Westminster Social Policy Forum

The future for the Midlands Engine - the refreshed strategy, and priorities for infrastructure and economic development

Morning, Thursday, 28th November 2019

Central Birmingham


This conference focuses on the future for the Midlands Engine - including economic development and infrastructure priorities for the region - with a refreshed Midlands Engine strategy due to be published later this year.

The agenda

Keynote contribution:

  • The future of the Midlands Engine - with Anthony May, Chief Executive, Nottinghamshire County Council and Chair, Midlands Engine Operating Board.

Further sessions on:

  • Establishing the East Midlands Development Corporation - with Robbie Owen, Partner and Head of Infrastructure Planning and Government Affairs, Pinsent Masons;
  • Attracting investment to the Midlands - with Grant Peggie, Director, Venture Capital Solutions, British Business Bank;
  • Skills development - with Angela Joyce, Midlands Engine Skills Board Chair;
  • Transport challenges and improving connectivity across the region;
  • Digital connectivity - realising the benefits of full fibre and 5G;
  • Housing - ensuring the right type is in the right place to support growth;
  • Business engagement and delivery of Local Industrial Strategies;
  • Manufacturing - supporting the Midlands as a manufacturing hub;
  • International partnerships and attracting overseas investment; and
  • Next steps for policy and the refreshed strategy.

Infrastructure priorities and delivery across the region

With the appointment of a new Ministerial Champion for the Midlands Engine, a refreshed Midlands Engine Strategy and the Government’s Infrastructure Strategy due to be released later this year - as well as an wide ranging Government Spending Review - this conference will provide an opportunity to assess infrastructure priorities for the region.

We expect discussion on:

  • Transport - within the region and also connectivity nationally and internationally;
  • Digital - including access to 5G and full fibre network; and
  • Housing - priorities for meeting demand and the impact of the West Midlands Housing Deal.

Delegates will also examine the future financing of these projects in light of the Infrastructure Finance Review - which looks the future for private investment in major infrastructure - with discussion on attracting investment into the Midlands.

Manufacturing, skills and economic development

Delegates will assess the priorities for economic development across the Midlands - with discussion on engagement and the needs of businesses, local leaders and Local Enterprise Partnerships.

It takes place  in the context of:

  • The West Midlands Local Industrial Strategy, which sets out plans to boost the region as an advanced manufacturing and engineering centre; and
  • Establishment of an East Midlands Development Corporation, aimed at transforming the region’s economy.

Further sessions will provide an opportunity to assess how best to ensure the region is developing the skills needed to support growth.

The agenda also looks at what more needs to be done to support manufacturing across the Midlands with the Government confirming Jaguar Land Rover will receive a £500m loan guarantee from UK Export Finance to develop electric vehicles.

Keynote Speaker

Anthony May

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

Keynote Speaker

Anthony May

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


Jeremy Lefroy MP

Co-Chair, West Midlands All-Party Parliamentary Group


Katie Trout

Director, Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership

Kate Emerson

Director and Strategic Transport Modelling Lead, WSP

Robbie Owen

Partner and Head, Infrastructure Planning and Government Affairs, Pinsent Masons and Parliamentary Agent

Grant Peggie

Director, Venture Capital Solutions, British Business Bank

Angela Joyce

Chief Executive Officer, WCG and Midlands Engine Skills Board Chair

Simon Hall

Director of Export and Investment, Midlands Engine, Department for International Trade