Keynote address at Observatory conference by “the most powerful person in the West Midlands”

Liam Byrne

Liam Byrne

Liam Byrne MP, Minister for the West Midlands, was announced as the most powerful person in the West Midlands on Friday of last week according to the Birmingham Post’s “Power 50” list.

Liam will give the key-note address at the Observatory’s annual conference on 13th October 2008, launching the State of the Region synthesis report and focusing on the importance of a robust evidence base for the region’s strategies – particularly the forthcoming Integrated Regional Strategy.

Julia King, the Vice-Chancellor of Aston University (herself number 3 on the “Power 50”) will form part of a panel of experts who will answer questions from delegates in the morning session. The panel also includes Cllr Roger Phillips, Brian Woods Scawen, Mike Beasley and Tracey O’Brian.

Places cost just £60 and are limited in number – so book your place now!

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Threat to rural industries highlighted by Lantra

Tom Scotney of the Birmingham Post has highlighted a report by Lantra, the environmental and land-based sector skills council, that warns how rural businesses are being threatened by a lack of migrant workers and fewer younger people moving into the rural sector.

Lantra warns that the rural economies of counties such as Herefordshire and Worcestershire have relied on migrant workers to fill jobs such as fruit picking, but that changing conditions in Europe mean that the region can no longer rely on migrant labour. This, coupled with an aging indigenous rural workforce, has led Lantra to embark on a campaign to encourage young people to consider a career in the rural sector.

Tom’s full article, Lack of migrant workers is real threat to rural industries, is available on the Birmingham Post website.