Telford Journal Column

Last week I was delighted to welcome a Chinese trade delegation to Telford, organised by the China Britain Business Council and local business Red Step Marketing.

The purpose of the visit was to promote Telford as the ideal location for Chinese car parts manufacturing companies. Inward investment from overseas business brings huge benefits to our town in the form of jobs and growth; it is key to our future success.

We have seen recent million-pound investments into Telford from companies such Stadco, Polytech and Magna Cosma. So, with the Prime Minister’s recent visit to China and her commitment to the continuation of the Golden Era of economic ties between the UK and China, it was fitting that Chinese business came to Telford to see for themselves what we have to offer.

Telford is a fantastic place to invest. We are a rapidly growing new town with a proud history of innovation. With our growing number of high tech manufacturing businesses, we are playing our part in the fourth industrial revolution and making a significant contribution to the West Midlands economy. With plenty of value for money land and housing, a skilled work force and in close proximity to the heart of West Midlands car manufacturing, our future is bright.

Through a unique growth deal with Homes England, Telford has over 200 acres of employment land on offer backed by Government plans to invest £44m into site preparation and infrastructure. It is clear that this Government is committed to securing Telford’s future.

As we continue to flourish, we must ensure that we have good connectivity to the West Midlands. Our proximity to Birmingham is good, our connectivity is not. The train service is poor: infrequent, slow and overcrowded. As Telford is powering ahead, our rail service is stuck in the past. Poor connectivity will hold us back - putting this right must be our top priority.

Our digital connections have improved but we have more to do to ensure there are sufficient school places, doctor’s appointments, bus stops, local centres and all the other fundamentals, that every new community needs to thrive.

I will continue to work hard with local partners and Government to secure more investment into Telford. With the commitment of the Prime Minister and the Trade Secretary, opportunities to boost our trading links and grow our town are plentiful. This is an exciting time for Telford.