The booming confidence of 2016 has somewhat dissipated across the region as Brexit, combined with the natural business cycle, has served to dampen expectations. However, there are still significant opportunities to be grasped and the Midlands could well be one of the UK’s 2019 success stories.
The regional economy still has room to grow with more ‘slack’ than over-heated economies in London and the South East. The challenge is ensuring that in uncertain times, the political gains made through devolution are not sucked back to Whitehall and that investment continues to flow.
The region’s lowest hanging fruit has – for the most part – already been picked, leaving the more challenging opportunities yet to be exploited. In 2019, both business and policy-makers may need to be more creative to identify opportunities for growth. However, with London’s economy slowing we are expecting increasing investment flows away from the capital. Birmingham especially is well-placed to grasp it.
However, with key set-piece events such as the Commonwealth Games and Coventry City of Culture coming up in the early 2020s, 2019 could well drift by as a year of ‘preparation’ rather than excitement, and potentially of further disruption as development work continues at pace across the region.