Business Secretary Dr Vince Cable visited the Black Country on Thursday 24 July, meeting the LEP Board and touring leading companies Hadley Group and Moog.
The visit began in the morning with a tour of Hadley Group operations. Hadley is Europe's largest privately owned cold rolled steel manufacturer and won the 2014 Queen's Award for Enterprise Innovation for its unique UltraSTEEL manufacturing process, which has generated new exports of over £44m in four years with savings to customers of over £4m.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said, "The UK needs more companies like Hadley, a successful family exporting business using its own advanced technology and training its apprentices.
"The Black Country has real strengths in engineering which can help provide the balanced economic recovery the country needs.
"The partnership work of the LEP and the arrival of Jaguar Land Rover's engine plant in particular has engendered real optimism about the future."
Dr Cable met members of the LEP Board for discussions that covered:
• The strong reputation of the Black Country LEP and embedding its progress
• Developing long term strategic policies with sector and local focus
• The Black Country Broadband plan
• Black Country Enterprise Zone progress
• Energy challenges for manufacturing businesses
• Access to finance for SMEs
• Increasing use of UK Export Finance
• FE Colleges addressing skills challenges
Stewart Towe, Chair of the Black Country LEP Board and Hadley Group CEO, said, "It has been a privilege to welcome the Secretary of State to the Black Country and Hadley Group. The LEP Board appreciated the opportunity for detailed discussions with Dr Cable, which covered the delivery of our Growth Deal, High Value Manufacturing and supply chain and skills development and the progress of the Black Country Enterprise Zone.”
In the afternoon, Vince Cable visited Moog Aircraft Group on the i54 site in the Black Country Enterprise Zone.
Moog is a US owned global aerospace company employing over 400 people in Wolverhampton. The company contributes £20m in Gross Value Added to the Black Country economy and has an annual turnover of £150m. They design a wide range of commercial and military aircraft actuation systems equipment. Moog uses many different production operations such as machining and heat treatment, each of which has to be carefully specified to ensure the safety of the parts.