Strategy launched to make West Midlands lead the way in electric vehicles
A new technology-focused industrial strategy has been launched for the West Midlands to deliver thousands of highly skilled jobs.
The plans will see the region lead the way in developing the next generation of battery technology for electric vehicles, a move which political leaders say will drive growth and boost the economy.
The strategy was launched today by Business Secretary Greg Clark and West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, who announced a £28 million boost for the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre in Coventry.
It aims to build on the region's economic growth spurt – which saw productivity grow at twice the rate of the UK average in 2018.
And putting the West Midlands at the forefront of the development of greener and more reliable future modes of transport is central to the plans.
Launching the strategy, Mr Clark said: "The launch is testament to the local civic and business leadership in the region, builds on its continued success to ensure every community across the region reaches their potential.
“Our modern Industrial Strategy aims to boost productivity across the country by backing businesses to create good jobs and increase earning power. This Local Industrial Strategy is tailored to the specific challenges in the West Midlands, and will set an example for other regions to follow.
“Our funding for the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre is a key part of this, and will see a world-class facility developed in this automotive heartland, further cementing opportunities, growth and inward investment in the West Midlands.”
Other aims include further investment into electric vehicle manufacturing, delivering the UK’s first large-scale 5G testbed in the West Midlands, and playing a key role in the UK’s trials of self-driving cars ahead of the Commonwealth Games in 2022.
Mr Street said: “The West Midlands is already home to the industries of tomorrow. We have some of the world’s most competitive and innovative companies in advanced manufacturing, electric and autonomous vehicle development and medical research.
“This Local Industrial Strategy is about capitalising on those strengths to release the region’s full economic potential for the benefit of all our communities.”