Digital technologies will drive economic growth, expert to tell Westminster policymakers

Associate Professor Adel Aneiba, a digital expert based at Birmingham City University, will address policymakers, MPs and government officials at Westminster Social Policy Forum’s ‘Next steps for economic growth and development in the Midlands’ event on Wednesday 9 June 2021.

Associate Professor Adel Aneiba

According to figures released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) earlier this year, the West Midlands region was the hardest-hit part of the UK during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, seeing a 21% drop in output across the West Midlands in the second quarter of 2020.

Speaking ahead of the Westminster Social Policy Forum conference, Professor Aneiba said, “We are looking for Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak to accelerate full-fibre and digital technologies deployment, fully taking advantage of the large scale multi-billion-pound infrastructure investments across the West Midlands.

“Mobilising universities, engaging with local SMEs, and building domestic supply chains – in line with the UK Government’s ‘levelling up’ and ‘green industrial revolution’ agendas, and the ‘Midlands Engine’ strategy – will help drive regional and national economic development, ensure balance and create opportunities for the Midlands to lead in new sectors and productive industries.”

“The UK’s universities are at the forefront of positive change: improving health, driving transport forward, storing energy, improving construction, advancing manufacturing, enabling entrepreneurs and making people’s lives better. Birmingham City University is joining forces with high tech vendors, the public sector, combined authority, and is asking the government to give more support to schemes and place-based projects that will drive the UK’s green future and help deliver the aims of the overall  net-zero Government plan.”

Birmingham City University has invested £360m in a state-of-the-art city campus, based in the Knowledge Quarter in Birmingham’s Eastside area.

Professor Hanifa Shah, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment at Birmingham City University said, “Place-based green recovery and net-zero projects offers the West Midlands the very real opportunity to grow a smarter, sustainable green economy underpinned by the skills that drive productivity.

“Our focus in the faculty is on harnessing innovation, skills and our applied expertise to accelerate economic growth by creating new jobs in the green economy and upskilling the workforces in economically challenging communities. Faculty investments are primed to support firms to innovate and adopt low carbon business models while creating large numbers of meaningful employment opportunities for our students.”

Westminster Social Policy Forum’s platform builds into major policy statements from senior Ministers, speakers representing local government, regulators, government officials, opposition speakers, and senior opinion-formers in industry and interest groups.

For further information, visit the Westminster Social Policy Forum events page.