Busi­ness boss: ‘We are the new Vic­to­ri­ans’

Birmingham Post - - NEWS -

THE Mid­lands re­gion can be ‘the new Vic­to­ri­ans’ by lead­ing a world of op­por­tu­nity and am­bi­tion in the UK, the Birm­ing­ham trade con­fer­ence was told.

Sir John Peace, chair­man of the ‘Mid­lands En­gine’, said: “I think that we in the Mid­lands are the new Vic­to­ri­ans. A hun­dred years or so ago you could in­vest in the in­fra­struc­ture do­ing bold things and I think that is what dis­tin­guishes the Mid­lands to­day.

“We are the new Vic­to­ri­ans. Over the next five years we look for­ward to many ex­cit­ing de­vel­op­ments that will en­able us to show­case our re­gion.” Sir John pointed out that next year the UK and the US will be cel­e­brat­ing the 400th an­niver­sary of the Pil­grim Fa­thers and high­lighted the many his­toric links be­tween the two coun­tries. He added: “We have a clear vi­sion about the type of econ­omy we want to cre­ate for busi­ness and help the peo­ple who live and work here to thrive. “Our am­bi­tion is to im­prove pro­duc­tiv­ity and add £50 bil­lions to the Mid­lands by 2030. And if we can do this by 2030 I think the Mid­lands will con­tinue to be lead­ing the way.”

Sir John said the Mid­lands En­gine had pri­or­i­ties to con­trib­ute to the UK’s in­dus­trial strat­egy and add sig­nif­i­cant value to both the Mid­lands and UK econ­omy in the post-Brexit era.

He added: “We in­tend to in­vest in con­nec­tiv­ity, im­prov­ing our road and rail net­works. I would like to see more flights be­tween the United States and the Mid­lands re­gion. But in­vest­ment is not just about trans­for­ma­tion and im­prov­ing jour­ney time, it’s about cre­at­ing jobs.

“This is ar­guably our great busi­ness op­por­tu­nity in decades, ben­e­fit­ing both the East and West Mid­lands alike. And it’s not just about big busi­ness – it’s the SMEs.

“I know in the United States how im­por­tant small and medeum en­ter­prises are to the US econ­omy. But to do this we have to in­vest in skills in this coun­try, mak­ing sure we have a work­force with the right skills for the fu­ture.

“And closely linked to that is in­no­va­tion and en­ter­prise. And this is why it’s so im­por­tant to have our univer­si­ties at the very heart of this col­lab­o­ra­tion.”

We have a clear vi­sion about the type of econ­omy we want Sir John Peace, chair­man of the ‘Mid­lands En­gine’

> Sir John Peace

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