Cllr Phil Bateman indicated that one really important element of strong economies is private business and the private sector. He indicated that he had requested information about foreign owned businesses in Wednesfield North and South. He commented that much of the business world grows and invests without public sector intervention, and asked how we are going to attract inward investment alongside attracting external funding particularly in relation to the aerospace industries. The Service Director acknowledged the importance of inwards investment and advised that a future panel meeting will be dedicated to inward investment.
In response to a question about the rebate from EU to UK the panel were advised that the calculations are complex but that put simply the rebate is netted off and that the total payment is the same.
Cllr Bateman questioned whether the Wolverhampton Business Champion meetings were continuing. The Service Director confirmed that was the case and that the new Chair for the Economic Growth Board is also a Business Champion. Cllr Martin Waite asked about skills funding and whether small businesses can bid or if skills training is largely the domain of large organisations. The Service Director advised that in terms of public funding, European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), there is funding available for training providers through the Skills Funding. She confirmed that there are schemes going forward such as skills for growth, employer engagement where businesses will sort bespoke training and apprenticeships, which are still considered the way forward by national government. Cllr John Reynolds advised that there is a need to come up with more innovative ways to deliver apprenticeships, there is an interest from students and need to get business champions involved.
Resolved- That the panel note the report and presentation relating to the external funding opportunities available and the role of the City of Wolverhampton Council in securing funds to enable the delivery of corporate priorities.