• UK GDP and Regional Growth Across the West Midlands

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has today reported UK GDP grew by 0.8 per cent in the second quarter of 2014, which indicates the UK economy is now 0.2 per cent above its pre-crisis peak in Q1 2008.  Commentators indicate Britain is growing much faster than its rivals in 2014.

Chris Griesbach, Probrand, #BuildingBritain

Chris Griesbach, Commercial Director - Probrand, Icomm Technologies and Mercato Solutions. BuildingBritain one technology innovation at a time.

Chancellor George Osborne said: “Thanks to the hard work of the British people, today we reach a major milestone in our long term economic plan.

“But there is still a long way to go – the Great Recession was one of the deepest of any major economy and cost Britain six years.

“Now we owe it to hardworking taxpayers not to repeat the mistakes of the past and instead to continue with the plan that is delivering economic security and a brighter future for all.”

Commenting on recent successes ahead of the GDP announcement, Peter Robbins, Managing Director - Probrand, Icomm Technologies and Mercato Solutions: “Across the group of companies, sales have grown by over 35% in three years and as a SME we now employ 250 people, providing technology to the private and public sector. Growth has been driven by a commitment to digital innovation, recognised by a Queen’s Award. 

“We have capitalised on strong domestic and export opportunities available to UK tech companies and our software business is delivering pre-sales and marketplace catalogue applications across 150 countries in 27 languages.  Work that has placed us on the Government’s ‘Made By Britain’ list of World-beating UK manufacturers. 

“Sustained growth demands expansion and European Regional Development Funding has helped create new facilities for up to 59 people.  We have also invested in great people and tackled a well-known IT skills shortage using our own software platform to upskill local apprentices to build business applications within 60 days of training. 

“We feel well positioned to hit ambitious targets of £100M in 2017 and be part of supporting the UK’s growth and job creation.”        

Notes to editors:

Midlands region at a glance

Employment

  • Since May 2010, 210,000 apprenticeships have been started in the West Midlands
  • Figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show 2,519,275 people aged 16+ are in employment in the West Midlands, an increase of 94,663 since 2010
  • The number of people unemployed in the West Midlands has fallen by 39,000 since May 2010
  • More than 8,000 people have gained employment through the Regional Growth Fund in the West Midlands, the second highest regional tally nationally
  • The claimant count is down 52,700 since 2010, and down 42,400 since last year
  • Private sector employment is up 6,000 since last year

Education/Training

  • 428 academies have been opened in the West Midlands since May 2010
  • Higher education application rates are on a par with other regions at 33.1%
  • 202,000 infants will receive a free nutritious school meal from September 2014

Business

  • 253,221 vehicles were manufactured in the West Midlands in the year to January 2014, with 206,854 of those vehicles being exported
  • Tax has been cut for more than 2.21m people in the region; the typical taxpayer is now £705 better off and 259,000 people have been taken out of paying income tax altogether.        
  • There are now 25,905 more small businesses in the West Midlands than in 2010.