Archive for September, 2011

IDS gives thumbs up to i54!

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

IDS with i54 JaguarSecretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan-Smith was delighted with the news that JLR will be building its new engine plant at the i54 site in South Staffordshire. He was in the county to get a look at the new social enterprise venture at Burton Addiction Centre which impressed him greatly but he couldn’t resist a look at one of our branded cars on loan from JLR. You can get a closer look at these high performance vehicles at road shows across the county in the near future. Dates will be announced shortly.


Grand opening for Landau Forte

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

I was delighted to met the Duchess of Gloucester as she officially opened the new £17m Landau Forte 11 – 16 Academy on 21 September.

Liz Staples, cabinet member for education and skills, SCC Chief Executive Nick Bell and Mayor of Tamworth Jeremy Oates joined me for the grand opening ceremony.

The new academy in Amington has capacity for 960 students aged 11-16 from the Tamworth area, and boasts a 4 court sports hall, meeting rooms, a theatre and new ICT facilities amongst its impressive features.

It replaces the former Woodhouse Business and Enterprise College and is split over two sites with 11-16 provision located on the Woodhouse site and a new Post 16 Centre for the whole town built next to Queen Elizabeth’s Mercian School. The new Post-16 Centre on Ashby Road will be opened separately, and has also cost £17 million.

I’m pleased to say that the £35 million project has been completed on time and within budget, setting out the county council’s ambition to reorganise educational provision in Tamworth.

It’s an impressive site with state of the art facilities which will provide the best possible learning opportunities for youngsters in the area as well as benefiting the wider community in terms of employment opportunities, investment and community facilities.

Lights, camera, action!

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

There was something of a media frenzy following yesterday’s announcement by JLR. Cabinet member for economic growth Ben Adams and I spoke to both regional and national press about the many benefits that this investment will bring. It’s a terrific boost for Staffordshire’s prosperity and bolsters our message that our county is a great place for businesses to invest in. We’re getting the word out there about all that’s good about Staffordshire and the whole country is taking notice.

Jaguar Land Rover is coming to Staffordshire!

Monday, September 19th, 2011

Jaguar Land RoverI’m delighted to report that Staffordshire has received a major economic boost today with the news that Jaguar Land Rover is building a new manufacturing plant in the south of the county.

The prestige car manufacturer – a global player in the automotive industry – is moving onto the county council’s South Staffordshire i54 business park and is bringing many of their suppliers along too, creating thousands of new jobs.  

This is obviously fantastic news for Staffordshire’s prosperity and the announcement is the culmination of months of behind the scenes hard work by the county council’s politicians and officers to persuade JLR to choose Staffordshire.  We have been right at the heart of the drive to convince this esteemed company to join the Staffordshire business community.

We have given JLR the red carpet treatment.  Together with Wolverhampton City Council, we are creating a new junction onto the M54 making sure JLR are plugged straight into the national transport network. What’s more the i54 South Staffordshire site has just been declared an Enterprise Zone by the Government and this will provide real tax advantages for the company.

I am delighted that all our hard work in convincing JLR to come here has paid off.  This will mean thousands of high value, high tech jobs for people across the county and further opportunities with businesses supplying ‘this state of the art’ engine plant.

It’s a massive coup for Staffordshire as the company could have chosen anywhere in the world.  We beat off competition from hundreds of really top flight investment locations across the globe. 

This further vote of confidence in Staffordshire follows announcements from other big names announcing they are growing their business in our county. Just a few weeks ago Amazon set up their distribution business in Rugeley.

JLR’s announcement is another great success for everyone involved, the county council overall and most importantly for Staffordshire people. But we’re not resting on our laurels. We will be doing everything we can now to encourage other hi-tech companies to follow JLR in profiting from our prime location, skilled workforce and business friendly partnerships. 

In the meantime, you can find out more about JLR’s announcement, and see a short video at

Look out too for advertising on motorway routes over the coming weeks and a series of roadshows celebrating this news in towns across the county.

Down on the farm

Monday, September 5th, 2011

Here’s a photo of me on my farm last month, making the most of what there was of the good weather in August by gathering in the wheat harvest.

Staking Staffordshire’s claim for European funding

Monday, September 5th, 2011

Philip Atkins and Philip BradbournI met Philip Bradbourn MEP at the end of July to talk about European Funding for broadband research and development and the future of European funding for theWest Midlands.

It’s important that our county receives a fair share of any funding that is allocated to theWest Midlandsand I have arranged for Philip to meet a Countywide Agricultural Group and the LEP Board over the next couple of months, in order that he gets a fuller understanding of out county’s economy.

Tourism Minister makes welcome visit to Staffordshire

Monday, September 5th, 2011

Tourism Minister at ShugboroughThe Minister for Tourism and Heritage, John Penrose MP, visited Staffordshire on Tuesday 23 August, as part of a fact-finding to find out more about the vital role that the tourism industry plays in supporting Staffordshire’s economy.

I had the pleasure of escorting the Minister around the stately home of Shugborough as part of his visit and I am delighted that he had the opportunity to sample the delights of the complete working historic estate, one of the many attractions that Staffordshire has to offer. 

Staffordshire has so much going for it. There is so much for people to see and do in Staffordshire. Besides being a great place to visit, it’s also a great place to live and work and for companies to invest in.

We’ll continue to promote Staffordshire as a leading tourist and business destination. After his visit to our county, I’m sure the Minister will also hold that opinion.