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Leaders 'laser focused' on manufacturing changes over the next two years, West Midlands Mayor says

Leaders in the West Midlands are "laser focussed" on managing the huge period of change in manufacturing over the next two years, the region's mayor has said.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street

Research by cross-party think-tank Demos – titled Net Zero to Level Up – revealed the Black Country is at risk of losing 12,000 manufacturing jobs by 2032.

And the organisation has urged West Midlands Mayor Andy Street to use the new powers in the recently-announced devolution deal to help protect the sector.

Mr Street said: "Demos are absolutely right to highlight both the risk and the opportunity for Black Country businesses in the transition to net zero, and so I want to thank them for their work.

“We are entering a period of huge change over the next two decades, and many businesses in the automotive supply chain and other manufacturing sectors will need proper support as they make a significant technological shift to cleaner operations.

“That’s why the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and our partners are laser focussed on managing this transition – particularly when it comes to electric vehicles.

“Crucial to this will be training our workforce in the correct skills, whilst ensuring growing businesses can secure the funding they need.

“With our adult education budget and the greater responsibility over skills and training handed to us in the recent devolution deal, alongside regional investment funds and our new Business Growth West Midlands service, we are confident we will be able to achieve that.

“But most importantly do not forget that with this change comes incredible opportunity.

“The West Midlands’ clean growth sector already employs 93,000 people across the region – and it’s growing rapidly with opportunities in design, manufacturing, and services.

“If we get this right, the West Midlands will be the pioneer of the Green Industrial Revolution – centuries on from being the birthplace of the original Industrial Revolution.”

The Demos recommendations include distributing government funded business support products through the Black Country Chamber of Commerce and a regional mergers and acquisitions service.

This would facilitate purchase of firms which are too small to respond effectively to the challenge of net zero by larger firms with greater human and financial resources.

The think tank also recommends communicating to businesses the likely future demand for low carbon infrastructure and active coordination of public and private sector investment.

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