Boris hails Black Country firms

Boris Johnson hailed the Black Country's proud manufacturing heritage at the region's annual showcase in the Houses of Parliament.

Nearly 30 companies from across the region put their goods on display before ministers at the event, which was organised by Dudley North Labour MP Ian Austin and the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership LEP).

And Foreign Secretary Mr Johnson was among those to pop in, taking time to chat with company bosses and examine the wide range of products on display.

Products on show ranged from traditional handmade ironwork by Kirkpatrick in Walsall – the only remaining traditional black ironmongery in the UK – to car wheels from West Bromwich's Rimstock.

Mr Johnson said: "I spent part of my early working career in Wolverhampton and I remember all the traditional industries in the Black Country so its fantastic to see so many businesses in advanced manufacturing such as aerospace, automotive, digital media and film production.

"I am impressed by the new industries, new business and new investment in the Black Country."

West Bromwich East MP Tom Watson, said: "It was great to see Black Country representatives at the heart of Westminster making a loud clarion cry that manufacturing matters and the Black Country has some of the best high skilled manufacturing in the world.

"I am particularly proud to see Sandwell based company Rimstock here today to represent the best of Black Country manufacturing."

Pat McFadden, Labour MP for Wolverhampton South East, praised the event and said: “I met with businesses who make everything from air guard filters to trauma response equipment used in emergencies.

"Of course, many of the big names in manufacturing which used to employ thousands have long gone.

"But it would be a mistake to assume that we don’t make anything anymore. There are lots of small manufacturing businesses making great products in the Black Country – and they are absolutely vital to the local economy.

"Congratulations to all of the innovative businesses making a real difference here in the Black Country.”

Paul Brown, Black Country LEP Board member, said: "I am delighted to see so many Black Country companies profiling their skills and expertise in Westminster today.

"Black Country businesses are demonstrating how valuable the Midlands contribution is to keeping the country moving as well as continuing to push innovation in manufacturing and engineering."

Other businesses represented included Willenhall's Assa Abloy, Sadlers Ales in Lye, Smethwick's A&M EDM, Boss Designs in Dudley, and Wolverhampton-based learning provider LearnPlay Foundation.

The Black Country LEP demonstrated HVM City: The Opportunity Gateway, a new online portal that allows companies to register tender opportunities.

Of the Black Country's 455,400-strong workforce, 103,725 are in manufacturing jobs across 7,565 high value manufacturing businesses.

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