The latest unemployment claimant count figure for Staffordshire released today is just 1.1 per cent of the county population – the same as the last two months. This is below both regional (2.4 per cent) and national (1.9 per cent) figures. On Friday, the Department for International Trade issued figures for the number of direct foreign investment (DFIs), with the Wet Midlands ranking second highest nationally after London. In 2016/17 in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent there were 21 DFI projects, creating 536 jobs and safeguarding 948.
Successful projects included GE’s relocation and expansion at the county council-developed Redhill Business Park in Stafford and automotive parts supplier Gestamp expanding at the Bericote site at Four Ashes in South Staffordshire – both highlighted by the DIT. Staffordshire County Council is about to begin the next phase of works to improve access to Four Ashes the site, while Redhill Business Park is nearly fully occupied, with the second GE facility opening in the autumn.
Six of the investment projects in the LEP area are in the automotive sector, with two in advanced manufacturing, four in the food and drink sector, and four in business and consumer services.
Staffordshire County Council’s economic growth leader Mark Winnington said: “It is hugely encouraging to see how we are going from strength to strength in attracting foreign investment and how the county council and local enterprise partnership have played an important part in achieving this success. The Department for International Trade has highlighted both Gestamp’s decision to relocate and expand in Staffordshire and GE’s expansion at the county council developed Redhill Business Park in Stafford as prime examples. Both companies are well established in Staffordshire and employ hundreds of skilled employees, so retaining them and supporting their expansion has been vitally important. We will continue to work hard for businesses operating in the county whilst making every effort to attract new investors.”
LEP chairman David Frost CBE added: “This is the ideal part of the country to do business, thanks to our central location, transport links and enthusiastic, skilled workforce. “Our can-do attitude and successful partnership working with a range of public and private sector partners mean that we can smooth the way for businesses to invest and bring more and better jobs to our area.”