I most certainly agree with my hon. Friend. We should be looking to the productivity plan and the industrial strategy, which address issues such as infrastructure. The West Midlands combined authority and our local enterprise partnerships should come together to think about how we address issues such as our transport infrastructure far more effectively.
By allowing for strong economic growth, investing in infrastructure will increase our productivity, whether in transport or digital services. As with all such initiatives, it is important that individuals feel part of regional and national growth. That can only be beneficial for job satisfaction, which in turn increases the likelihood of the productivity plan achieving its aims.
I particularly highlight the need for the plan to be measured against clearly defined objectives using metrics. A loose framework can give useful direction but lacks the necessary precise approach and timescales. Tying skills development to the productivity plan must also be a priority. Identifying the changing landscape of our economy and the skills required to keep pace with that change will be a phenomenal challenge. Encouraging greater uptake of science, technology, engineering and maths, for example, is key.
Productivity is clearly an issue that needs to be addressed urgently. I welcome the Government’s determination to put productivity at the heart of the industrial strategy and suggest that we must prioritise investment in R and D, as well as focusing on improving job quality. Embracing new technologies, such as through Industry 4.0, should be central to our approach.