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Universities give £4.5bn boost to local economy

University of Birmingham

University of Birmingham

West Midland universities boost the economy by more than £4.5 billion a year, according to new figures.

Research from Universities UK shows the likes of the University of Birmingham, Birmingham City University and Aston University helped to generate £2.6 billion towards other industries.

The report set out to reveal the growing impact of higher education on the regional economy, with universities now acting as enterprises and frequently among the largest employers in their localities.

Researchers looked at the impact of higher education on the economy in the nine regions of England, based on 2012 data.

For the West Midlands region, the report found:

* Higher education institutions in the West Midlands generated an output of £1.95 billion and, through knock-on effects, generated an additional £2.6 billion in other industries throughout the UK.

* Universities attracted 36,140 students from outside the UK to study in the region. And 76,580 students from other parts of the UK

* International revenue amounted to £394 million which, together with the estimated off-campus expenditure of international students (£408 million), represented a total of £802 million of export earnings for the region.

* Universities provided 23,674 full-time equivalent jobs across a range of occupations and skill levels. 25,361 full-time equivalent jobs were generated outside the universities, with most (19,451) based in the region.

* Universities in the West Midlands, together with the expenditure of their international students and students from the rest of the UK, generated 55,355 jobs in the region. This was equivalent to 2.18 per cent workforce in employment in the region in 2012.

Professor Sir Christopher Snowden, President of Universities UK, said: “It is clear that universities are making an increasingly significant contribution to the regional economy, both in terms of contribution to GDP and creating jobs.

“Universities also attract significant investment from overseas.

“Universities also produce significant non-economic benefits.

“They improve the life chances of individuals and also provide a social and cultural boost to communities through access to art, music, sports and other facilities.

“With the 2015 general election on the horizon, this report serves as a timely reminder to policymakers of universities’ growing impact on local communities, jobs and the wider economy.”

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