The focus of the LEP is shifting to ensuring that we deliver the projects that we were successful in winning public funds to invest in – and see results in new jobs, improved skills levels and thriving communities.
The City Deal and our two Growth Deals are now either being delivered with physical works on the ground, or are in advanced stages of planning. The delivery of a new employment site at Liberty Park, Lichfield, including constructing a new bridge over a main rail line was the first LEP project anywhere in the country, and we will ensure that we remain at the head of the pack. Other achievements have included constructing a new road access at Four Ashes, enabling the move of auto components firm Gestamp to purpose-built premises, the creation of a business park at Meaford, and the launch of the Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone.
The LEP continues to both influence the local economy and to take advantage of national economic policy. We have seen a continuing decline in unemployment and the creation of new jobs with local companies continuing to take advantage of global growth and new companies making the wise decision to set up here in the centre of the country. The LEP is focusing on raising skills levels and addressing skills gaps to ensure that the needs of business are met by all sectors of education.
The world does not stand still, and the LEP will see ever more demands for partnership working, as the Government pursues its devolution agenda. We are working closely with the other nine LEPs represented in the Midlands Engine to raise the profile of the Midlands region on the global stage and attract investment, and are also promoting our strategic location at the pivot point between the Midlands Engine and Northern Powerhouse through the Constellation Partnership. The workload of the LEP is continuing to grow.
The LEP would not be the success it is without the positive contribution of our partners – business, the local authorities, the education sector and a whole host of committed individuals.