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FIFTY500 MIDLANDS GROWTH CORRIDOR plans officially launched

Wednesday 28 February saw the official launch of Fifty500 at the House of Commons.

The event, hosted by Kate Kniveton MP, was attended by around 100 businesses and parliamentarians including the Secretary of State for Transport, Mark Harper, who voiced his support for the project, which looks to further develop the Fifty500 Midlands Growth Corridor.

Major manufacturers – including JCB, Toyota and Rolls-Royce – also attended to champion the county council led initiative.

A bid, which was delivered to Downing Street in February called on the government to allocate funds to further the development of plans for this nationally significant 90km road, from Crewe to Nottingham through Staffordshire and Derbyshire which connects the M6 and M1 motorways.

The corridor is home to many world class manufacturers including Rolls-Royce, JCB, Toyota, Alstom, Michelin and Nestle and is one of Europe’s leading centres of hydrogen research and manufacturing, especially for zero emission vehicle engines.

The corridor is an initiative led by SCC to create highly skilled jobs and better transport links along the A50 and A500, linking global businesses and universities across Cheshire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

The Fifty500 partnership has already secured investment from the Department for Transport’s Network North programme to upgrade the central section of the road between Stoke-on-Trent and the Toyota Roundabout in Derbyshire together with an upgrade to J15 of the M6 so the focus of this new bid is on unlocking the potential of the corridor to create new highly skilled jobs and significantly contribute towards the journey towards net-zero.

Additional funding will allow the creation of plans for a regional supplier park, transfer of freight off the roads onto the railway, innovation centres to further the development of new products, developing net carbon zero business premises and the creation of a Midlands Industrial Energy Plan.

Staffordshire County Council’s Deputy Leader, Philip White, said: “The A50/500 is a nationally significant transport corridor and is already a major hub for advanced manufacturing and the development of zero emissions engine technology.

“The Fifty500 Midlands Growth Corridor is a sustainability-led initiative that has the potential to link over a million individuals and half a million job opportunities.

“I’m very pleased that so many MPs, world leading businesses and academic institutions have come out in support of our vision to transform the corridor into one of the primary locations for sustainable growth and investment in the UK.

“I would also like to thank the Transport Secretary Mark Harper for his support both for this event and for the corridor programme and our parliamentary champion Kate Kniveton who continues to open doors for us across government to make our case for what we is increasingly being recognised is a programme of national importance.”

The Corridor is currently home to one million people and half a million jobs with 41 per cent of its output in manufacturing and distribution. It is also a critical transport route, linking the M6 to the M1.

The bid was submitted based on consultations with local businesses and universities along the route.

If successful, proposals that are expected to create 5,000 more jobs and add £100 million in gross value added (GVA) by 2030 can be progressed.

Kate Kniveton MP said: “I was delighted to support Staffordshire County Council in Parliament today at the launch of the Fifty500 investment campaign.

“As Project Champion for the North Midlands Manufacturing Corridor, securing the commitment from Government for the necessary A50/A500 improvements was a significant win and milestone. However, our ambition for our area isn’t stopping there. I pay tribute to Staffordshire County Council and Deputy Leader, Cllr Philip White, working to help unlock the opportunity for serious economic investment into our region as a result of the road upgrades.

“Today’s launch was a great opportunity to set out our case to the Transport Secretary, Rt Hon Mark Harper MP together with other MPs and government officials as we build a business case as to why this investment is needed and the benefits it will bring to Burton and Uttoxeter.”

Professor Trevor McMillan OBE, Vice-Chancellor of Keele University, said: “The Midlands has proven itself as a fantastic place for businesses, manufacturers and entrepreneurs to thrive and, at Keele, we’re extremely proud of our role in helping businesses to achieve their success, leveraging our research, expertise, and graduate talent to help them remain competitive.

“Fifty500 has all the ingredients for a sustainable strategic growth corridor and it’s great to see MPs getting behind the project.

“Key to this success will be that same strong partnership working including businesses, local authorities and universities, and we are committed to building the research and innovation capabilities needed for Fifty500 to succeed.”

For more information about the Fifty500 Midlands Growth Corridor, visit https://fifty500.com.

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