Archives for posts with tag: David Bailey

BirminghamLive, the digital channel of the Birmingham Mail, presented news about one prospective candidate, Neena Gill, in February, briefly noting that activists in the region are involved in selecting their party’s candidate, while voters take part in the election of the mayor. On 14th June, the Chamberlain Files asked “Who will face Mr Street on 7 May 2020?”  After referring to other candidates it notes an early endorsement of Mr Byrne from Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, saying that this came as a surprise to many.

In the Birmingham Post David Bailey and John Clancy examine more closely the process by which the leadership of ‘by far the biggest Mayoral Combined Authority in the country’ is elected. The headline:


“It has to be done right. It also has to be a break from the past in the party in relation to selections: specifically away from discredited, old-school, machine politics”.

Buttons pressed, and levers pulled from afar, especially from outside the region must be consigned to the dustbin. We all know this has had far too ready a presence in the West Midlands over the years.

Candidates from all parts of Labour’s very broad church party should obviously be welcome. M.P.s and former ministers should quite rightly be interested. It is not, however, a pre-requisite and some would see it as a hindrance.

But let’s be clear: it’s probably best not to call in apparent national top-of-the-party ‘endorsements’ when there is a membership-wide ballot to choose a Labour nomination. That feels to us very much like a blast from the past. It can also, more importantly, be misinterpreted.

Liam has strong experience, a clear record, and a well-known history – without necessarily having to call into aid London big guns.

Do other candidates without London political bubble experience, but who are just as strong and able really have to battle with big name national endorsements? They can’t compete almost by dint of being so local. And, for the record, neither of us is seeking this nomination.

This could and should be one of the most open, most fair selections in the party in this region for a very long time, and with a wide range of highly able candidates. This will hopefully set a strong precedent across the party. Let’s keep it open and local for as long as possible.

As a link to the article was not found, read it in full here.





People passing the illuminated Bournville factory buildings late at night will have noted its 24-hour operation – evidence of a thriving enterprise.

The factory buildings in 1932: unchanged exterior

The FT’s John Murray Brown (paywall) reports from Bournville that Mondelez has completed a two-year modernisation programme, investing £75m in the chocolate maker’s flagship factory: “Shiny new production equipment has been installed at the “factory in a garden” built by Quaker George Cadbury in 1879 alongside houses for its workers who had relocated from Birmingham’s industrial belt.

Under the agreement, 1,300 workers at Bournville and two other Cadbury factories in the UK will receive a pay rise of 3.2% in 2017-18, and an increase in line with inflation in 2018-19. Joe Clarke of Unite says this is considerably higher than other recent settlements in the food and drinks industry, which have been about 2.4%.

Mr Clarke highlighted the chocolate maker’s “strong ethical traditions: “Cadbury has a long history of good industrial relations. We’ve got records which go back to the tea break agreement of 1922.” Cadbury established works councils, with management and employee representative meeting to discuss company plans, back in the 1930s. It was also one of the first companies to offer sick pay and pension rights for women.

The improvement in industrial relations at Cadbury came after controversy when the company was bought by Kraft Foods of the US in 2010. The Takeover Panel, the custodian of UK rules on mergers and acquisitions, after reneging on a promise not to shut Cadbury’s Somerdale plant at Keynsham near Bristol but it was made clear that the original decision had been made by Cadbury in 2007.

There have been 200 voluntary redundancies at Bournville under the modernisation programme, bringing the manufacturing workforce down to about 800. The four new production lines have led to ‘dramatic’ productivity improvements closing the gap with Mondelez’ German plant. In an embedded video, David Bailey, professor of industrial strategy at Aston University business school, said, “We hadn’t seen significant investment at Bournville for a long time. It was pretty dilapidated. Old plant and equipment. The focus on productivity is the only way any company manufacturing in a relatively high-cost economy can survive in the long run”.

The changes at Bournville mean manufacturing is assured “for a generation not just for the short term”, according to Glenn Caton, president of Mondelez’s northern Europe operations.  





