Home Business ANALYSIS: How Do The Economies of Birmingham & Coventry Compare?

ANALYSIS: How Do The Economies of Birmingham & Coventry Compare?

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Whether we like it or not, The West Midlands Combined Authority juggernaut is unstoppable.  They are no longer posing a question, there will be no more dubious consultations or surveys – we are in; and that is pretty much that.

The question, and this has always been the question from those of us east of the Meriden Gap, is simply this; what does Coventry stand to gain?  More money?  That was the promise, but thus far there has been very little evidence to back this up. More control? Well, at a regional level that is without question, but by surrendering control to a Birmingham-centric Combined Authority are we not risking the opposite – a net loss of autonomy, control and with it, identity?

This is perhaps not the time to be making a case against Coventry’s inclusion in the WMCA (something we did here – https://coventrytoday.co.uk/west-midlands-county-council-revisited/), because that horse has bolted.

The case for Coventry’s inclusion was centred about the economic arguments – but just how does Coventry compare economically to Birmingham and The Black Country?

We have sourced data from The Centre For Cities and have published below a series of comparisons using key economic indicators. Is Coventry a declining economic backwater struggling to keep pace with the sprawling conurbation next door? Hardly; indeed Coventry compares very favourably, particularly in the areas of unemployment and earnings.

The decision to join the Combined Authority might be viewed as something of a risk given the encouraging economic landscape. Why risk this success and the blossoming relationship between Coventry and its neighbouring authorities in Warwickshire, for what many see as a huge political gamble?

Others may suggest that this misses the point. That regardless of the comparative data between Coventry and the rest of the region, the Combined Authority represents an opportunity for growth across the whole region and for all member authorities to improve comparative performance on a national level.

This remains to be seen. What is clear, given the strength of opposition from many in Coventry, the economic performance of the city both on a regional and national level is something that will come under close scrutiny in the coming years.

Birmingham Metro Area
Local Authorities Coventry Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall, Wolverhampton

Business and Innovation

Business Churn Rate (%) 2014 6.77 4.53
Business Closures (per 10,000 population) 2014 30.23 32.05
Business Start-ups (per 10,000 population) 2014 47.87 44.42
Business stock (per 10,000 population) 2014 260.37 273.1
GVA per Worker (£) 2014 46,364.43 45,729.8
Patents granted (per 100,000 of population) 2014 17.49 1.46


Households in Social Rentership (%) 2011 17.04 23.61
Households Renting Privately or Living Rent-Free (%) 2011 21.81 15.8
Households that Own or Part-Own Their Home (%) 2011 61.15 60.59
Housing Affordability Ratio 2015 6.69 7.29
Mean house price (£) 2015 160,428 172,941

Industrial Structure

Manufacturing (%) 2014 11.49 11.45
Other Private Services (%) 2014 39.88 42.65
Other Sectors (%) 2014 4.3 5.66
Private Knowledge Intensive Business Services (%) 2014 13.83 11.17
Public Services (%) 2014 30.5 29.08

Jobs and Employment

Claimant Count (%) September 2016 1.95 3.71
Employment Rate (%) 2014 64.3 65
Ratio of Private to Public Sector Employment 2014 2.28 2.44
Youth Claimant Count (%) September 2016 1.56 4.12

Skills and Earnings

Average Weekly Workplace Earnings (£) 2015 505 486.5
Average Weekly Workplace Earnings, 2012 prices (£) 2015 483.71 466
Pupils Achieving 5A*-C GCSEs inc. Maths & Eng. (%) 2014 52.6 53.75
Working Age Population with a Qualification at NVQ4 or Above (%) 2014 32.1 26.6
Working Age Population with No Formal Qualifications (%) 2014 14.7 15.5

IT Services

Superfast Broadband (%) 2015 81.91 80.52


Welfare Spend Per Capita (£) 3,284.12 3,658.02
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