GOVERNMENT minister Francis Maude MP has given his backing to ambitious plans to kick start Black Country business.

The cabinet office minister joined MP Margot James for a visit to Base Studios in Stourbridge to see the site of a proposed new high-tech hub for young companies.

Studio chief Warren Evans, who is aiming to create an incubation space for entrepreneurs in a vacant unit adjacent to the Base, presented plans to the MPs for subsidised low-cost workspaces with shared IT services and access to management and training support.

Francis Maude said: “I have heard a lot about Base Studios from Margot and our visit more than lived up to my expectations.

"Stourbridge has a great heritage in music and the performing arts, and Base Studios are now taking that further by training young people to develop their interests and talents to take advantage of the many career opportunities that exist in this vital sector.”

Base Studios recently won a £600,000 contract from the Black Country Skills Partnership to provide training in production, technology and sound engineering for young people including those not in training, education and employment.

Studio bosses hope support from high-profile politicians like Mr Maude will help in their bid to secure state funding to set up the new facilities, which they believe could create up to 80 new full-time jobs every year.

Stourbridge MP,Margot James, added: “I am so glad that Francis made time to visit Base Studios during his recent visit to the Black Country.

"I am very proud of our music heritage in Stourbridge and tremendously impressed by what Base Studios have achieved in just five years.

"There is a great deal more to come and I look forward to playing a part in the future of Base and all the young people who benefit from the training and facilities they provide.”