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i54 South Staffordshire expansion
i54 South Staffordshire planned expansion

County’s growth programme set to deliver better paid jobs as near full employment continues

A decade-long economic growth programme for Staffordshire which could see the creation of nearly 20,000 jobs will also deliver better paid employment, the county’s economy leader has said.

With statistics released today showing that just 1.3 per cent of Staffordshire’s population is claiming out of work benefits, Mark Winnington said the county council’s programme will focus on the creation of better paid jobs and skills development.

The Staffordshire claimant count figure is lower than both regional (2.8 per cent) and national (2.1 per cent) averages. This figure has remained the same for the last two months.

A report detailing the progress of the county council’s economic growth programme will be discussed at a select committee meeting this week. It states that the total value of the 15 projects completed since the growth programme began in in 2014 is £160million. Projects which are currently being carried out are valued at £204million – £15million of which is from direct county council investment.

With current (live) projects, for every £1 invested by the county council, £13.60 worth of private sector and other investment is levered in. So far on the completed sites such as i54 South Staffordshire and Redhill Business Park there are already 6,650 people working or jobs have been committed.

The county council also administers the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hub on behalf of the local enterprise partnership (LEP). It gives support to small and medium sized businesses – including signposting them to funding opportunities and professional advice. Between May 2014 and May 2018 is has assisted over 6,000 businesses.

Staffordshire County Council’s economic growth leader Mark Winnington said:

Our economic growth programme is delivering the creation of skilled jobs and millions of pounds worth of investment. It is a priority of the county council to ensure that there are increased employment opportunities in our key sectors with higher skilled, better paid jobs making us a more prosperous county,

We have near full employment in Staffordshire and we will work hard to ensure this continues. Before the current programme ends a further 17,000 jobs will be created and 4,500 trainees, learners or apprentices supported.

In addition to delivering the infrastructure to pave the way for business development we will build our network of support for small businesses which employ 55 per cent of our workforce. This programme is helping us to ensure that we have a balanced and strong economy in Staffordshire.”

The Prosperous Staffordshire Select Committee will discuss the report at its meeting on Thursday.