One of the most exciting parts of my job is to see a plan come together and an event take place.

Next Tuesday will see our City of the Future public debate on a better economy for Birmingham take place in the Council House, Birmingham. The number of people registered for it has been rising steadily since the web page went live and we are confident of getting to capacity, so please make sure you book your place if you haven’t already.
Last year we did a debate on HS2, which went really well and attracted a lot of attention, but that was a very hot, very controversial issue on which passions run very high (and still is). This time, we are hoping to generate some really positive ideas and inspire people on a topic that used to be considered a bit dull and abstract to many, but is now starting to gain more attention – economics.

I’ve admired the work of the New Economics Foundation for a long time, so am very much looking forward to seeing what three ideas Julia Slay will put forward.

The idea that economic growth is what makes people more prosperous and therefore people’s lives better has not been challenged enough in the mainstream media. We are very much looking forward to hearing the argument for a successful economy without growth from Oliver Bettis from the Centre for the Advancement of a Steady State economy.

Dr Helen Borland from Aston Business School has her main research interest in Strategic Business Sustainability, which focuses on how firms can adopt an ecologically sustainable approach to their strategic decision-making, senior management and leadership activities. She will provide the local academic perspective and expertise.

Also, we have David Powell from Friends of the Earth’s economics team. His knowledge is integral to how we can campaign on issues such as Feed-in-Tariffs, green investment and the value that is put on the natural environment. He also writes some very readable blog posts on the Friends of the Earth website.

I have also been busy writing articles for local press and blogs on the event. Firstly, was a big piece in the Birmingham Post (whose editor, Alun Thorne is chairing the event for us). Then I wrote a short piece for my local (hyperlocal) blog B31 Voices. I was also asked to contribute a piece for the Chamberlain Files, a new political blog for Birmingham run by former journalists of the Birmingham Post.

Now I have 7 days to wait and see what comes out of this event, but luckily I’m so busy the time should pass very quickly. Bring it on.

Joe Peacock

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