Why devolution means a great deal for local businesses
Devolution will give quicker, better decision making tailored to local needs which will create growth and more jobs. It will give local businesses the freedom to get on with the job of creating jobs.
The benefits for local businesses
As a business, you need a workforce with the right skills, the ability to move your goods around without congestion and delays, decent places for your workforce to live and the ability to get hold of cash to help you grow.
All of the powers that can influence these key drivers are included in the North Midlands deal.
Specific benefits for local businesses include:
- having a real say on developing 100,000 apprenticeships for young people, supported by a top quality, region wide careers service.
- working with businesses to make sure skills taught in the area match the needs of their workforces.
- access to local universities to get the brightest young minds to develop new products and to tap into new markets.
- creating a Free Trade Zone to attract major manufacturing firms to the region, building on the opportunities offered by East Midlands Airport for global expansion. With our geographical location and plans for future upgrades to transport infrastructure, we want to make sure we are seen as the number one choice for firms looking to invest in the UK. A feasibility study will be undertaken to evaluate potential options and locations for this ambitious project.
- a business investment bank to make sure local firms can get the financial support they need to expand, pooling local and national funding including public sector schemes.
- more joined up road, rail and bus services with better decision making on the priorities. This will mean less congestion and fewer delays.
- faster and more effective development and planning decisions to allow sites to be brought to market quicker and housing built where it is most needed.
- building on our ambitious plans to extend superfast fibre broadband, to make sure every part of our region is online and switched on for ecommerce to reach more customers, more quickly.
What would happen if we don't get a Devolution deal?
We won’t see the benefits, outlined above, materialise. That would see us lagging behind other areas in the UK. The North Midlands would be perceived as lacking both ambition and the ability to compete and deliver the conditions for business to flourish.
What does it mean for you?
Read the stories about how Devolution could help to transform local businesses for the better.
The examples are illustrative, using demographic and statistical information and are not based on real organisations.
Stratosphere Technologies is a specialist engineering business based in Derbyshire which works with major clients in the aerospace supply chain.
Established 14 years ago, it has grown from a simple fabrications company to become a precision engineering business which also works in high-tech composite materials.
As such, high-qualified staff capable of working to demanding industry benchmarks are crucial to its future. While it has been comparatively successful at attracting the right people to support its growth, one of the challenges it has faced is the accessibility of its site, many staff commuting in from Staffordshire, where it used to be based.
The North Midlands Devolution Deal has helped on two fronts. The Combined Authority identified a key route network which workers have been using to travel into the region from the West Midlands, and a decision to improve a series of key junctions has made it easier for a number of Stratosphere's staff to get to and from work. It has also made it easier for a supplier based in the West Midlands to transport in components needed for work carried out on behalf of a major, long-term customer.
Stratosphere's directors are also excited by the discussions the Combined Authority has been having about a potential Free Trade Zone close to East Midlands Airport: expansion means it is looking to develop a new facility to support a major new opportunity in the automotive industry, and the ability to fly in unfinished components which it could then complete and re-export would make a big difference to Stratosphere, enabling it to nearly double staff numbers.
ACX Cabling Ltd
ACX Cabling Ltd is a long established SME with 60 employees, based in Nottinghamshire. It provides its bespoke and specialised steel cabling and related products to a range of rigging, events, construction and oil industry firms around the world.
In recent years its senior managers have become increasingly concerned about two main issues – attracting the right kind of apprentices and updating the skills of its older workers, as the industry’s technology moves on; and rising material and transport costs, enabling international rivals to undercut some of its contract prices.
But Devolution has helped the company address these problems.
With the new Combined Authority (CA) given greater control over apprenticeship programmes in the North Midlands deal area, and particularly the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers, the CA has been able to work more closely with both training providers (colleges) and employers in its area. Apprenticeship funding has been more targeted, focusing on training young people in the skills needed to fill gaps in companies’ workforces. Similarly, central Government’s duty to provide adult education facilities and courses now lies with the CA, giving it flexibility to provide the right training to also update older workers’ skills.
ACX Cabling as a whole is also benefiting from the new Free Trade Zone (FTZ), linked to East Midlands Airport. The reduction in customs duties for ACX Cabling – due to it now being able to fly in parts from foreign suppliers, re-configure them and re-export under FTZ regulations – has enabled it to reduce its prices to better compete with international rivals.
SLA Design was set up five years ago by Sarah, based in rural North Nottinghamshire, following a career inhouse for a major retailer.
The business has become a real success, handling graphic design and branding work for local and national customers.
Sarah loves the rural lifestyle and the low costs of office space in Nottinghamshire, but she has struggled to recruit the staff she needs to help her business grow, with few students trained in the right skills and most heading for Sheffield because they're unaware of opportunities closer to home. Slow broadband connectivity has also been an issue.
Thanks to the North Midlands Devolution Deal, things are looking up.
SLA Design was involved in consultation about the future of Further Education in the North Midlands area, forging strong links with her local college and advising on a new course that has raised the profile of her own business and design as a career.
One newly-qualified student has joined already, attracted by the calibre of the work and the fact that he doesn't have to travel to Sheffield. Sarah is also taking on an apprentice so that he can learn on the job.
Her business has also benefited from Nottinghamshire County Council's commitment to roll-out superfast broadband to rural areas, the high-speed connectivity enabling her to deliver work faster to demanding clients.
The coordinated business support made available by the North Midland Devolution Deal has also opened up an opportunity Sarah never thought would happen. She didn't initially know how to respond when she received an inquiry from an overseas retailer who wants to sell goods here, but a meeting with an advisor from UK Trade & Investment at a business seminar in Worksop has persuaded her that international trade could be her next step.
Support the North Midlands Devolution Deal
Securing a North Midlands Devolution Deal is a complex process which has involved 19 local authorities; working with the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership and other business bodies and business leaders.
We need everyone to get involved in backing the region and the deal.
Speak to your MP and make sure that they are backing the region
Your voice is critical in creating the momentum that will help us to secure a Devolution Deal for the North Midlands.