West Midlands is the engine of UK success – Mayor It is ‘our time’, Street tells Tory Conference
THE West Midlands is powering the UK’s success, Mayor Andy Street has told the Conservative conference.
In an upbeat activists, he said: time”.
But he also warned that “not everyone is sharing in this success”.
Mr Street played a high-profile role at the Conservative conference in Manchester this week, after winning the election earlier this year to become the first West Midlands mayor.
He used the platform to highlight the successes of the West Midlands and to urge the Government to continue supporting the region.
The Mayor told the conference about driverless and electric cars produced in Coventry, the next generation of medicine being pioneered in Birmingham, and the Black Country being at the heart of our future transport technologies.
He praised government plans for an “industrial strategy” to grow the British economy, but he warned: “If the industrial strategy is to work, it has to be a roaring success in our regions, and in particular in the West Midlands, because once again Birmingham, Coventry and the Black Country are becoming the engines of the UK’s success.
“And that’s because we’ve been getting on with the job, and maybe message to Tory “It is indeed our we don’t shout about it enough, and perhaps you don’t know our economy is growing faster than anywhere else. We’re top for inward investment, exports, start-ups outside London and last year for pay growth.
“Some would say, after decades of waiting, it is indeed ‘our time’. ”
Mr Street stressed that the West Midlands was united – a reference to seven local authorities in the region working together through the West Midlands Combined Authority, and Labour council leaders working with the Tory mayor.
However, he said there was a need to improve skills and training in the West Midlands.
“The job is far from done. Not everyone is sharing in this success and we simply do not have the skills to match our ambition.
“So conference, addressing the skills challenge is my priority and I hope it will be the Government’s in order to reach the full potential of the industrial strategy.”
The region is bidding for three major projects at the moment – hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games, becoming the new home of Channel 4 and winning Coventry’s bid to be 2021 City of Culture.
> Andy Street