Justice Secretary speaks to West Midlands Business Leaders at Aston

Minister for Justice Jack Straw
Minister for Justice Jack Straw

2nd November 2009

Secretary of State for Justice, Jack Straw, was invited to speak at Aston University, to outline his views on the state of the economy and the Government’s future economic plans.

The Rt Hon, Mr Straw, MP visited Aston Business School, last week, to give a talk to over 150 business leaders as part a Financing Recovery conference, organised in conjunction with the West Midlands Economic Forum.

The conference, “Financing recovery....funding innovation and investment”,  also heard fromGeoffrey Clifton-Brown, the Shadow Minister for International Trade and Development and John Hemming the Liberal Democrat Spokesman for the West Midlands.

Mr Straw outlined how the collapse of Northern Rock was just one initial trauma to affect the UK public, highlighting that the Government’s top priority at the time was to ensure that the banking system did not collapse, calling it the ‘circulation system of our economy’.   He also spoke about the need to ensure that there was a sufficient stimulus package and the role of quantitative easing of the monetary supply.

In his speech Mr Straw challenged opposition claims that the Government had failed to ‘fix the roof while the sun was shining’, pointing to investments in schools and modernisation of the existing social housing stock.  He also defended the Government’s record on debt, arguing that the UK debt level is at or below the level of our major competitors.

He identified three major actions that the Government are committed to: continuing to support the economy until the recession is over; rebuilding fiscal strength, including legislation to halve the deficit by 2014 and planning for growth.

Mr Straw acknowledged that the West Midlands has been particularly badly affected by the recession, mainly because of the large manufacturing base in the region.   He pointed out that the region’s skills base remains weak, and highlighted that qualifications were more important now than ever.

The role of Regional Development Agencies, such as Advantage West Midlands, proved a real dividing line between the two main political parties, with Mr Straw in favour of RDAs.

Shadow Minister Mr Clifton- Brown said he was in favour of abolishing RDAs- except for the one in London. He said the planning role of RDAs would be transferred to local councils.

“Financing recovery....funding innovation and investment” was organised by Business Voice WM, Forrest Research, Aston Business School, Birmingham Business School and the Fair Finance Consortium.


For further information contact Aston University Press Officer, Alex Earnshaw on 0121 204 4549