Welcoming the small business minister to Staffordshire

I was delighted with the opportunity to meet local business leaders and to welcome Small Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst MP at this year’s annual meeting of the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Local Enterprise Partnership.

As I explained to the audience, we should all be extremely proud of how far we’ve come as a county and a partnership, and that we should continue to look forward to the future.

Working together, we will build on our traditions of hard work, innovation, and high-quality products… and we continue to have big ambitions for Staffordshire.

We have recently launched a campaign which sums this up, “Staffordshire Means Jobs and Growth” …. And a major strand of this campaign is that “Staffordshire Means Ambition”… an ambition to raise the living standards of the people of Staffordshire.

To achieve these higher living standards, we need to see even greater investment in the economy and this is encapsulated by our mantra of more and better jobs – something that is becoming a reality for Staffordshire’s residents.

We firmly believe that Staffordshire can be one of the strongest performing economies in the UK, driven by high-tech industries, innovative local firms, and small businesses all supported by the UK’s best connectivity.

I’ve also spoken about our ten-year Economic Growth programme before, which will help us achieve this. With the LEP and our partners, we’ve created thousands of new and better-paid jobs and are well ahead of our target to create 27,000 jobs by 2024.

We’re also at the forefront of delivering £360m of investment across the county – creating the infrastructure to unlock economic growth and bring forward much needed development sites. But we are investing in more than just roads and Superfast Broadband.

Next generation digital communications is high on the agenda, and we will build on our superb rail, road and air connections, which all complement our extensive broadband coverage.

Our mantra of new and better jobs really is becoming a realisation, and by working together we can make it happen.

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