Still time for businesses and others to have their say on building an economy fit for the future

Wednesday 7th of November 2018 04:16 PM

With a further £100 million for the West Midlands announced in last week’s Budget, businesses and other key sectors can still have their say on how to channel such funding to build a regional economy fit for the future.

The West Midlands Local Industrial Strategy consultation document sets out proposals to release the region’s economic potential and harness its strengths to meet the challenges and opportunities of a post-Brexit, technology-driven world.

The consultation runs until Thursday November 15 and the business community, academia, public bodies and third sector organisations are being urged not to miss out on the opportunity to give their views on how best to grow the regional economy in the years ahead.

With more than £4.5billion of investment in infrastructure, skills training and housing already lined up for the West Midlands over the next decade, the Local Industrial Strategy will channel that investment so it generates the maximum benefit for both businesses and local people.

The document is the result of several months of careful research and evidence gathering led by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and the region’s three local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) – Black Country, Coventry & Warwickshire and Greater Birmingham & Solihull.

Jonathan Browning, chair of the region’s Strategic Economic Development Board and the Coventry and Warwickshire LEP, said: “Only last week the Government showed its backing for our approach by announcing a further £100m of funding for the West Midlands.

“That money will help support sectors which are at the heart of our Local Industrial Strategy such as transport infrastructure and connected and autonomous vehicle technology.

“I would encourage people to play their part and help shape the final strategy by giving us their views on how we can best build a dynamic and resilient economy.”

The consultation document highlights the region’s position as:

  • The UK centre for innovation in new forms of transport such as electric vehicles, connected and autonomonous vehicles (CAV) and battery manufacture.
  • A global leader for testing and bringing on stream new medicines and health devices
  • The biggest financial and professional services cluster outside London
  • A top location for the creative sector with world leaders in gaming and innovative content producers for new platforms

The West Midlands Local Industrial Strategy Consultation document and the consultation survey can be found at www.wmca.org.uk/industrialstrategy

The Budget announced by Chancellor Philip Hammond last week saw £72 million for new transport schemes in the West Midlands, £20 million for a UK Mobility Data Institute to help analyse transport data generated by new mobility technologies like connected and autonomous vehicles and confirmation of a further £20 million to develop and trial the UK’s first Future Mobility Zone.

The Zone will help put the region at the forefront of technological innovation including self-driving shuttle buses and e-bikes.