MPs have visited the West Midlands as part of an inquiry into the impact of innovation on the region’s economy.

The Commons Business and Enterprise Committee saw the Techno Centre at Coventry University to meet representatives of Advantage West Midlands and the region’s universities.

In the two-day visit, the committee visited key innovation projects – including the new Longbridge Innovation Centre – and leading companies including QinetiQ in Worcestershire and Jaguar Land Rover in Gaydon.

AWM chairman Nick Paul said: "We welcome the Business and Enterprise Committee taking the time to visit the West Midlands to see how partners are adding value to the regional economy and helping UK Plc punch its weight.

"The West Midlands Economic Strategy identifies innovation as a key priority for the region’s future prosperity and an area in which our region’s record could be improved.

"Advantage West Midlands makes a series of strategic interventions across a range of issues that add value to business, generate new investment, value and increased prosperity.

"Projects such as INDEX innovation vouchers, piloted here, are making a difference in stimulating investment in innovation.

"We have been able to put our view the Government is on the right track with its recent White Paper on innovation, although here in the West Midlands we have specific challenges to overcome, in particular around higher-level skills where currently we don’t perform well enough." And Mid Worcestershire MP Peter Luff, chairman of the Select Committee, added: "The future of the UK’s economy hinges on innovation." and the move towards a value-added economy. We hear a lot of talk about India and China, but there can be a tendency to assume these countries will continue to stay at the bottom end of the market using cheap and unskilled labour.

"In fact, they are going to invest a fortune in training scientists and developing skills."