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"Unviable” London needs HS2 to access Birmingham’s creative economy, university leader says

UNIVERSITY NEWS LAST UPDATED : 11 JUNE 2014

London and the South East need HS2 for improved links to Birmingham’s creative industries, just as much as the West Midlands needs easier access to the capital, the Vice-Chancellor of Birmingham City University will insist at a festival of student creativity later today.

Professor Cliff Allan will tell Birmingham City University's Inspired Festival that new growth in the South East is fast becoming "unviable" and urged the government to go further in recognising that Birmingham and the West Midlands is a growing "super cluster" for the UK's fast growing creative industries, worth over £70 billion a year.

Speaking at the launch of the event this evening, which will showcase the University's creative graduate student talent, Professor Allan will say: "Birmingham doesn't need faster links to London any more than London needs faster links to Birmingham.

"Why? Because the time is fast approaching where further growth in the South East will become unviable - economically too exclusive and commercially too expensive.

"Birmingham will benefit from using HS2 to get elsewhere quicker but I think of far greater impact will be how the rest of the UK will be able to access the creative capacity of this city – not the least of which is the talent and potential on display here today and throughout the Inspired Festival.

"Birmingham can do it all, and in so many ways it already is. There is too much about Birmingham as a 'second city' when in so many ways it is number one.

"I believe we are seeing faint signs that politicians and business leaders from outside of the West Midlands are starting to recognise what we have to offer but it is only the beginning of a process and much more is needed."

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