THE WEST Midlands is expected to have the fastest growing economy of any UK region outside of London and the South East, according to a recent economic forecast.
Ernst and Young compiled their regional economic report for 2017-18.
The region is forecast to average 1.7 per cent GVA growth every year until 2020.
Manufacturing and logistics both contributed to growth in the region at a level more than double the national average.
The report says that a cross country rail and road network fit for purpose in the North and the Midlands are essential requirements.
However, looking ahead, the manufacturing heritage of both Midlands regions is likely to act as a drag on employment.
For 2017-2019, the company projects that both the East and West Midlands will see employment fall by 0.2 per cent annually.
Aside from relative regional successes, the economic divide between North and South is forecast to expand over the next 3 years.
Ernst and Young say the ‘Midlands Engine covers a considerable area’.
With an output of £220 billion Gross Value Added (GVA), it accounts for 16 per cent of UK exports and almost 25 per cent of its manufacturing output.
From 2015 to 2016, for the third consecutive year, foreign direct investment secured in the region rose 21 per cent, taking its project count to 155.