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Government minister discovers business innovation in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire

Pictured: Mark Prisk MP (left) and LEP chairman Maitland Hyslop with the new 12-month business plan
A Government minister has seen examples of the best in business innovation in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire during a two-day visit. The Minister for Business and Enterprise Mark Prisk was invited by the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to celebrate the area’s successes and how it is forging ahead of the pack with regional economic regeneration.

On the 22nd May he attended a LEP board meeting at Staffordshire Place in Stafford where members from the public and private sector agreed a 12-month business plan and told the Minister of growth plans for the LEP area. This followed a visit to Middleport Pottery, Burslem in Stoke-on-Trent, which received £1.7m Regional Growth Fund (RGF) allocation from the Government through the Prince’s Regeneration Trust. The pottery site houses the last working Victorian pottery in the UK and it was at risk of closure. The Prince’s Regeneration Trust has bought the entire Grade II* listed site which means the pottery business can remain at Middleport. The rest of the site will developed into workshops, craft area, heritage visitor centre which will bolster local business and drive tourism.

Mr Prisk then attended an event at Stafford’s Alstom to mark the company’s 50 anniversary of producing power transmission technology in Staffordshire. Alstom was also a first-round RGF recipient for its planned world-leading research and development centre for the power transmission solutions industry.
This morning, Mr Prisk completed his visit at Michelin in Stoke-on-Trent where he gained an insight into the company’s manufacturing modernisation project which has benefited from Government investment.

Mark Prisk said: “The Stoke-on-Trent and Stafford Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is really driving local economic growth, and it is encouraging that a new 12-month business plan has now been agreed. “There are business success stories right across the region and it is fantastic to see ambitious firms growing, creating jobs, and demonstrating that this is a great place to do business.”
LEP Chairman Maitland Hyslop said: “We were pleased to be able to host a second visit for Mr Prisk and would like to thank him for coming to Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire again.
“He was able to see the variation in our economic success stories and the innovation and drive we have collectively to ensure our area continues to grow. The LEP offers a red carpet approach to potential investors in addition to our ongoing support for established business and those starting out.

“From the regeneration of a site of industrial heritage to manufacturing success and advances in the technology sector, through this visit we have been able to demonstrate projects which will make a real difference to our economy. “They will create jobs, attract further investment and enhance our reputation as a centre for business.”
Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of The Prince’s Regeneration Trust said: “We are delighted to have the Government’s support for our project and to have been able to show the Minister our plans for sustainable growth which will create jobs, business growth and a strong future for Middleport, the Potteries and Stoke-on-Trent. We were particularly pleased that the Minister was able to talk to staff and see the training now in place for the next generation of potters. We would like to say how grateful we are to all our public sector and private funders for their tremendous support and investment in Middleport.”

Alstom UK Country President Stephen Burgin said: “We are delighted to welcome Mr Prisk to celebrate our long history of manufacture and export in Stafford. Thanks to R&D investment we are already winning orders for new technologies and creating local jobs.”
Eric Le Corre, Michelin UK’s Managing Director said: “I am delighted to announce that the first phase of our new Remix modernisation project has been completed and the Minister was present to see the first tyres come off the new production line.

“The Minister was able to see at first hand how we have used the investment to upgrade the factory to re-manufacture the latest generation of Michelin Durable Technology truck and bus tyres.
“The project has seen an exciting and challenging technological advance at the site. The investment will help further enhance north Staffordshire’s manufacturing skills base and help take our factory into the future.”