The publication today of the Government’s Midlands Engine Strategy marks an important moment for the region. Since the Midlands Engine formed over a year ago, it has been engaging with stakeholders across the region to identify the best opportunities to boost economic growth in the Midlands for the benefit of Britain.
Sir John Peace, Chair of the Midlands Engine, said:
“We have come together across a wider geography than has been attempted before – to deliver a collective view of what the Midlands can achieve. We are confident in our physical, economic, commercial and cultural assets – and in our people – and our potential to contribute more to the success of UK plc.
“We believe that with the right investments in place the Midlands can raise its performance to match global cities like Singapore, Shanghai and New York. We can grow faster and generate more wealth, helping the government to create an economy that serves everyone well.
“The Government sets out in the Midlands Engine Strategy what more it believes we are capable of achieving when we organise as a region and how they will support us. We will consult widely amongst our partners, particularly among young people who will live in the future we work to create.
“We will publish an ambitious vision of the Midlands of the future. A vision of a Midlands that thinks big, acts big, and aims higher. Through a realistic plan to make it happen.”
Alongside the Midlands Engine Strategy, the Government has also published the Midlands Transport Strategy That identifies the key infrastructure investments that will better connect Midlands towns and cities and deliver the extra road and rail capacity at the nation’s crossroads that whole the country needs. Connectivity is a key theme for the Midlands Engine, playing a vital role in boosting economic growth.
Midlands Connect, has been tasked by the Government to identify transport initiatives to unlock the growth potential of the Midlands, presenting its final strategy to Westminster this week following 18 months of detailed, evidenced-based work. Key transport infrastructure projects have been set out, which together have the capacity to unlock billions in untapped economic potential and create 300,000 Midlands jobs over the next two decades.
Sir John Peace said: “We sit at the heart of the UK’s transport network and therefore an investment in this region’s transport will have a remarkable benefit to the whole country and create a positive ripple effect to boost the development of industry, skills and infrastructure.
“This strategy will help to secure the further infrastructure funding needed to lay the groundwork for improved connectivity across the Midlands, bringing the East and West closer together and opening the region’s businesses to the world.”
“If this strategy is fully realised the Midlands, together with Government, has an opportunity to use HS2 as a catalyst for growth and create a transport network that can deliver a once in a generation opportunity for long term economic success not just for us here, in the Midlands Engine, but across the UK.”
Peter Richardson, Chair of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, added:
“Derby is the UK’s ‘Capital of Innovation’ and is recognised as one of the fastest growing business centres in recent years. Its potential is clear to see, as it continues to expand with innovative small and international companies. Nottingham has already benefited from recent significant transport investment, including the tram extension and the A453 widening, and is ambitious to grow further, faster.
“Developing the projects set out in the Midland Connect Strategy will stimulate the economy further, and give the vast talent pool across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire greater access to jobs and businesses throughout the Midlands, from east to west and north to south.
“We are in full support of flagship projects such as the Midland Main Line upgrade and electrification; and the development of the Newark Northern bypass. These could increase the speed of journeys across our region, giving businesses and their employees better access to the talent across the region; especially in the triangle of cities which is Derby, Nottingham and Leicester. The development plans for the A52, including a mass transit strategy and access to the HS2 Hub, will also have a major impact on our area. If we are to see the true potential of all our communities in the Midlands we need these recommendations to be acted on as soon as possible.”