UK Central: the West Midlands sets an example for the rest of the country to follow

A holistic approach to infrastructure will encourage growth.

The recent recession has affected all parts of the UK, but it would be wrong to think that everyone was affected equally and news stories around banking failures in the city of London have often obscured the even more painful reality facing regions. Figures released by the ONS in 2011 revealed that workers in the manufacturing heartland of the West Midlands faced the sharpest increase in unemployment during the recent recession, while London and the south east were cushioned from the worst of the job cuts. The unemployment rate in the West Midlands shot up from a pre-recession trough of 4.5 p

Commuters boarding a train. Photograph: Getty Images

Jerome Frost is Leader of the UK-MEA Planning Practice at Arup and Project Director for UK Central.

Photo: Getty
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Theresa May takes early lead in the Conservative leadership race

The first poll of the Tory contest puts the Home Secretary well out in front

Theresa May, the Home Secretary is well ahead among Conservative members according to a new YouGov poll for the Times

She is both the preferred first choice of a plurality of members from an open field (she secures 37 per cent of the vote, with her nearest rival, Boris Johnson, 10 points behind) and roundly trounces Johnson with 55 per cent to 38 per cent. In all other head-to-heads, Johnson wins comfortably.

Although YouGov have a patchy recent record in national contests - they predicted the London mayoral victory but failed to foresee the Conservative majority or the Brexit vote - they are four for four as far as internal party contests are concerned, having accurately predicted both the result and the final vote share of the 2015 and 2010 Labour leadership contests and the 2005 and 2001 Conservative contests. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. He usually writes about politics.