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First proper Midlands Engine Strategy welcomed

Posted on 9 March 2017

Chris HobsonReacting to the Midlands Engine Strategy announced this morning, Chris Hobson, Director of Policy at East Midlands Chamber*, said: “We welcome this first proper strategy for what the Midlands Engine – a concept launched almost two years ago – will do. It would seem at first glance that Government has been listening to business across the region, and that’s very positive.

“The headings chosen by Government reflect the concerns raised by us on behalf of our members and other businesses in recent years and appear to support a consensus that the Midlands is the heart of the UK economy, and not merely by its position. They also reflect work that partners and the Chamber are already progressing and it is essential that, as this strategy is further developed, it adds to, as opposed to replicates, this activity.

“The East Midlands, in particular, is the home of many large international manufacturers such as Rolls-Royce, Bombardier, Toyota, JCB, Caterpillar and Walgreen Boots Alliance, each of which has established supply chains and an existing business support ecosystem that the Midlands Engine Strategy must support.”

The Government’s announcement today states: “Stretching from Shropshire to Lincolnshire, with the M1, M6, and most of our major railway lines running through it, the Midlands sits at the very heart of the UK economy.

“Building on our modern Industrial Strategy, the Midlands Engine Strategy sets out the actions we are taking to address productivity barriers across the Midlands, enabling businesses to create more jobs, export more goods and services, and grow their productivity.”

It adds: “The Midlands is essential to our national economic success. The region is responsible for over a fifth of the UK’s total manufacturing capability. The services sector in the Midlands accounts for over four million jobs and is worth around £158bn a year. This is a dynamic region: there are now 427,610 more people in employment in the Midlands than there were in 2010 and the size of the Midlands economy has increased by £32.9bn.”

Chris added: “It is vital now, as we are about to embark on negotiations for leaving the EU, that the Government’s words are translated into positive actions to drive growth across the Midlands and for our towns, cities and counties to work together to make sure potential global investors know and buy-in to the advantages offered by the Midlands region.

“Businesses in the East Midlands will play an integral part in ensuring the UK makes a success of the coming years, and the Chamber will continue to do all it can to ensure the voice of business continues to be heard and heeded at Westminster.”

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