The Midlands Engine Strategy is a demonstration of the government’s commitment to making the Midlands a powerful engine for economic growth. Stretching from Shropshire to Lincolnshire, with the M1, M6, and most of the UK major railway lines running through it, the Midlands sits at the very heart of the UK economy.
On the 9th of March, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced the Midlands Engine Strategy during a visit to Dudley. The Strategy includes significant investment in skills, connectivity and local growth and sets out how the government plans to drive the region’s huge potential and promote the Midlands to the world.
This strategy sets out a variety of commitments to deliver growth and productivity across the Midlands through:
1. Significant investment in local growth:
– £392 million of funding announced for the Midlands through the Local Growth Fund.
2. Improving connectivity in order to raise productivity:
– All rail passengers in the Midlands will have the option to use a smart ticket on local rail services by 2018.
– The Midlands Engine Partnership is invited to develop proposals for establishing 5G testbeds in the region to place the Midlands at the front line of the next wave of digital technology.
3. Strengthening skills in order to make the Midlands a more attractive location for businesses:
– Setting up a flagship Midlands Skills Challenge to improve skills across the Midlands, with £20 million new funding to improve employment prospects.
4. Supporting enterprise and innovation in order to foster a more dynamic regional economy:
– The Midlands Engine Investment Fund will provide over £250 million to support small businesses across the Midlands to grow and diversify.
5. Promoting the Midlands nationally and internationally in order to maximise trade and investment in the region:
– Government published Midlands Engine Investment Portfolio of 19 projects showcasing some of the most exciting investment opportunities across the Midlands region to international investors
6. Enhancing quality of life in order to attract and retain skilled workers, as well as to foster the local tourist economy:
– Government will explore how to make best use of the Government Art Collection and other publicly held art collections to support private sector growth across the Midlands.