and grow aggressively within those SEZs, as foreign firms cannot be 100% relied on to retain their commitments. But I doubt they would be able to afford to stay out of such large markets.
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top