News - 22 October 2015

Partnership will back Midlands Engine with better transport links

Leading business and local authority figures from across the East and West Midlands met today (October 22) to launch a partnership which could boost the regional economy by more than £1 billion a year, create 300,000 additional jobs and save businesses nearly £500 million.

Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Transport, Robert Goodwill MP, and Chair of HS2 Ltd Sir David Higgins spoke at Derby College’s Roundhouse, on how transport links and investment priorities will help the Midlands to grow and create jobs.

Also speaking at the event was Peter Richardson, Chairman of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership for Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. He spoke on the benefits of connectivity for businesses in the area.

On Midlands Connect, Peter commented: “The development of Midlands Connect is crucially important in driving forward our economic growth.

“The Midlands must be supported in creating the infrastructure to create good north-south and east-west links, and the further transport routes to enable it to trade internationally.

“We’re determined to use private and public sector and central and local government support to create those links to benefit all Midlands’ communities.

“It’s only by developing this kind of framework that the Midlands Engine will be able to drive forward its own and the UK’s economy in the future.”

D2N2 – a private sector-led partnership promoting economic growth across Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire – has identified transport as a key driver of economic growth and two of its eight key economic sectors are transport-related; transport equipment manufacturing, and transport and logistics.

Today’s event heard how the Midlands, with a population of ten million and annually contributing more than £178 billion to the British economy, offered significant economic opportunities.

The Midlands Connect Partnership – which includes more than 40 public and private organisations – is pressing for better road, rail, and freight links and will look to develop a transport strategy to drive the regional economy. Government – which announced £5million in the July budget, to be used to develop the strategy’s research and development – has ambitions to build a ‘Midlands Engine’ for economic growth.

Research undertaken by Midlands Connect states that cutting journey times on key Midland routes by 20% over the next 20 years could help local businesses save £460 million a year, increase economic activity in the region by £1.1 billion a year and create 306,000 additional jobs in the region.

Nottingham City Council, Birmingham City Council, the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP, Staffordshire County Council and Lincolnshire County Council were among those who signed up today to work on Midlands Connect. Its strategy will be developed jointly by the Midlands Connect Partnership and the Department for Transport.

Transport Minister Robert Goodwill said: “In addition to the massive investment the Government is making in our transport infrastructure, we want to help regions across the country to make their voices heard on how their transport networks are run.

“We know that good transport doesn’t just help people get around, it helps them get on, and these are key components of our long term economic plan to boost jobs and growth. I congratulate the Midlands Connect Partnership on getting the Midlands Engine for Growth in motion and starting work on this vital strategy.”

Chair of HS2 Ltd Sir David Higgins added: “HS2 has the potential to be more than a new railway. It’s an unprecedented opportunity to create jobs, boost skills and employment and improve transport connectivity across the country.

“Through Midlands Connect local, civic and business leaders are working strategically to get the whole region HS2 ready. The programme has received additional support today from Government investment to develop a vision and strategy for transforming transport connectivity across the region, in order to drive economic growth.”

See the Midlands Connect strategy report at the web link HERE. (web link http://www.wmita.org.uk/media/3094/midlandsconnect_a4brochure_final_lowres.pdf)

Media wishing more information about Midlands Connect can contact Steve Swingler on 0121 214 7073 or mobile 07887 794241, or email: steveswingler@centro.org.uk

Enquiries from media on the work of the D2N2 LEP can contact D2N2 Communications Officer Sean Kirby on 0115 9578749 or email: sean.kirby@d2n2lep.org

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