Peace in our time as Midlands Connect appoints independent chair

MIDLANDS Connect, the partnership tasked with developing a transport blueprint to unlock economic growth and jobs, has appointed businessman Sir John Peace as its independent chair.

Peace, who is chairman of clothing and accessories business Burberry Group and banking group Standard Chartered said: “I am delighted and excited to be working with Midlands Connect.

“I care deeply about the Midlands and I’m extremely proud of its heritage and role as the UK’s manufacturing heartland.

“But it has so much more economic potential still to be tapped, which is why the Government has tasked us with identifying the transport infrastructure needed to help unlock that growth and help power the Midlands Engine.

“This is a crucial piece of work because the constraints on the region’s existing road and rail networks are holding back our economy and making our businesses less competitive.

“If we can speed up journey times across the Midlands we could boost our economy by more than £1bn a year, create an additional 300,000 jobs, save businesses nearly £500m and provide a more prosperous future for the region’s 11m people.”

Peace was appointed at the inaugural meeting of the Midlands Connect board which took place today in Birmingham.

Fellow associate board member and transport secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, said: “Good transport doesn’t just help people get around. It helps them get on.

“It’s clear that by developing a single transport strategy for the region, Midlands Connect will make a huge contribution to boosting the region’s economy.” 

New legislation – in the shape of the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act – enabled sub-national transport bodies to be set up in those areas of England that wanted them.

It paved the way for the existing Midlands Connect Partnership, which includes local authorities, local enterprise partnerships, central government and delivery agencies such as Network Rail and Highways England, to move to a formal, statutory status.