Building Staffordshire business for today, tomorrow and the future

Today’s announcement by Vince Cable that the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent LEP has been given the go-ahead is fantastic news.

We’ve worked incredibly hard with our businesses and other local authority partners to sell our case, and that hard work has paid dividends. We were on the list of 24 successful applications released at lunchtime.

This hasn’t been straightforward and there is still a lot to do. But I’m now convinced we can bring jobs and increased prosperity to Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. Business must lead the process, but we’ll be behind in support as much as possible.

 The next significant milestone comes next Monday when the shadow LEP board holds its first meeting. We will formulate the board-proper and appoint a chairman –it will be someone from the business community, not a politician. We will also begin to prepare bids to the Regional Growth Fund. Without a successful LEP application this £1 billion cashpot would be closed to us.

I’d like to congratulate the county’s Animal Health Team. I’ve just met one of the team returning from an RSPCA awards ceremony in London.

 They picked up an innovation award for the work done helping farmers prepare for flooding to protect their animals. I’ve seen at first hand the consequences that flooding can have on livestock and it is not pleasant.

 This isn’t something the team have a statutory obligation to address, but they recognised there was a problem and dealt with it. Hopefully other authorities will follow.

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