Liz Truss’ mini budget is the bold move Britain needs, Minister insists during Birmingham visit

The Rt Hon Damian Collins MP, Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy (DCMS) visits the new £70m state-of-the art STEAMhouse building at Birmingham City University to support Birmingham Tech week

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Technology and Digital Economy minister Damian Collins visited Birmingham today (Thursday, October 13). He was here to tour the new state of the art STEAMhouse building at Birmingham City University as they launched an initiative to encourage careers in AI and data science.

BirminghamWorld met up wth the Minister to find out more about the new BCU project and how it can help build up vital skills for young people in the city, and to ask him about those all important questions facing the government - trust in Liz Truss and the British economy following the fallout fom the mini budget.

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According to CommsCo, 83% of a total of 185 IT bosses surveyed have expressed concerns about the current economic climate which has seen the pound drop to an all time low and interest rates rise - so we asked Mr Green if this mini budget had made a recession likely.

He said: “No, not at all. If anything, it makes it less likely because it gives businesses the confidence to invest in the UK, knowing that it is one of the best places in the world to invest. But investment needs to be matched by skills.”

With regards to Liz Truss’s performance, Collins’ commented: “Liz Truss? Of course she has my backing. I think she’s set out a very bold plan for how we get the economy growing.

“I think all around the world government’s are struggling with the issue of paying for the costs of a war and a pandemic that no one asked for - and the best way to do that is get more growth.

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“The more growth we have, the more revenue the treasury has, the more it can invest in services and keep our taxes competitive. So I think the government has taken bold decisions to get the economy growing faster.”

Damian Collins, Minister for Tech and Digital Economy, on his scheme to bring more people into AI and data scienceDamian Collins, Minister for Tech and Digital Economy, on his scheme to bring more people into AI and data science
Damian Collins, Minister for Tech and Digital Economy, on his scheme to bring more people into AI and data science

What about the work to help build tech skills in the West Midlands and STEAMhouse at BCU?

New DCMS research shows the West Midlands is one of the UK’s fastest-growing tech sectors - valued at £15.3 billion, up from £11.5 billion in 2021. The data indicates that the region is reported to now have over 144,000 people employed in around 2,300 tech startups and scaleups across the West Midlands, with over 56,000 in Birmingham alone.

Mr Collins visited Birmingham Tech week, at the new £70m state-of-the art STEAMhouse building at BCU, to launch a scheme aimed at encouraging students from low socioeconomic backgrounds as well as women, minority and disabled students to study and build careers in AI and data science.

BirminghamWorld asked him about the facility and what impact a looming recession may have on that sector. He said: “I’ve been really impressed by everything I’ve seen here today, because not only the students accessing the courses you know, who will get jobs in AI and the tech sector as a consequence of being on these courses.

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“But they’re working alongside other advanced research work. Incubator businesses who are taking their first step into the marketplace are the more mature businesses here.”

Julian Beer, Deputy Vice Chancellor of Birmingham City University, speaks about SteamhouseJulian Beer, Deputy Vice Chancellor of Birmingham City University, speaks about Steamhouse
Julian Beer, Deputy Vice Chancellor of Birmingham City University, speaks about Steamhouse

Julian Beer, Deputy Vice Chancellor of Birmingham City University, said: “So Steamhouse is all about collaboration. It’s all about fusion, melding, different people, different communities from different backgrounds.

“So in this building, as the minister said, is one of the exemplars in the country of actually bringing all those ingredients together. So students, academics, startup businesses, big corporates, and civic society, but not just in the West Midlands and Birmingham, as a society as a country and globally.”

STEAMhouse at Birmingham City University, BCUSTEAMhouse at Birmingham City University, BCU
STEAMhouse at Birmingham City University, BCU

A bit more information about STEAMhouse....

This building played a big part in Birmingham’s industrial history. Built in 1899, rubber products, pianos, bedsteads and clothing have all been made here. A serious fire in 2007 almost rendered the site derelict. It’s now been transformed into a £70 million state-of-the-art technology centre.

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Eight years of research went into the site, which will become home to a community of like minded pursuers of innovation. The Victorians were famed for their innovation so it seems only right that this historic building from their era, will now play an important part in developing the ideas of the future - a new chapter, for a city built on revolution.

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