The latest from the Black Country 

Brexit Studies Centre Launches Alongside Unique Economic Report

The UK’s first Centre for Brexit Studies launched this morning (Thursday January 26) alongside a unique economic paper detailing how the West Midlands can make a success of the landmark vote for Britain to leave the European Union.

Birmingham City University officially opened its Centre for Brexit Studies with a conference held at Birmingham’s Hotel La Tour and attended by key academic speakers, economists and business leaders.

Talks highlighted the impact withdrawal from the EU could have on business, trade, human rights, energy, the environment and law.

The event also saw the unveiling of a report titled Making a success of Brexit, drawn up by economists from the West Midlands Economic Forum working at the Centre.

The paper outlines the need for the region to maximise the positive opportunities presented by vote, and how investment in areas like key transport links and digital infrastructure could help boost the area’s economy.

The report suggests that Brexit provides an opportunity for the region to build on its strengths and make a success of the referendum result.

Among the recommendations detailed in the paper are:

  • Regionalise the M6 Toll road with a view to abolishing the toll
  • Ensure average broadband download speeds are increased to 30Mbps with 100 per cent coverage
  • Extend the Midland Metro to Dudley, Walsall, the i54 business park, Birmingham Airport and the proposed HS2 station
  • Bring forward shelved railway investment
  • Provide fast links from the Black Country to the HS2 railway station
  • Reopen passenger services on the Sutton Park line to create alternate routes from Wolverhampton, Walsall and Aldridge to Birmingham Airport and HS2
  • Invest in new cycle routes
  • Reconnect Chasewater to Lichfield canal, to open up Black Country tourism.

Professor Alex De Ruyter Director of Research at Birmingham City University’s Business School and chair of the launch event said: “Brexit presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities for the UK and it is important that people are seriously looking into all areas of the process.

“Opening the Centre gives us the chance to investigate the intricacies of such a complex and significant time in British history as well as present a resource which the public can tap in to.

“The report Making a success of Brexit is the first example of this and demonstrates how input from a range of sources of organisations can really help us make the most of the opportunities available.”
The Centre for Brexit Studies will promote engagement of both ‘Leave’ and ‘Remain’ standpoints, whilst providing collaborative opportunities with businesses, professional organisations and civil society.
Accessible to the general public, the Centre will host conferences, workshops and seminars to share knowledge in relation to sectors expected to be impacted by Brexit, including cultural identity, hate crime and radicalisation, climate change and national security.
Speakers at the launch event included Jon Yorke, Professor of Human Rights at Birmingham City University and Alison Young, Professor of Public Law at the University of Oxford.

Other speakers at include Aston University economy expert Professor David Bailey and Stefania Paladini, former Italian trade commissioner to Hong Kong and China and now Reader in Trade and Global Security at Birmingham City University.

For more information please contact Birmingham City University on 0121 331 5000 or visit

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