Midlands Engine APPG brings about change in key legislation that impacts our region
Over recent months, the Midlands Engine All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) has been active in shaping several key bills in Parliament, with APPG members extracting maximum value for both our region and country on the Subsidy Control Act, Advanced Research and Invention Agency (ARIA) Act and Skills and Post-16 Education Act.
Amending the Subsidy Control Bill to allow relocation subsidies for disadvantaged areas
Parliamentarians represented the Midlands Engine partnership through speaking on the Subsidy Control Bill, which seeks to provide the framework for a new, UK-wide subsidy control regime. The key aim is greater flexibility in enabling public authorities, including local authorities, to deliver targeted economic support. APPG members proposed amendments to allow subsidies to enable relocation of economic activity from advantaged areas to disadvantaged areas, previously prohibited in the bill, and the government responded with a comprehensive amendment to enable this change. This change will be an important part of the government’s toolkit for levelling up and has been enabled by Midlands Engine APPG members.
Ensuring key climate targets will be considered by ARIA
The ARIA Act provides for a new independent research agency through which the government aims to fund £800 million worth of high-risk, high-reward research projects. However, the Bill was published without any mention of climate change, the key strategic goal of the nation. APPG members met Midlands Engine partners with expertise in research and development to help evaluate how such a goal could be considered within the Bill and put forward amendments. The government responded by putting forward a requirement that climate goals will be included within the ARIA framework document - ARIA will be required to consider and evaluate how the projects it has funded have contributed to the achievement of our climate change targets and environmental goals.
Prioritising skills areas crucial to the Midlands in the Skills and Post-16 Education Act
Parliamentarians met Midlands Engine partners with experience in skills and higher education to consider and help shape the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill. Amendments were put forward on the prioritisation of skills areas critical to the Midlands (including engineering and digital skills) in local skills improvement plans, and parliamentarians raised a number of key concerns, including the involvement of SMEs in local skills improvement plan development. The government responded with assurances that these important considerations would be written into the statutory guidance accompanying the Act.