Growing optimism amongst Staffordshire businesses

We’ve had some more good news this month with the latest unemployment claimant count for the county now at 1%, proving that there is great optimism amongst Staffordshire’s businesses about future growth, profitability and taking on new staff. Once again, our figures are well below the national average at, 1.7%, and regional average, at 2.3%, which is very encouraging news.

In the first quarter Staffordshire Economic Survey which was published recently, 28 per cent of businesses questioned had seen an increase in the number of employees in the previous three months, while 28 per cent thought there would be an increase in the number of staff over the next three months. Twenty-seven per cent said investment in training had increased over that period. Over the next 12 months, 65 per cent of businesses surveyed expected turnover to improve in that time, with 64 per cent expecting profitability to improve.

Last week’s announcement that Spanish automotive parts supplier Gestamp had chosen to build a £70million new facility in Staffordshire was a further vote of confidence in the local economy and its workforce. Gestamp employs 800 people at its current base in Cannock. The move to nearby Four Ashes in South Staffordshire will safeguard jobs and enable the company to expand further.  Meanwhile we are seeing other development sites progressing well which will lead to further job creation in the county. More recently, the new General Electric development at Redhill in Stafford and the company’s commitment to fund its second facility on site is also a prime example that Staffordshire is a great location for business.

Next week, I’ll be meeting with cabinet colleagues to move the Stafford Western Access Route project another step forward. We want to see the scheme delivered as soon as possible to help secure the future prosperity of the county town. We will be agreeing the additional funding required and the compulsory purchase powers, meaning land for the development can be bought without delay.

This new road is an essential part of Stafford’s ambitious growth plans and will enable thousands of new homes to be built, provide for new employment land to create thousands of jobs and relieve traffic congestion in the town centre. The route will also unlock millions of pounds worth of future investment as well as improving access to increased rail services through Stafford and its connection to HS2 further down the line.

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