IN my last column, I wrote about the positive announcement from Ofgem that the Energy Price Cap is set to fall from July – meaning households are set save hundreds of pounds compared to what we are all currently paying for our energy bills.

This week, there is more positive economic news as the OECD has become the latest organisation to raise its projections for growth in the UK economy, just at the same time as the Eurozone starts to slip into recession.

While it is worrying to see the economies of our near neighbours and one of our largest trading partners struggling in this way, we should take some confidence that these assessments of the UK economy mean we are on course with the Government’s key missions to deliver growth and bring down inflation this year.

Last week, the Prime Minister and President Biden announced the Atlantic Declaration – a new trade, research and security partnership that covers areas such artificial intelligence, information sharing in crises, 5G, and civil nuclear power.

I recently visited Brierley Hill based manufacturing firm Welin Lambie. They have been operating in Brierley Hill for a hundred years and have just secured a further contract with the US Navy. They are an excellent example of how close links between the UK and the US can lead to more contracts between British manufacturing firms and US customers, which in turn create jobs and prosperity right here in the Black Country.

Likewise, the UK’s new post-Brexit Trade Deal with Australia offers huge opportunities for local businesses. The new agreement will see Australia dropping all tariffs and quotas on almost all UK goods.

This will be a boost for some of our biggest exports, such as machinery, vehicles, aircraft and seacraft, electronics, precision equipment, pharmaceuticals and chemicals – all areas where the UK, and particularly the Midlands, excels.

On top of that deal, the UK is also joining the CPTPP trade bloc of countries that includes some of the fastest-growing economies in the world like Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam, as well as some of oldest trading partners like Ayustralia, Canada and New Zeland.

It was great to be able to join Kingswinford engineering firm Mechatherm as they celebrated their half-century. Over the past 50 years, they have built up a brilliant business designing state-of-the-art furnaces and are now the leading British company in their market.

Mechatherm have exported to every continent in the world other than Antarctica, with key markets ranging from Australia to Dubai and from Taiwan to the USA.

Their exports around the world mean well-paid jobs for people working in Kingswinford. They are precisely the kind of innovative company that stands to benefit the most as new trade agreements are reached to make it easier for us to trade without unnecessary barriers, and without relying on the goodwill of countries that often have very different interests and values to our own.

That’s good for our economy, it’s good for our national security, and it’s good for jobs here in Dudley.