A special event held at Birmingham University saw a new, exciting proposal unveiled which could have a huge impact not only on the Midlands, but on the entire country – £34 billion worth of impact, in fact. That’s the estimated boost the plan, given the title of the Midlands Engine Prospectus, could create for the UK economy by 2030.
Why the Midlands?
The Midlands may not be the first area that springs to mind when you consider which regions may hold the greatest power to aid the national economy. But a simple look at the success this region has enjoyed in recent years is more than enough to dispel this potential under-informed oversight.
As Savid Javid’s speech, given at the event as part of his role as Business Secretary, pointed out, the region is the very core of the ‘thriving manufacturing sector’ in the UK, as well as containing a massive twenty five universities. Clearly, it holds a great deal of potential.
What’s more, it seems to be out-performing the regions we might instinctively consider more powerful players in the national economy: over the last year, the Midlands enjoyed a growth in private sector employment which multiplied that of London and the southeast by more than three.
The governmental prospectus also reveals impressive figures the Midlands can boast of: an economy of £222 billion per year, and a population of 11.5 million. So, it makes sense that a decision has been made to harness all this potential and turn it into even greater economic growth and productivity.
What does the plan involve?
The Midlands Engine Prospectus places focus on five key areas: skills, innovation, geographical accessibility, promoting the ‘Engine’, and finance for business. It indicates the collaboration of the eleven Midlands Local Enterprises Partnership, local authorities, and others, to pool their resources with the uniting goal of creating greater growth within the region.
The hope is to improve connectivity and encourage inward investment, which will be extremely meaningful for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), potentially allowing them to expand exponentially. With this aim, the region will receive a £5 million investment to support new trade, reach new markets, and boost exports.
All this could have incredible results for enterprises in the area, and result in the creation of a whopping 300,000 new jobs by the end of this parliament, and the opportunity for businesses to grow and thrive. This undoubtedly translates to excellent news not just for the Midlands, but for the UK as a whole. As David Frost put it, this new prospectus will allow the Midlands to ‘cement the natural links between business, the public sector, and universities’, ultimately ‘boost[ing] productivity and add[ing] value to the UK economy.’
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