West Midlands Mayor Andy Street and Severn Trent CEO Liv Garfield have hosted a socially distanced roundtable with business leaders from across the West Midlands to discuss the region’s economic recovery.
The roundtable, which featured representatives from the likes of HSBC, Birmingham Airport, National Express, and the NEC Group, discussed the region’s current economic position in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, and what needs to be done to ensure the region bounces back quickly and effectively.
Yesterday’s meeting comes as the region ramps up its economic recovery work, with submissions due into Government in the coming weeks.
As well as discussing themes of recovery, the group also examined the Government’s job retention scheme and stressed the importance of retaining furloughed workers as the scheme begins to taper off.
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, who is spearheading the region’s economic recovery work alongside the WMCA’s economy and innovation lead Councillor Ian Brookfield and the region’s Economic Impact Group, said: “At the heart of the West Midlands economy is jobs and people’s livelihoods, and we have to do everything we can to keep as many people in work as possible.
“As well as the future of the furloughing scheme, it was good to convene the region’s senior business leaders and leading companies to discuss what a successful economic recovery would look like, and what can be done to ensure people will still have work to go to as we move through the pandemic.”
A main feature of the discussions was around the need for the economic recovery to be green, and focus on creating quality employment that builds a more sustainable, inclusive, and resilient regional economy for the future.
Liv Garfield, Severn Trent CEO, said: “These are such remarkable times it’s important we don’t lose sight of the fact that, as we try to get back to something like normal, all of those concerns we had before the pandemic hit are still there.
“Climate change hasn’t gone away just because we’ve been in lockdown so, as businesses, we’re still looking to government to create a framework that encourages everyone to become more sustainable. We all need to do what we can to help cut emissions as we move towards a lower carbon future and protect the natural environment.”