Increased devolved powers needed for region to thrive.
Birmingham MP Liam Byrne has called for the government to hand powers to the West Midlands to become the country’s enterprise and engineering capital – but asked for flexibility on demanding a metro-mayor
Byrne highlighted figures that show the number of high tech jobs has fallen in the region by over 2,000 while high tech jobs have surged by over 35,000 in the north west. he also claimed that West Midlands universities gets the lowest share of science research funding while the Manchester combined authority area is seeing 20% more new businesses open their doors than the West Midlands combined authority area.
In order to increase the region’s competitiveness, the Hodge Hill MP called for new science spending to be handed to local universities for research projects organised with industry, a new generation of technical universities to offer half of young people the chance to do a technical apprenticeship to a degree level of skill and new powers over the Start-up Loan fund to ensure more local people get help to start a business.
Speaking in a House of Commons debate on the Cities and Devolution Bill, Byrne said, “Our world beaters like Jaguar Land Rover show what we’re capable of – but we need more powers to become the enterprise and engineering capital of Britain. We need to invest more in high tech R&D, we need more high tech apprentices and crucially we need to give more people the chance to open their own firm. That’s the way we’ll get our region back to work and drive down poverty.
“So it’s time for government to stop underfunding us – and get behind us. And the government needs to show flexibility on demanding a metro-mayor. We can get the job done without one – if our council leaders are given the tools to do the job.”