Business leaders in Greater Birmingham have urged the Government to deliver on the promise of a “truly regional approach” to its Industrial Strategy by committing to significant investment in the Midlands. The Government today unveiled its vision for a modern Industrial Strategy, with an emphasis on building on the UK’s strengths and extending excellence into the future, closing the productivity and wealth gap between different regions and driving growth more evenly across the country.
To meet each of the three challenges set out, the strategy outlines 10 key pillars of focus to be discussed as part of a 12 week consultation period, inviting contributions from industries, businesses, local groups and workers across the West Midlands.
The Green Paper features several key announcements to benefit the West Midlands. These include plans to cultivate the region’s world-leading sectors such as advanced manufacturing and engineering sector, support for the development of major infrastructure projects by providing development funding for major upgrades such as the Midlands Rail Hub and improving access to finance to aid business growth.
Other announcements include a £556m investment in the Northern Powerhouse, which follows on from the award of £2.9bn in Growth Deal funding to the 11 Local Enterprise Partnerships in the region.
Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce chief executive Paul Faulkner welcomed the focus on skills, infrastructure and regional investment growth.
He said: “We welcome an Industrial Strategy that recognises the importance of place and the need for tailored solutions responsive to local need and industry.
“The 10 Pillars underpinning the industrial strategy will certainly resonate with many businesses. A clear focus on trade strategy, improving skills and infrastructure and meaningful investment in growth across the country presents a promising start.”
Mr Faulkner said the Government must now reinforce its commitment to regional growth by replicating its Northern Powerhouse investment in other parts of the country, including the Midlands.
He added: “We look forward to seeing the Government deliver on a truly regional approach. We hope to see the level of additional investment in the Northern Powerhouse seen today replicated in the Midlands in the near future and await the forthcoming Midlands Engine strategy with interest. The Midlands Engine area has an economy worth £222 billion each year and is home to over 11.5 million people.
“Our strengths in manufacturing, research, innovation and growing technology hubs represent real opportunities for meaningfully rebalancing the economy. The Midlands is a vital, vibrant and growing heart of our nation and crucial to the long term success of the Great British economy.”