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Birmingham’s productivity increased at twice the national rate last year, and I am meeting our great West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street, next month to talk about how we can achieve even more. We have one of the country’s most successful enterprise zones in Birmingham, where we are investing £433 million in local growth funds and increasing skills levels, employment opportunities and connectivity.
Transport for West Midlands and the Open Data Institute found that between 2008 and 2018 congestion had led to 216,000 fewer people being within a 45-minute bus journey of the centre of Birmingham. Will the Secretary of State commit to properly resourcing new public transport infrastructure in Birmingham to enhance productivity and help the city’s almost 2 million people to realise their potential rather than wasting their time sitting in traffic?
The hon. Lady raises a really important point, and she will know that the Department for Transport is looking closely at what more it can do to improve connectivity. I hope that she will be delighted, as I am, that the city centre and Curzon extension is creating 76,000 new jobs and contributing £4 billion to the economy each year, and that since 2010, according to the local enterprise partnership, there are 134,000 private sector jobs being created in the Greater Birmingham area.
My hon. Friend is well aware of the Government’s ambitions to have a giga factory in the UK. It is vital for the success of our economy that we are able to find these new areas of technological growth that can support the uptake of ultra-low and zero-emission vehicles.