Statement from the GBSLEP in response to Chancellor George Osborne’s announcement regarding the Long Term Economic Plan for the Midlands
Andy Street, chairman of the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), said: “We very much welcome Chancellor George Osborne’s speech today and in particular, his acknowledgement that growth, jobs and productivity are rising here faster than the UK average. We support his ambition of making the Midlands an “engine for growth” and believe that here in Greater Birmingham we are already demonstrating that this is a reality. It is good news that the Government’s long-term economic plan for the Midlands reflects important elements of the GBSLEP’s agenda. This will help to maximise both our growth opportunities, such as those around HS2, the advanced manufacturing and engineering sector and energy, while also addressing key economic challenges, most notably around skills.
“The Chancellor’s commitment to invest in 100 new Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) job coaches for Birmingham and Solihull, designed to help them access the training and apprenticeships they need to get work, is particularly exciting. Having dedicated job coaches to support local people into local jobs and to guide skills development will be a major contributor to helping a large proportion of these individuals into worthwhile employment and fairing well in the labour market.
“To support this, the GBSLEP, through its members, will commit to making job vacancies fully available to local jobseekers at all levels. We believe this signals a real transformation in how things will be done in the future and will go a long way to ensuring all people within our region benefit from the current upswing in the economy. We look forward to collaboratively working in partnership with DWP and key employers, as well as further and higher education establishments to ensure the successful implementation of this initiative.
“The Chancellor’s offer to devolve power over skills is particularly welcome. This is an issue that GBSLEP has been advocating for a long-time. We look forward to working with neighbouring LEPs and local authorities over the coming months to bring forward a compelling proposal.
“The Chancellor’s backing for many of the other important priorities for the GBSLEP is further good news, especially significant investment to improve rail connections and major motorways. Agreement to holding a High Speed Rail Investment Summit will allow us to showcase all of the regeneration and supply-chain opportunities in one place, thereby helping us to maximise the benefits that the HS2 network and stations will bring.
“We also welcome the invitation to Midlands’ universities to bring forward a proposal for investment in science. We have a growing reputation as a centre of excellence for science, technology and engineering and are keen to support HE institutions to develop a national hub for energy research.
“We look forward to responding to the initiatives outlined in today’s announcement and rising to the challenge of driving increased employment rates and economic growth for the GBSLEP region.”
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