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Midlands Connect


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There seems to be a lot of chatter about this: h , mentioned during the Budget, because it mentions a Hereford bypass.

 

The document is odd - and very repetitive. For example, the only mentions of tourism as an industry are in relation to Stoke on Trent (people visiting ceramics manufacturers) and the Lincolnshire coast. No mention of Stratford upon Avon, Warwick Castle, Alton Towers -to name just the three biggest tourist destinations outside London - let alone little Herefordshire.

 

It is clear, though, that the authors see the purpose of a bypass as a relief road for the M6/M5. 

 

Is this a case of be careful what you wish for?

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This is part of a bigger picture - The Midlands Engine for Growth. Midlands Connect can be found in this prospectus which sets out a plan by 11 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) to encourage economic growth and investment in the Midlands. It focuses on 5 themes:

   * skills
   * innovation
   * transport
   * promoting the plan
   * finance for business

The prospectus is a response to government ambitions that the Midlands economy could grow by £34 billion by 2030, if it matches the predicted growth rate for the UK.

Interestingly Hereford and Herefordshire are not mentioned in the 24pp document and The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) only once.

I note there is a strong regional approach in the document, so eventually I predict the local authorities will disappear and be replaced by this new conglomerate. It fits the original EU plan to create regions and as a lot of what is proposed will rely on EU funding, if we come out of the EU, I can see the wheels falling off this engine.

But then maybe we are not meant to come out of the EU, as I get the feeling no matter what these politicians tell us, it is just a front to carry on as normal, and keep shoveling loads of cash into the EU coffers.

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Today in The Guardian

 

UK projects 'at risk' if PM demands £9bn refund from EU after Brexit

‘Midlands engine’ among schemes in peril if May seeks return of assets in European Investment Bank as reported, says source

Theresa May’s reported plans to demand the return of £9bn of UK assets held by the European Investment Bank would put in jeopardy funding for key British infrastructure projects, including the government’s flagship Midlands Engine.

Over the weekend, it was claimed that the prime minister intends to reduce the size of Britain’s divorce bill from the EU by threatening to pull out the UK’s share of assets in the bank.

A Whitehall source told the Sunday Times that the EU would be worried because the European Investment Bank’s (EIB) investments in infrastructure across the EU are “predicated on our contributionâ€.

However, a senior source close to the bank based in Brussels has told the Guardian that the threat would only put in peril projects in the UK with applications for loans currently under appraisal by the member states, who comprise the EIB’s stakeholders.

Such projects include a £122m loan to the “Midlands engineâ€, which the prime minister claimed in January would be “an engine for growth†to rival George Osborne’s “northern powerhouse
".

 

According to the EIB’s 2015 financial statements, the bank’s reserves consist of paid-up capital from member states of €21.7bn, plus a further €41.6bn of accumulated profits. The UK’s share of this is 16.1%, or €10.20bn (£9bn). However, there is some doubt in the EIB that Britain would be eligible for that full share if it left, given that the bank is not winding down, the source added.

 

£122m is a drop in the ocean if we get back £9bn.
 

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