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Black Country LEP Conference celebrates continued economic growth

Delegates from public, private and voluntary sector organisations and businesses in the Black Country joined the Black Country LEP for the Annual Conference at West Bromwich Albion Football Club this morning (21 March 2018).

Hosted by ITV Central’s Sameena Ali-Khan the Conference was opened by Black Country LEP Chair Stewart Towe who up-dated delegates on key highlights from the Black Country Economic Review.

This was followed by spotlight interviews between Sameena Ali-Khan and Black Country LEP Board members covering energy, employment and skills, Black Country Garden City and Black Country Growth Hub.

The presentations and spotlight sessions were followed by an extended Q&A session and an opportunity for delegates to network and meet the Black Country LEP team.

Stewart Towe, Chair of the Black Country LEP Board said:

Its been another exciting year for the Black Country as it continues to offer lucrative growth potential generating £20.2bn GVA per annum. Through the Black Country Economic Review, the findings of which we have shared today, the Black Country LEP is able to apply economic intelligence across all our strategic plans and activity meaning we are at the forefront of national policy and able to shape this to our local needs. Building on the successes this year we will continue to work to create the conditions for businesses and people to thrive across the Black Country.”

Key highlights from the Black Country Economic Review include:

  • Gross Value Added in the Black Country is continuing to grow and has reached £20.2bn.
  • The Black Country Business Base is growing with the number of active businesses in the Black Country rising to 37,490, an increase of 2,540 businesses over the year.
  • Business starts reach the highest level since 2004 with 5,895 businesses started in the Black Country in 2016.
  • Wages are up across the Black Country and the number of people claiming key out of work benefits is at its lowest level for more than a decade.
  • There has been a significant increase in advanced and higher-level apprenticeships in the Black Country.
  • The number of people qualified to NVQ4 level has increased by 2.8% since last year with the proportion of NEETs in the Black Country lower than the national average.
  • There has been £593m infrastructure investment across the Black Country including a £65m investment to Walsall Waterfront to develop high quality homes, offices, retail and leisure space; Science, Technology & Prototyping Centre (Wolverhampton) £10.1m investment to create a new employer-led training facility; £350m investment to Midlands Metropolitan Hospital (Sandwell) to provide acute healthcare; Dudley’s Business and Innovation Enterprise Zone (Dudley) £71m investment to develop land for offices and industrial space and £32m investment to Galton Lock (Sandwell) which will provide new homes, commercial premises and recreation space.
  • Over 2,500 new homes were built in 2017 the Black Country now has 490,370 homes to accommodate our 1.18m residents
  • The Black Country is investing in infrastructure to connect people and places from Motorways and Roads to Railways, Metros and Interchanges from investment in M6 J10 to improve congestion and connectivity to £343m investment in Wednesbury to Brierley Hill Metro Extension to include a new Dudley Interchange to provide connectivity to DY5 Enterprise Zone.
  • Investing in high-speed broadband that to-date has ensured 500,000 businesses and home have access to superfast broadband.

For the full report click here.


For further information contact Helen Annetts, PR on Behalf of the Black Country LEP on 07779026720 or email:  

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