West Midlands businesses press Minister on Brexit approach as Mayor marks 100 days in office

Business leaders have been joined by one of the key Brexit ministers for a summit organised by Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street.

Robin Walker MP, the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) minister, came to Aston University for the event which took place in conjunction with the three regional Chambers of Commerce.

The summit was one of the pledges made by Andy for his first 100 days after he was elected as Mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) on May 5.

West Midlands businesses press Minister on Brexit approach as Mayor marks 100 days in office

David Burton, chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber Brexit Club; Henrietta Brealey, Director of Policy and Strategic Relationships, Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce; Robin Walker, Minister in the Department for Exiting the European Union; Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands; Corin Crane, Chief Executive of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce.

The event saw representatives from the key sectors of advanced manufacturing, health and life sciences and higher education put across their views about the challenges and opportunities they face.

Issues around EU funding for research and development, immigration and overseas students were all raised with the minister.

Andy said: “I have pledged as Mayor to help the West Midlands make a success of Brexit.

“The most immediate way I can help make this happen is to provide a way for businesses and universities to get their views heard by the people who are involved in the negotiations.

“As a big exporter of manufactured goods, particularly cars, we have a huge stake in this process.

“I was delighted Robin agreed to take time to listen to the concerns and hopes of organisations here in the West Midlands and help to shape the Government’s approach.”

Mr Walker said: “The West Midlands makes a significant contribution to the UK's economy and will play a crucial role in making the most of the new opportunities that come with leaving the European Union.

"I found it very useful to meet with the Mayor and business leaders from the region and hear about their plans and priorities first hand.

"We will continue to work closely with industry to make sure their views are being reflected as we seek to negotiate the right deal for the whole of the UK."

The Mayor’s first 100 days have seen him fulfil the ten pledges he set out in his manifesto ahead of the election (visit www.wmca.org.uk/who-we-are/meet-the-mayor/mayors-100-days/ for more details).

Andy said: “I’m really pleased we have been able to fulfil the promises we made in the first 100 days.

“Many of these, however, are about preparing for success over the next three years.

“What is particularly encouraging from my perspective is the sense of purpose and collaboration between everybody involved in the WMCA.

“This is underlined by the fact we are the only region currently in negotiations with Government over devolution of further powers and funding ahead of the Autumn Budget.

“This way we can achieve our goals for better transport, more housing and improved job prospects.”