Westminster Social Policy Forum

Next steps for the Midlands Engine - priorities for growth, infrastructure and the refreshed strategy

Morning, Thursday, 18th June 2020

Central Birmingham


This conference focuses on next steps for the Midlands Engine.

It is timed to assess priorities for:

  • The forthcoming Refreshed Midlands Engine Strategy - due to focus on regional collaboration and growing the economy;
  • Infrastructure in the Midlands - following the National Infrastructure Strategy and Infrastructure Finance Review - expected to be published alongside next month’s Budget; and
  • Regional connectivity and HS2 - following the publication of the Oakervee Review of HS2.


There will be a keynote contribution from Anthony May, Chief Executive, Nottinghamshire County Council and Chair, Midlands Engine Operating Board.

Further speakers include: Christine Ashton, emh group; Professor Alec Cameron, Aston University and Midlands Innovation Board; Ann Carruthers, Leicestershire County Council; Robert Franks, WM5G; Angela Joyce, WCG and Midlands Engine Skills Board Chair and a senior speaker confirmed from British Business Bank.

Alex Norris MP, Member of Parliament for Nottingham North, has kindly agreed to chair part of this seminar.

The agenda

  • The future of the Midlands Engine and the refreshed strategy;
  • Creating optimum conditions for economic growth in the Midlands:
    • Implementing local industrial strategies - raising productivity, utilising data and engaging effectively with business;
    • Attracting strategic partnerships, global trade and foreign direct investment;
    • Strategies for creating a dynamic regional economy - achieving excellence in research and innovation;
    • The Midlands Engine Skills Strategy - tackling low skills, growing sector strengths and investing in workforce; and
    • Supporting manufacturing and high performing industries in the Engine.
  • Financing and developing infrastructure to support economic growth:
    • Meeting local housing needs and supporting growth - increasing supply, improving affordability and making best use of land;
    • Priorities for regional connectivity and HS2 post Oakervee review;
    • The future for digital infrastructure in the Midlands - accessibility, full-fibre networks and 5G test beds;
    • Assessing strategies for decarbonisation, improving biodiversity net-gain and enhancing natural capital; and
    • The future for project finance following the Infrastructure Finance Review.
  • Delivering the Refreshed Midlands Engine Strategy.

Engagement with policy officials at this conference

Westminster Social Policy Forum conferences typically attract strong interest from policymakers. This seminar will be an opportunity for stakeholders to engage with officials who have reserved places representing: MHCLG; the Cabinet Office; DfT; the Planning Inspectorate; Defra; and DCMS.

Keynote Speaker

Anthony May

Chief Executive, Nottinghamshire County Council and Chair, Midlands Engine Operating Board


Alex Norris MP

Member of Parliament for Nottingham North


Ann Carruthers

Director, Environment and Transport, Leicestershire County Council

Senior speaker confirmed from the British Business Bank

Professor Alec Cameron

Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, Aston University and Board Member, Midlands Innovation Board

Angela Joyce

Chief Executive Officer, WCG and Midlands Engine Skills Board Chair

Christine Ashton

Executive Director - Housing, emh group

Robert Franks

Managing Director, WM5G