arena centralThe centre – artist’s projection

birmingham job centreThe periphery Mr Guthrie ignores

In ‘Karmic payback for a UK city the crisis killed’ Jonathan Guthrie – enthused by the much-disciplined HSBC’s decision to move from London to the Arena Central development – offers ‘a better guide to a city rebounding from a deep downturn’ to nearly 1,000 HSBC staff set to relocate from London:

“Birmingham had a spring in its step even before the bank decided to move its UK operation there. More Londoners in their thirties flee the capital’s high house prices and hectic lifestyle for Birmingham than for any other UK city. Output increased 4.2% in 2013, more than twice the national average”.

He notes that the economic crisis which damaged ‘the industrial West Midlands’ was ‘incubated partly in the City of London’ – and asserts that banks such as HSBC that create jobs in Birmingham are paying karmic reparations for the damage the financial crisis did to the city. Hmmm . . .

Extolling the ‘luxury vehicle maker (which) is now an exports powerhouse’ no mention is made of the city’s problems, which include:

  • traffic congestion
  • poor air quality which may lead to EU sanctions
  • high youth unemployment
  • derelict buildings and brownfield sites
  • housing shortages

empty shopsBut if HSBC workers read the Post, not the Mail, confine themselves to the city centre, commuting to the leafy suburbs – like most  city decision makers, elected and unelected – this image could remain intact.