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Express & Star comment: We should be proud of bostin' Black Country

By Star Comment | Opinions | Published:

We have been saying it for a long time in this newspaper: the Black Country is bouncing back.

Bostin' - Black Country life

The region – which for decades was largely ignored by the lawmakers in Westminster – has become a crucial part of the rebirth of the wider West Midlands.

Despite the many failings of the current Conservative administration, the Prime Minister appears to be aware that for Britain to be a success, its engine room needs to be purring.

And for the Black Country to succeed, it needs a vibrant Wolverhampton to play a key role in its renaissance.

In recent times there has been plenty of positive news coming out of the city.

The economy is growing, with the Jaguar Land Rover plant on the i54 a focal point for the region's manufacturing base.

This is also a city of innovation, with impressive growth in exports adding to the feel good factor.

House of Fraser's decision to save Beatties has given the city's retail offer a much-needed and timely boost, while ambitious plans to revitalise the city centre are in the pipeline.

The recent Grand Slam of Darts event at Aldersley Leisure Village was a huge success, and showed that Wolverhampton knows how to put on a great show.

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The city is nowhere near the finished article, and there is still a lot of work to be done.

Parts of Wolverhampton have some of the highest levels of unemployment in the country, and youth unemployment is of particular concern across the city.

Work still needs to be done to make the city centre an attractive place for out-of-town people to come and visit.

This includes sorting out long running transport issues – not least creating more appropriate and affordable parking spaces – and sorting out the disastrous Civic halls refurbishment.

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The delayed Westside development is also cause for concern.

Many business leaders have argued that this particular scheme is crucial for Wolverhampton to reach its potential.

Without doubt, if done properly, it will be a major fillip for the city.

People can see that Wolverhampton is going places, but we must not rest on our laurels.

With the right investment, the city can truly thrive into the future.

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