West Midlands mayoral race rests on post-Covid recovery

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Race hots up as rivals spell out vision for region, one of the worst affected by the pandemic in the UK

The people of the West Midlands have been hit by the coronavirus pandemic worse than most – the region suffered the biggest fall in GDP during the first wave, has some of the highest unemployment rates in the UK after the loss of more than 100,000 jobs, and the third highest Covid death rate in England – despite Birmingham being Europe’s youngest major city with almost 40% of its population under 25.

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As he launched his campaign for reelection, the Conservative mayor, Andy Street, said progress in the region had been “knocked for six” by the pandemic and undone much of the work to rejuvenate the economy in his first three years in office.

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