Midlands Connect has received a major vote of confidence, with the Government today (Monday October 3) announcing a further £12million for its work in developing the transport links needed to power the Midlands Engine.
Operating as the transport component powering the Midlands Engine, the Midlands Connect partnership includes ten Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) – among them the D2N2 LEP; covering Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire – as well as Network Rail, Highways England, HS2 Ltd, 28 local authorities and the business community. The Department for Transport is an associate member.
The £12m funding – announced in a speech today by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling at the 2016 Conservative Party Conference, aptly being held in the Midlands, in Birmingham – comes as Midlands Connect continues to prepare a regional transport strategy; which will help drive growth and exports, and help secure a vibrant UK economy.
Sir John Peace, Chair of Midlands Connect and of the Midlands Engine – pictured, above, speaking at this year’s D2N2 LEP Annual Conference in July – said: “This is a huge vote of confidence in the Midlands and in Midlands Connect. The funds will be used for the critical work of developing transport links that will drive growth not just here in the Midlands but across the UK.
“Better transport connections in the Midlands will help unlock and unleash our huge economic potential, which will help keep the UK economy strong while we adapt to life outside of the EU.”
The £12m funding will be delivered over three years. The money will enable Midlands Connect to work on the implementation of its transport strategy after it is published in March 2017.
Andrew Cleaves, Chair of the Midlands Connect Steering Group, added: “Congestion remains a real challenge for the Midlands and that also impacts on the wider UK economy. To overcome that challenge and seize on opportunities like HS2, we must develop the transport links needed to quickly connect people with places and manufacturers with markets.
“Now is therefore the right time to invest heavily in critical infrastructure that will drive economic growth for generations to come. This investment announced today is crucial to that work.”
With exports of £50 billion a year – 16% of the UK total – the Midlands has a strong mix of high-growth industries; including logistics, advanced manufacturing and professional services. It is also the nation’s manufacturing heartland, home to a third of all UK jobs in that sector
For these reasons the Government has identified the Midlands as the UK’s ‘Engine for Growth’ and as pivotal in the rebalancing of the UK economy as a whole.
This vision of a ‘Midlands Engine’ sets out a vibrant and growing economy focused on productivity; one which can deliver more jobs, exports and an improved quality of life.
The long-term strategic transport plan being developed by Midlands Connect aims to not only unlock growth and jobs but also tackle the significant transport challenges already impacting on the competitiveness of both the Midlands and the wider UK economy.
In March this year the Government made a commitment to put Midlands Connect onto a statutory footing by 2018, establishing it as a Sub-National Transport Body overseeing pan-Midland transport policy and strategy.
For more on the work of Midlands Connect go to website www.midlandsconnect.uk
Media wanting more information about the work of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership can contact Sean Kirby, D2N2 Communications Manager, on 0115 957 8749 or email: email@example.com