This year’s National Apprenticeship Week once again celebrated apprentices and apprenticeships, and the positive impact they have on individuals, business, local communities and the wider economy. I have always been a big supporter of apprentices and apprenticeships and so I was particularly pleased to be able to welcome some local apprentices and businesses to Parliament recently, together with Aldridge based In-Comm Training.

Apprenticeships are initially important to those undertaking them because they provide the skills and training, to progress and succeed. They are also really important to local businesses and employers to enable them to develop and shape the workforce for today and the future. Many of today’s apprentices will be tomorrow’s inventors, engineers and carers. That’s why I support them.
Recent economic figures have shown that unemployment stands at a new 40-year low. The hard work of this Government to eradicate the deficit continues, but with improved economic growth and the highest number of first time buyers for more than a decade we are building a Britain which is fit for the future where the economy works for all hard-working families.

Having come from a small business background myself I know all too well small businesses and manufacturers are driving economic growth, job creation and wage security in our local area. I was therefore pleased to be joined by representatives from our local business community at recent my Constituency Business Breakfast. This gave me the opportunity to hear first-hand about the challenges and opportunities for businesses in our area and what further steps the Government can take to encourage continued growth.

Throughout our discussions it was clear that local businesses welcome the Prime Minister’s recent Mansion House speech in which she set out an ambitious and serious vision for our future economic partnership with the European Union after Brexit.

The Government’s objective is clear – it is to deliver the real change that the country voted for in June 2016 whilst protecting jobs, our economy and our security. The Prime Minister has set out in a very pragmatic way that we are getting on with delivering what the British people voted for and we are taking back control of our Laws, our Borders and our Money.

In spite of the recent heavy snowfall, it has once again been a busy few weeks locally too. I was delighted to join members of the Shelfield Male Voice Choir at their 50th Anniversary Celebrations. The Male Voice Choir has provided endless entertainment over the years and their charitable donations have helped many charities throughout the local area. They are to be congratulated on this magnificent achievement. I was also pleased to call in and meet with Jan Davies and users of the Brownhills CA, another much valued local organisation celebrating a special anniversary this year. The Community Association has been designated as an Asset of Community Value, recognising the importance of the Centre to Brownhills. I am looking forward to future visits during this their 125th Anniversary year.

This was first published in the Sutton Coldfield Observer and the Walsall Advertiser on March 15th, 2018.