This week saw an important step forwards for the future of car-making in Solihull. Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, has joined forces with Greg Clark, the Secretary of State for Business, to launch the Jaguar Land Rover Development Partnership.
I am very glad to have the opportunity to serve on this new body, alongside other politicians from across the region. It will give not only JLR management but other key stakeholders, including representatives of the trades unions and smaller firms in the supply chain, a regular forum where they can raise their concerns directly with decision-makers in the Mayor’s Office and Westminster.
This is vital because there are several practical, common-sense steps that ministers can take to help car manufacturers such as JLR, not least adopting a sensible set of regulations which recognise that modern ‘clean diesel’ cars, such as those manufactured in Lode Lane, are no more polluting than petrol and have a crucial role to play in delivering our environmental agenda.
Without stable revenue streams, manufacturers won’t be able to make the crucial investments needed to protect jobs and bring in the new technologies needed to guarantee a long-term future for this crucial British export industry.
Beyond the Development Partnership, I am determined to continue to do everything I can to press this case at Westminster. Last week I had a face-to-face meeting with the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, and yesterday I organised and addressed a special Westminster debate on this vital issue.
In other news, I was proud to learn this week about the excellent performance of many local primary schools.
According to new figures released by the Department for Education, more than half of the primary schools in our constituency have achieved a year-on-year increase in the proportion of pupils achieving the expected standard in reading, writing and mathematics.
This is more than just a good-news story about targets achieved. These skills are crucial to performing well in secondary school, and this increase opens more doors for hundreds of pupils.
Across the country the average score is also up, even as the Government introduces new, higher standards. Clearly pupils and teachers are rising to the challenge.
Originally published in the Solihull Mail, 17/01/19.