Challenges & Opportunities
- Solihull is one of the most affluent local authorities in the West Midlands but incomes are unequal as is poverty and life expectancy. 16 of 134 neighbourhoods are in the top 10% most deprived in England. Despite investment in regeneration in these areas, there is more to do to enable everyone to contribute to, and benefit from, social and economic development so that growth is truly inclusive.
- Like other areas, the Covid pandemic has had adverse financial and employment implications in Solihull, as shown in rising unemployment levels.
- There is clear evidence that Covid-19 doesn’t affect all population groups equally. This will exacerbate inequalities in the borough and the impact will increase demand for already stretched specialist services for all age groups.
- 164 children came into care during 2020-21, 94 of who were under 10 years of age. The total number of children in care, including unaccompanied asylum seeking children, increased from 461 at the end of March 2020 to 532 at the end of March 2021.
- The 65+ age group is the fastest growing section of the Solihull population. This has implications for many services, especially rising demand for health and social care services.
Maximising our opportunities:
- Solihull has a strong economy. Solihull is home to significant economic assets and transport infrastructure and, since 2010, has had the fastest growing labour market in the UK outside of London.
- Solihull’s economy, businesses, jobs and residents are relatively well placed to weather the economic impacts of Covid-19, given the dynamism of the local economy, its well-balanced profile across manufacturing and services and a highly qualified local workforce.
- Solihull is a great place to live and people value the quality of the environment. Two thirds of the borough is Green Belt. People also value the quality of housing and excellent schools and education opportunities.
- The results from the Council’s Corporate Peer Challenge in January 2020 were positive: “Our over-arching finding is one of a sound and well-run council that has all the attributes necessary to enable it to shift to the ‘next level’. The authority is a traditionally stable organisation which has proud, passionate and committed staff and elected members – there a lot of really talented people within it. It also manages its finances well and is in a sound position in this regard a result. Also, the council is seen as a good partner – it is trusted and stakeholders like working with the authority.”
- Our local response to Covid has utilised the strengths identified by the Corporate Peer Challenge team. The Council, partners and communities have worked together to meet the needs of those people who are most vulnerable to the impacts of Covid-19.
- The Covid-19 pandemic has also demonstrated the energy and dynamism of communities, and the community and voluntary sector, across the borough.