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Posted on:
5th December, 2018

A Local Industrial Strategy that focusses on strengths and future opportunities

Jonathan Browning is chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP). Here he sets out how his LEP is working with the West Midlands Combined Authority to build a Local Industrial Strategy based on local strengths.

A Local Industrial Strategy that focusses on strengths and future opportunities

“Coventry and Warwickshire has been heavily involved in drafting the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Local Industrial Strategy which is focused on driving growth and productivity.

“We felt it was really important to focus on the strengths that currently exist as well as grasping future opportunities.

“Our region is growing at a rapid rate. We have achieved a 20 per cent growth in the last five years, we are the UK’s leading exporting region and since 2017, we have had the greatest number of new jobs from FDI projects outside London.

“In addition there are significant future investments and events on the horizon with the West Midlands being the UK’s first large-scale test bed for 5G, Coventry chosen as the UK City of Culture in 2021 and Birmingham hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2022.

“I chair the WMCA’s Strategic Economic Development Board and with all of our partners involved across the WMCA, there is no doubt Coventry and Warwickshire is making an essential contribution to the wider economy in the West Midlands.

“As part of the consultation process to develop the Local Industrial Strategy, we placed great emphasis on the development of a robust evidence base and clear insights into our unique strengths.

“We are particularly strong in key areas of focus – automotive and rail technology, R&D, ultra-low emission vehicles, connected and autonomous vehicles, logistics, digital and creative businesses, gaming companies and tourism and culture.

“The Local Industrial Strategy is also an opportunity to showcase our innovation and well-connected infrastructure. We are only an hour away on the train from London and the introduction of HS2 will mean the region is “closer” to the capital city than Cambridge currently is.

“A recent example of our strength in innovation is the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) where we won in a national competition. It will help deliver on the Industrial Strategy’s goal to accelerate the UK’s transition to become a leader in battery development and manufacture.

“The UKBIC is a perfect example of partnership working since we were successful after a joint bid between Coventry City Council, the CWLEP and WMG at the University of Warwick.

“It is vital that the Local Industrial Strategy is strategically-focused, rather than simply asking for a certain share of Government funding. We believe we deliver on that.

“The West Midlands has the youngest, most diverse population outside London which is why inclusive growth is so important to close gaps in skills, public health and housing.

“It is also essential there is flexibility within the Local Industrial Strategy to reflect the differences of the urban and rural areas within the West Midlands geography, which are all quite different but, working together as a whole, we are more than able to meet the Government’s objectives.

“By grasping these opportunities and executing our plans, we will lay the foundations for even greater economic growth in the West Midlands which will improve the future for our communities and businesses and, in turn, benefit the UK in total.”

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