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East Midlands Chamber News

Ministerial champion for Midlands Engine

The Secretary of State for Communities the Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP has confirmed he is picking up the baton as new Ministerial Champion to drive forward the Government’s ambitious plans to fire up the Midlands as an engine for growth in the UK.

A thriving Midlands region is essential to building an economy which works for everyone and the government is playing its part in supporting the Midlands Engine Partnership achieve their ambition of growing the Midlands economy by £54bn by 2030 to make the Midlands an even better place to live, work, study and do business.

With Coventry named UK City of Culture for 2021 and Birmingham announced as the host of the 2022 Commonwealth Games, the Midlands is playing it’s role on the national and international stage.

The Secretary of State for Communities the Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP said: "The economic success of every region of the UK is vital to the success of our country as a whole and this is going to be more important than ever once we leave the European Union.

"I am delighted to be the new Ministerial Champion for the Midlands Engine and to act as its advocate across Government.

"I look forward to working in partnership with Sir John Peace, Chair of the Midlands Engine, to drive forward the Government’s plans to fire up the Midlands Engine to improve opportunities and quality of life across the region and to build an economy which works for everyone."

The announcement came as the Secretary of State spoke at the annual Local Government Association conference held in Birmingham on Tuesday.

Following this, he visited important Midlands Engine projects including unveiling plans with Birmingham City University for the site of the second phase of a new innovation centre – the STEAMHouse building – which has received £15m of Government funding.

The Secretary of State also visited the proposed site of the new HS2 station at Curzon Street. This follows the Secretary of State’s visit to Ibstock, Leicestershire, last week to see first-hand how Ibstock Brick is supporting the Government’s housing programme.

Sir John Peace, Midlands Engine Chairman, said: "I am delighted that the Secretary of State for Communities has been appointed Ministerial Champion for the Midlands Engine. He is already an enthusiastic supporter of our region and I look forward to working with him in the coming months to continue making our region a great place to live, learn and to run a business.

"There is no doubt that the Midlands is at the heart of the UK’s growth. The region is benefiting from the biggest increases in exports of any UK region and record levels of foreign direct investment – with 243 projects delivering over 13,000 new jobs in the past year alone.

"The Midlands Engine Investment Fund, together with the Barclays Midlands Growth Fund, is making over £600m available to the SME sector, creating jobs and helping realise our region’s potential through enterprise.

"We are in the vanguard of innovation across many forward-thinking sectors from digital connectivity, advanced manufacturing and engineering to the life sciences, clean energy and battery technologies. And, we are poised to cement our position as the UK’s transport hub with the arrival of HS2."