A new plan to make the Midlands an ‘engine of growth’ which could help create 300,000 jobs and boost the national economy by £34bn will be unveiled today at the University of Birmingham.
The Midlands Engine prospectus was produced by 11 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and is designed to boost productivity, attract inward investment, increase connectivity and build a regional tourism offer.
The prospectus will focus, in particular, on five key themes: skills, innovation, transport, promoting the ‘engine’, and finance for business.
The Government predicts that if the Midlands region matches the projected growth rate for the UK over the next 15 years, it could create 300,000 jobs and boost the national economy by £34bn.
Following last week’s devolution deal with the West Midlands, business secretary Sajid Javid has committed £5m for a new trade and investment package for the region. He will also lead the first Midlands Engine trade mission next year.
‘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’, the business secretary said.
‘Over the last year,’ he continued, ‘private sector employment in the Midlands grew more than three times faster than London and the South East.’
But, he claims, there is more potential for growth in the Midlands.
‘I commend the leadership shown by the Midlands Local Enterprise Partnerships, local authorities and others to come together and pool resources to work towards the shared goal of greater growth for the whole region.’
David Frost CBE, chair of Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire LEP, said:
‘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.’