Staffordshire set out its position as a leader in driving the national debate for county areas on the developing industrial strategy and post-Brexit economy to a Government select committee chairman yesterday.
The county council’s All Party Member Group on external affairs met Neil Parish MP at yesterday’s Staffordshire County Show.
The group presented Mr Parish with its initial findings on how Staffordshire will look to build on its current economic strengths – including further developing digital and advanced manufacturing technologies – as the UK moves forward post-Brexit.
Mr Parish, who is the chairman of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Select Committee, met with county council leader Philip Atkins and members of the all party member group, including chairman Alastair Little.
It was a pleasure to welcome Neil Parish MP to the Staffordshire County Show yesterday and with record ticket sales at the show he saw a vibrant rural economy in action.
We heard some very promising information from Mr Parish on the work being carried out to ensure agriculture and landowners voices are represented in the Brexit negotiations.
We are certainly in good hands with his knowledge and experience in the national debate. Staffordshire County Council is already preparing for the post-Brexit economy. At the show we publically launched our All Party Member Group report on Brexit which sets out possible Staffordshire solutions to ensure that we can benefit as much as possible from any future arrangements.
Having Mr Parish visit our county and premier agricultural show is clear evidence we have a voice in the debate and are a prime place to come to in helping to build future policy.
I came away extremely positive about the work we can progress and look forward to seeing future projects bring benefit to all residents and businesses in the county.”
The report aims to provide initial support to a range of organisations in Staffordshire in planning for the future as the economic landscape changes and ensure the county plays a key part in developing the UK industrial strategy.
It looks at the county workforce, current skills and need for development, EU funding and possible alternatives, public sector procurement and potential changes, future business rate retention and the potential challenges and opportunities to public services and businesses created by Brexit.
Staffordshire County Council leader Philip Atkins said:
Brexit will present huge opportunities for the UK and Staffordshire economy and we have been determined to ensure our county is well placed and ahead of the game in our preparations.
We held a hugely successful event on Brexit and local government and now our all party member group has drawn up a comprehensive report on its implications and vitally how we will make it work for Staffordshire. We hope businesses and other organisations will be able to use its findings and future research to help them seize future opportunities and benefit as we move forward.
This is a pivotal time for the UK and Staffordshire and we are fully determined to ensure the economic success we have built up in recent years will continue to get stronger. Staffordshire is a leader in digital and technological innovation and these will be hugely influential in our key industries from advanced manufacturing to agriculture.
I am convinced we will seize on new opportunities and meet future challenges and so this groundwork is extremely important. We are also ensuring that ours and other county areas across the Midlands Engine play an integral part in the development of the Government’s industrial strategy for the years ahead in a global economy.”