Business Secretary to unveil £34 billion Midlands Engine investment package
The Midlands Engine will roar into life today as 11 local enterprise partnerships join forces to unveil a £34 billion economic development plan that could create 300,000 jobs.
Business Secretary Sajid Javid will launch the LEP’s ground-breaking plans to boost productivity, attract inward investment, increase connectivity and build a regional tourism offer at a special event at Birmingham University.
The new prospectus focuses on five key themes – skills, innovation, transport, promoting the ‘Midlands Engine’, and finance for business, and is part of the Government’s wider plans to support jobs and growth.
Mr Javid confirmed that the region will receive £5 million of support for a new trade and investment package to reach new markets and boost exports.
He will lead the first Midlands Engine trade mission next year to promote the region to investors and trade partners, delivering more growth, exports and jobs.
Mr Javid said:
The Midlands is the heartland of our thriving manufacturing sector and home to 25 universities, playing a strong role in the recovery of the UK economy. Over the last year, private sector employment in the Midlands grew more than three times faster than London and the South East.
But there are more opportunities to capitalise on the Midlands’ natural strengths and assets and make it an engine for growth. Through this prospectus, which sets out the region’s own vision to unlock greater economic growth, it’s time to fire up the Midlands Engine.
I commend the leadership shown by the Midlands local enterprise partnerships to come together and pool resources to work towards the shared goal of greater growth for the whole region.
If the Midlands region matches the predicted growth rate for the UK over the next 15 years, the LEPs’ initative could create 300,000 jobs and boost the national economy by £34 billion.
Specific ambitions for the Midlands Prospectus include:
Trade and Investment
- Undertaking the first Midlands Engine trade mission and hosting the first senior Midlands Engine inward investment visit.
- Presenting a selection of Midlands Engine regeneration projects seeking investment, at the MIPIM 2016 property convention.
- Building a regional business visitor and tourism offer.
- Developing the vision and strategy for transforming transport connectivity across the Midlands Engine region through Midlands Connect.
Research and Innovation
- Evolving phase two of the Midlands Innovation led Energy Research Accelerator and a pipeline of further similar propositions, including a likely Agri-food sector proposition.
- Building a stronger network of regional science parks as well as a higher education forum.
- Developing a region-wide fund of funds utilising the EU Joint European Resource for Micro to Medium Enterprises (JEREMIE) programme, supporting Small and Medium Enterprise growth ambitions of the region. The fund will deliver access to finance solutions on a bigger scale and ambition than before.
- Developing a more comprehensive demand led approach for skills development in the manufacturing and engineering sectors, based on increased provider collaboration and alignment.
- Undertaking a review of best practice relating to employment and skills. This will be used to accelerate the take up of new and innovative ideas.
Communities Minister Marcus Jones, the MP for Nuneaton, said:
As part of our long term economic plan, the Midlands economy has the potential to grow by £34 billion by 2030, and by the end of this parliament, there could be as many as 300,000 extra jobs.
Building on the strengths that we already have, with world-beating companies such as Jaguar Land Rover, Rolls Royce and JCB, the Midlands Engine will create the opportunities for businesses to grow and thrive.
Today’s prospectus demonstrates how, by focussing on innovation, finance and skills and developing world-class infrastructure we can create an environment in which the Midlands will cement its place as an economic engine for the whole nation.
David Frost CBE, Chair of Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire LEP, commented:
The Midlands Engine provides a unique opportunity to cement the natural links between business, the public sector and universities. Working together with the LEPs, the aim is to boost productivity and add value to the UK economy.
There is a real hunger to work across boundaries to build on the strengths that we have in pursuit of building an ever-stronger economy.
Chamberlain Files will be at the launch covering the event @ChamberlainFile
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