News story

West Midlands saddles up for productive year

Liz Truss: “The West Midlands is helping lead the way for UK productivity growth”.

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  • Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Liz Truss, visits local businesses showcasing the variety of high-quality produce the region has to offer – from local ales to cutting-edge saddlery

  • Minister champions the innovation of local businesses and urges them to take advantage of global exporting opportunities

Today Liz Truss will champion strong productivity growth in the Midlands, visiting Fairfax Saddles, a high-tech saddlery, and Bathams Brewery, a family-run brewer.

The West Midlands is currently leading the way with the highest productivity growth of any English region since 2010, supported by strong employment growth in the region.

Today’s visit also comes after government support for the British beer industry came into effect last week, with taxes on beer, cider and spirits frozen for another year from this month onwards. This means that a typical pint of beer is now 14 pence cheaper than if taxes had risen in line with inflation.

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss said:

The West Midlands is helping lead the way for UK productivity growth and it is the local businesses I met today are crucial to driving growth, providing jobs and boosting opportunity for all.

We need to support local businesses and those investing skills training to give the next generation the tools they need to succeed, increasing our economy’s productivity potential even further.

Latest figures show that the West Midlands economy is going from strength to strength. Goods exports rose by 3% in the first half of 2018, building on more than £33 billion worth of goods exports in 2017. There are 252,000 more people in employment than in 2010 and close to 91,000 more businesses.

The Chief Secretary will also visit Dudley College of Technology, following the government’s announcement in July 2018 of a new skills deal with the West Midlands Combined Authority. This could unlock up to £69 million funding, to boost digital and technical skills and job opportunities across the West Midlands, including investment in local colleges, like Dudley College, which will give access to the latest equipment and facilities for digital and construction skills.

Published 8 February 2019