LIBERAL Democrat leader Nick Clegg has pledged to make the West Midlands a central part of a green revolution in manufacturing

On a visit to Land Rover’s plant in Solihull yesterday, he spoke of the need to refocus the economy on the manufacturing industry, and said companies in the region were ideally placed to benefit from an economic recovery focused on green engineering.

“What we have in Solihull is a famous British company hitting hard times not just in Britain but around the world,” he said. “I was struck even China isn’t ordering as many cars as before, which is very worrying for an industry so export-based.

“We need to make major investments in green engineering and in public transport. Land Rover is making a significant investment in green cars. Improving the environment is an opportunity for British industry, not a threat. It’s a chance to invest in green energy and transport and we need to make sure our economic recovery is a green recovery.

“The move to a greener economy is a massive opportunity for the West Midlands. If you look at the new model of Land Rover with its stop/start technology, that reduces emissions by 10 per cent, you see the possibilities this recovery holds.

“If we get there before others, if we invest now, our manufacturing industry can take the lead.”

Mr Clegg also criticised the government for allowing the economy to become too focused on banking, and called for manufacturing to be put at the heart of British industry.

“I think we’ve been over-reliant on the financial services industry, and the ‘get rich quick’ culture of the City,” he said. “The key thing is to get people spending money again. We’ve got to get much, much tougher on the banks.”