Launch of the Midlands Engine
Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Sajid Javid, has launched the Midlands Engine Prospectus at a summit attended by senior politicians and business leaders from the East and West Midlands, including The Marches LEP.
The Midlands Engine sets out the aims for the whole of the Midlands to work more collaboratively to accelerate economic growth and productivity improvement across the region. It will also develop into a global brand that allows the Midlands to promote itself in its entirety to the world.
Held at the University of Birmingham on December 4, the Midlands Engine launch summit saw regional stakeholders drawn from its business base, local authorities, local enterprise partnerships and education providers coming together to present their shared ambitions.
The prospectus sets out the scale of the region’s ambition and is in response to Government announcements made earlier this year, which linked to plans for the Midlands economy and its desire for increased productivity.
It is estimated that the Midlands economy could grow by £34 billion by 2030 if it matched the predicted growth rate for the UK as a whole. In achieving this, it is also suggested that a further 300,000 jobs could be created by the end of this parliament across the Midlands as a whole.
The Midland Engine region already boasts a £222bn (14.6%) contribution in GVA to the wider UK economy, growing by 30% in the last decade. Its strong manufacturing base currently employs 637,400 people, delivering 19.7% of the UK’s total manufacturing output.
Seen by many as ‘the place to do business’, the Midlands Engine region has excellent international links with inward investment, growing by 130% during the period 2011 – 2015. In this period, the region attracted 880 foreign investment projects which have in turn created more than 48,000 new jobs, while at the same time safeguarding a further 23,000. The region has also accounted for 16% of the UK’s overall exports in 2013 by selling to more than 178 countries around the globe and overall exports increased by 38% between 2010 and 2013.
Based on these statistics, the Midlands Engine stakeholders believe that it is crucial to build on this level of momentum and will be working closely with the Government to implement the proposals set out in the prospectus. Both parties will promote the use of the Midlands Engine to its fullest in order to ensure and productivity gains anticipated.
Business Secretary Sajid 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, 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.”
Professor Sir David Eastwood, Vice Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, said: “As England’s first civic university, it is fitting that the University of Birmingham is convening the inaugural Midlands’ Engine Summit. We welcome the Government’s growing commitment to our region. The prospectus we are launching today is crucial for the delivery of a shared vision that will allow us all to play a role in unlocking the potential of the region.”