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Midlands Engine

Volume 622: debated on Wednesday 8 March 2017

Q4. What recent assessment she has made of the (a) performance of the economy and (b) adequacy of provision of public services in the Midlands Engine region; and if she will make a statement. (909124)

Although I will not speculate on the statement that my right hon. Friend the Chancellor will make very shortly, I can assure my hon. Friend that the fundamentals of our economy are strong. Since 2010, employment in the west midlands has risen by 215,000 and private sector employment alone grew by 80,000 in the past year. We have also seen schools and police budgets being protected, and more doctors and nurses in his local hospitals.

And of course we have also witnessed the post-Brexit vote of confidence from Nissan, Boeing and Dyson investing in other parts of the country, but will my right hon. Friend say a little bit more about firms like Jaguar Land Rover in the west midlands?

I am happy to say to my hon. Friend that in the wider sense, of course, our plans for the midlands engine show that we want an economy that works for everyone. We have already confirmed over £330 million in the growth deal funding and money is going into the midlands engine investment fund and the Birmingham rail hub, but it is also important to recognise the investment that is being made in the UK by companies like Jaguar Land Rover, which will be building its new Range Rover model in Solihull. That is very good news for the west midlands and also for the British economy. It is a sign of the confidence that Jaguar Land Rover has in the UK for the future.