Mayor tells Tories region is
THE West Midlands is “on the cusp of great things”, mayor Andy Street has told the Conservative Party Conference.
And it “truly is our time” to take advantage of the unique situation the region finds itself in, he said.
This was the first Conservative Party Conference to be held in the West Midlands since the mayor was elected a little over 18 months ago.
Speaking on the opening day of the four-day event at the ICC in Birmingham, Mr Street championed a “new way of doing politics” which involves working with businesses and charities.
To huge rounds of applause, the former managing director of John Lewis told a packed conference hall of some of the exciting changes that had been happening during his time in charge.
“In the last few years, we have started to turn things around,” he said.
“The West Midlands had the biggest increase in jobs last year, more start-ups than anywhere else outside London, and we are the only region in the country with a trade surplus with China.
“So how have we done it? We have firstly focused on our strengths. Those industries where we really are the best in the world. Autonomous vehicles are being tested in Birmingham, electric taxis manufactured in Coventry, and Range Rovers are sold around the globe.
“Beyond engineering, our doctors and scientists in the West Midlands are focused on the race against diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s.
“We are world leaders at getting new drugs from test-tubes into the hands of GPs as quickly and safely as possible. We have a thriving creative and media scene, led by the youngest, most diverse population in Europe.
“We’re hoping that Channel 4 will see our talent and creativity, and join us in Birmingham to shape the future of broadcasting together.”
Mr Street spoke in the week work finally got under way on the new high speed rail (HS2) line from London to Birmingham. He and Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, took time out to visit the old Curzon Street Station in Eastside where diggers broke ground on the £56 billion project
Phase 1 of the railway will open between London and Birmingham in December 2026. A second Y-shaped phase will launch in two stages. Phase 2a from the West Midlands to Crewe will begin in 2027, followed by Phase 2b from Crewe to Manchester, and Birmingham to Leeds, in 2033. During his speech, the