Business boss: ‘We are the new Victorians’
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