Cllr Bob Sleigh, chair of the West Midlands Combined Authority, has responded to the Government’s publication today of its Green Paper on Industrial Strategy.
Cllr Sleigh, who is also leader of Solihull Council, said: “As the Green Paper makes clear, local authorities and the WMCA, working with our Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) are the key institutions to take forward this Industrial Strategy at the local level.
“Our existing devolution deal has already seen the West Midlands start delivering its own Strategic Economic Plan and with further devolved resources and responsibilities, we are well placed to work with Government to build a genuinely world beating strategy.
“Working in this new devolved way, the WMCA, LEPs and wider business community are striving to create a climate in which all our companies, from the thousands of SMEs and supply chain firms right through to our global brands like JLR, Codemasters and Cadbury, can thrive and cement the West Midlands’ role as a dynamic exporter and global trader.
“The West Midlands is the manufacturing heartland of the UK and we would like to see this Industrial Strategy, alongside an expanded devolution deal, build on that solid foundation and help deliver further economic growth and increased prosperity.
“The Government’s intention to use this Industrial Strategy to cultivate our world-leading sectors, including the advanced manufacturing and engineering firms that employ so many people across the West Midlands, is particularly encouraging.
“Other strong West Midands sectors such as medical technologies, creative and digital and business and professional services will also have a strong role to play.
“We are also keen to explore how this strategy, with its emphasis on developing skills and Institutes of Technology, can support the WMCA’s own Productivity and Skills Commission in tackling our region’s skills shortage and make sure local people are equipped with skills that match the needs of local companies.
“We intend to use the forthcoming consultation to help shape an Industrial Strategy that works alongside our own Strategic Economic Plan to create a successful West Midlands that can not only help power the Midlands Engine but play a major role in its own right in boosting and rebalancing a post-Brexit, UK economy.”