Lessons in productivity from the Workshop of the World

Written by Daisy Hooper Wednesday 12 July 2023
CMI took an in-depth look at the West Midlands to discover ways that UK regions can drive up productivity

The historic Black Country – now part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) – gets its name from the coal-fired furnaces that powered foundries and factories across Birmingham and the surrounding region during the Industrial Revolution, coating the landscape in soot. 

It was in the West Midlands that the canal system first revolutionised bulk transport, and created industrial clusters around coal, iron and machinery. The region was a cradle of innovation – in metallurgy, but also a host of other industrial processes – and of expert management of factories and logistics. 

The region was, and is, the heart of the UK car industry. It’s a major regional contributor to the UK economy. Here you’ll find advanced auto supply chain capabilities, and vehicle R&D hot-housed at the National Automotive Innovation Centre. Leading brands such as Jaguar Land Rover and JCB continue to thrive in the West Midlands.

So when the West Midlands explores its economic and industrial challenges – and what it can do to boost productivity – the rest of the UK should take notice. 

How can UK regions drive up their productivity? Check out our recommendations


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