Weekly News Bulletin – 23th February 2018

This week we shared news that up to £100m in equity finance will be made available for small businesses in the Midlands. With the aim to promote job creation and broaden opportunities in the area, this initiative forms part of the Government’s Midlands Engine strategy. Do you think this initiative will help promote business growth in the area?

On a similar topic, the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce released a thought piece surrounding how key skills improvement in the Midlands can boost the investment potential for the area. Whilst London requires large investment to accommodate continuing growth, the West Midlands Future Growth Hubs are high performing yet place less pressure on housing and infrastructure, making the area more attractive. Do you think the Midlands’ focus on training and upskilling will result in investment?

With constant discussions surrounding apprenticeships, the BBC released an article with eight things you need to know about apprenticeships. With facts such as the health sector being the most popular amongst apprentices, it is well worth a read.

We also shared an article from tes claiming that the apprenticeship levy is having a ‘disastrous’ impact on employers due to its complexity in accessing funds and being seen as another tax on business. What are your views on the levy and its impact?

We saw a thought piece from Information Age questioning if the UK manufacturing sector is prepared for Industry 4.0. Research commissioned by Protolabs revealed that only one in ten see an association between manufacturing and Industry 4.0. 15% of participants had no automation in their manufacturing services currently and 9.7% expect no automation in their business over the next five years. What are you opinions on Industry 4.0 and its role in the manufacturing industry?

The Construction News Index reported on a growth of 6.3% increase in the fourth quarter in 2017 for the private housebuilding sector and domestic repair, maintenance and improvement market in Great Britain. We hope to see such a positive growth throughout 2018.

Finally, Chronicle Live reported that The National Federation of Builders has called for North East Authorities to help growth after reports that construction output has risen across every region apart from the North East. With main reasons being attributed to oversubscribed supplier frameworks and growth barriers, there are calls for fairer work pipelines for the area. Do you think a pipeline reform is well overdue for the North?

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£100m funding boost for Midlands’ businesses

The Government has signed off on the latest wave of a £250 million investment fund to boost small businesses across the Midlands.

Skills key to boosting region’s investment potential – claim

The West Midlands can accelerate its investment potential if key issues around skills and a lack of net inward migration are addressed, according to a new report.

Apprenticeships: Eight things you need to know

Despite government plans to create three million apprenticeships by 2020, the number of apprentices starting new programmes in England has dropped.

Employers ‘near breaking point’ thanks to apprenticeship levy, says industry leader

The apprenticeship levy is complex, companies are unable to access their funds, and many view it as another tax on business, an industry leader will say

Builders’ merchant sales up nearly 5% in 2017

Builders’ merchants report sales growth of 6.3% in the fourth quarter of 2017, compared to a year before, and a 4.8% rise for the whole year.

Is the UK manufacturing sector prepared for Industry 4.0?

Research reveals a perception versus reality gap for the UK manufacturing sector’s digital capabilities amidst Industry 4.0

We must stimulate growth in the North East, construction groups demand
Construction output has increased across every region of the UK, except for the North East, a new report has revealed