The Economic Secretary will be the first government minister to visit the construction site of HSBC UKs new 9.2 acre location - 2 Arena Central and hailed the creation of up to 1,000 new financial services jobs in Birmingham and the significant boost to the Midlands construction industry as a direct result of the move.
The relocation is partly seen as a result of new government legislation coming into force in 2019 requiring banks to separate their investment arms from their retail and business banking operations to offer more protection to consumers.
The Midlands is already the UKs 4th biggest financial services hub, coming in slightly behind the South East and the North West, and HSBCs relocation will bring the Midlands even closer to gaining the 3rd position.
The Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Harriett Baldwin said:
HSBCs decision to move 1,000 jobs from London to Birmingham is clear proof that the governments plan to rebalance the economy is bearing fruit.
The financial services industry in the Midlands is going from strength to strength and is great success story. It makes an important contribution to the local economy, employing around 210,000 people in total, a tenth of the entire financial services workforce.
The Economic Secretarys visit to the site is part of day long tour to the West Midlands where she is also visiting Aldermore challenger bank and Coventry Building Society, which are just two of the Midlands-based financial institutions adding to the Midlands pull as a financial services hub.
The Economic Secretary is undertaking a series of regional visits across the UK, including to Cardiff, York and Bristol, to showcase the huge growth opportunities available for financial services firms in regional hubs. A key aim for government is to encourage diversity in all aspects of financial services. This includes geographical diversification and more competition in the sector with the government introducing numerous measures to help challengers, such as Aldermore, compete with incumbent financial services firms.
Chief Executive at Aldermore, Phillip Monks said:
We are delighted to welcome the Economic Secretary to Aldermore to see first-hand the support our expert team is providing to SMEs in Birmingham and across the West Midlands region. The majority of our SME customers are based outside London and the South East, and Aldermore aim to provide a range of lending services including working capital and funding for assets across a range of industries including manufacturing and construction.
Ensuring small businesses, the backbone of the UK economy, receive the capital and support they need to grow is absolutely essential for the future of the UK economy, and this is something we aim to discuss at length with the Minister.
While in Birmingham the Economic Secretary will also attend a roundtable with representatives from HSBC and RBS, as well as Birmingham University, to discuss skills, recruitment and apprenticeships in the financial services sector. The government has committed to reaching 3 million apprenticeships in England by 2020 and the Economic Secretary believes the financial services sector is crucial to delivering this commitment.
Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Harriett Baldwin said:
It is great to see firms in Birmingham taking such a proactive approach to the development of talent and skills in the younger generation. Apprenticeships are hugely important for attracting a greater diversification to the financial services sector and for enhancing its broader reputation and standing.
The day will finish with a visit to Bird Stevens manufacturing Limited, a local manufacturing company who have recently benefited from funding from the British Business Bank. Here Harriett Baldwin will talk with some former apprentices who are now training to become managers, proving that apprenticeships truly deliver the skills that employers value.