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Mixed reception to 'greater Brum'

CIVIC leaders have given a mixed reaction to a suggestion that the West Midlands should be re-branded "Greater Birmingham".

CIVIC leaders have given a mixed reaction to a suggestion that the West Midlands should be re-branded "Greater Birmingham".

The Centre for Cities think tank, an offshoot of the Institute for Policy Research, said the name change was necessary in order for the region to promote itself and attract investment from around the world.

It argued that business leaders in New York, Madrid or New Delhi were never going to understand the difference between Dudley, Solihull and Birmingham, no matter how much effort was put into publicising them.

The think tank said the region should unite around a common identity to ensure it makes the most of increased opportunities for foreign trade.

Solihull Council leader Ken Meeson said the West Midlands was a very diverse region, with many distinct communities. "Some of them - in the Black Country, for instance - are sensitive about their identity and heritage, and don't want things changed.

"There've been fears in the past about a Birmingham takeover of Solihull but these seem to have gone now. We in Solihull have a strong relationship not only with Birmingham but also with Coventry and Warwickshire.

"I don't have any strong views either way about a re-branding but if a majority of people think it would be for the greater good of the region I would probably go along with it."

Birmingham City Council leader Mike Whitby played down the importance of the region's name. "The international brand that is most widely recognised is Birmingham," he said. "But whilst re-branding is important, it is what the city region does rather than what it is called that matters."

Sandwell's Bill Thomas favoured the name change for marketing purposes. "We need to bury our parochialism", he declared.

But John O'Hare at Walsall was totally opposed to calling the region "Greater Birmingham", insisting: "We will not tolerate it."

way about a re-branding but if a majority of people think it would be for the greater good of the region I would probably go along with it."

Birmingham City Council leader Mike Whitby played down the importance of the region's name. "The international brand that is most widely recognised is Birmingham," he said. "But whilst re-branding is important, it is what the city region does rather than what it is called that matters."

Sandwell's Bill Thomas favoured the name change for marketing purposes. "We need to bury our parochialism", he declared.

But John O'Hare at Walsall was totally opposed to calling the region "Greater Birmingham", insisting: "We will not tolerate it."

 

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