A Handsworth resident responds: service birmingham

David Bailey’s reference to Capita is spot on. We’re experiencing problems at the moment just getting a simple link to an online ticket facility for a city event! It is little short of outrageous that we are paying more than 100% over the original budget which, as David Bailey rightly says, was too high in the first place.

Council newspaper

Back in the mid 1980s I was involved in producing a new publication for the council for distribution across what was then 12 constituency areas in 12 editions. The timescale was so short the council’s own agencies refused to touch it. A team of LOCAL writers, photographers, designers, printers AND distributors was put together and completed the job with a higher than 97% audited city wide distribution.

Shortly afterwards the council launched its own tabloid paper. This successful team’s bid was turned down in favour of Capita Penn who proceeded to create an expensive shambles. Their audited distribution barely hit 70% and eventually the contract was taken in-house and transferred to the Post and Mail (Ed: this might refer to its free e-newsletters, launched in 2008, which had daily news bulletins, weekly sector-specific updates including finance, law, technology & innovation and commercial property.)

City website

People may remember that a couple of years back a group of students produced a more effective web site than the city’s own (massively expensive) version – all for free! That lesson simply has not been learnt. We have competent local companies capable of doing a better job than Capita at a fraction of the cost. (Ed: perhaps referring to the Young People’s Focus Group’s “experiment in an alternative way to design and build a city council website for Birmingham. Development has now moved to DIY Council”.)

Both central and local government make the same mistakes repeatedly, favouring large companies rather than efficient local ones. A similar tale can be told in regard to computer systems in schools. The majority of authorities have ‘played safe’ by going for a well known but costly large company known for its lack of innovation and creativity. The result is that many school IT systems (and also some in FE colleges) have lagged behind the technological advances with which many small companies are very familiar.

I’m happy to take any queries directly.

Read about Capita/Service Birmingham on its website.



More clearly expressed wisdom and informed commonsense from economist David Bailey 

For some background on the Markets, have a look at his last column in the Birmingham Post which can be found here. 

A few points made: 

One way of saving – let alone creating – several thousand jobs is for the LEP, and in particular Birmingham City Council, to recognise that Birmingham Wholesale Markets are a commercially viable economic institution that brings great benefits to the city and the region. 

Professor Bailey originally put the total Markets-related jobs figure at around 4000, but an interesting piece of work by Forrest Research puts the total number of dependent jobs as high as 15,000. That gives the Markets a pretty big local and regional economic footprint. 

Forrest Research 

-The Markets service the West Midlands ‘region’ (with a population of 5.5 million), as well as the middle third of Wales and the northern parts of the South West. 

-The Markets support close to 200 retail markets, and 90 farmers’ and country markets, encompassing some 2,000 retail traders. Assuming 2.5 dependent full-time equivalent jobs (FTEs) at these traders, some 5,000 FTE jobs are at risk if the Markets were to close. 

– As well as direct employment at the retail markets, the array of related ancillary and support activities can be estimated at a further 0.25 FTEs per retail trader, ensuring a further potential 500 FTEs in the catchment area at risk. 

– In addition to the employment supported in the retail markets, the City Council itself calculates that close to 5,000 independent local retail and catering businesses rely on the Markets. Assuming a FTE job dependency of 1.5 (which seems reasonable), this multiplier gives an employment effect of 7,500. 

– There are over 2,400 heavy and light deliveries each trading week around the Markets. Assuming a multiplier of 0.5 FTE in the logistics sector, there are a further 1,200 FTE job dependents here as well. 

– Given the number of companies operating on the site, then another 20-30 dependent ancillary FTEs could be assumed. 

Professor Bailey concludes: 

This new jobs estimate adds weight to the earlier claim (see here) by Shabana Mahmood MP that the loss of the Markets could have a significance for the regional economy as big as the closure of MG Rover. The latter ultimately led to loss of some 10,000 jobs at the firm and in the supply chain. Some may have scoffed at the MP’s claims at the time, but actually she is in the right ball park. 

If (and that’s still a big if) there really is a need to expand the city centre to build more retail and office space, then perhaps a small slice of that £700 million pot that the LEP reckons will be created by the city centre Enterprise Zone could go towards funding a new city site for the Markets.

Read the whole article here.