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UK Government chooses Milton Keynes for £150 million transport innovation hub

Milton Keynes has been chosen as the location for the UK’s new £150 million Catapult centre for integrated transport systems – one of the first of its kind in the world
Milton Keynes was selected following an extensive nationwide search. The final decision was based on a range of criteria including: ease of access for the transport community, a skilled talent pool with the relevant expertise, travel times from locations across the UK and abroad, and the availability of high quality business space to set up the world-class centre.

The Transport Systems Catapult will provide a national hub for transport modelling and monitoring – testing latest theories on how transport systems interact and function against real-world demonstrators. This will help UK businesses to develop effective and sustainable solutions to our transport needs – for both freight and people.

The Catapult will be funded by up to £50 million over five years through the UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board. With private sector business and collaborative R&D projects the total funding for the centre over 5 years is expected to be around £150 million.

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said:
“The Transport Systems Catapult will put Milton Keynes at the forefront of exploiting the huge growth opportunities in a sector estimated to be worth up to £900 billion by 2025. The Catapult will establish the UK as a world leader in transport systems, creating new technologies that can be exported across the world, boosting growth. New systems will also help businesses get access to real time information so they can travel more efficiently, reduce lost time and save money.”

Steve Yianni, CEO designate of the Transport Systems Catapult said:
"An efficient transport system that can move people and goods in a cost effective way is vital to the success of the UK economy. The Transport Systems Catapult will ensure that new and emerging technologies are harnessed to meet the growing requirements for transport systems of the future.

“Milton Keynes is the UK’s fastest growing city, with a proactive council focused on innovation and success. As well as being an ideal place to live and work, Milton Keynes provides a great platform to demonstrate the work of the Transport Systems Catapult.”

David Hopkins, Cabinet member for Economic Development & Enterprise at Milton Keynes Council said:“We are delighted that the Transport Systems Catapult has chosen Milton Keynes to host their technology and innovation centre. Milton Keynes is an ultra-modern, fast-growing city that embodies and embraces innovation in everything it does."

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Milton Keynes praised at national seminar

Milton Keynes has been showcased in a national seminar on inward investment, hosted by respected local government publication the MJ (Municipal Journal).
Milton Keynes has been showcased in a national seminar on inward investment, hosted by respected local government publication the MJ (Municipal Journal).

Chief Executive David Hill represented the council - and the borough - at the event, held at the Church House Conference Centre in Westminster.

The range of speakers at the seminar, ‘Meeting the Growth Agenda Challenge’, included Lord Heseltine and Treasury Minister Greg Clark, as well as representatives from other councils.

Mr Hill was chosen to speak after an independent study of councils across the country named Milton Keynes as the best place to do business.

Working with the MJ, researchers from independent researchers Local Futures looked at scores of different criteria to come up with 15 measures in three categories: economic performance, human resources, and environment and infrastructure.

Milton Keynes had the best composite score of all 325 local authority areas in England in the analysis, designed to build a picture of the attractiveness of towns and cities to investors.

In a special Inward Investment supplement, published in February, under the headline ‘A Winning Formula for Milton Keynes’ the MJ stated: “The city scored highly on a range of economic, human resources and environment and infrastructure indicators – including being placed third for productivity, seventh for knowledge workers and eighth for industrial
structure.”

Milton Keynes was singled out for having a large and growing skilled local workforce, for the number of people working in high tech ‘knowledge businesses’, and for having plenty of available commercial floorspace, as well as for its high productivity, and for the number of new businesses being established.

There are now more than 11,000 firms based in Milton Keynes, including major companies such as Santander, Network Rail and Home Retail Group, and the borough has one of the highest business start-up rates in the UK. 2,275 new companies were established in 2012 and five companies move to - or expand in - Milton Keynes every month.

Mr Hill said: “It was very gratifying to be given a national stage to extol the virtues of Milton Keynes, and talk about our position as an economic powerhouse.

“People and businesses in Milton Keynes have always known that it’s a great place to work and live, but it's good to be able to point to an independent, objective statistical analysis that says the same thing."

Other authorities represented at the event included Warrington, which also scored highly in the Local Futures report.

Please click on the link to view the full analysis
Local Futures Report

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World expert wins £0.5m contract to design Chinese cities

MILTON Keynes is to be the inspiration behind the design of two cities in China after a local firm won a £500,000 contract
Wei Yang and Partners has begun work on the detailed design and guidance for the Chinese government to move the development in Hunan province forward.

The firm, founded in Milton Keynes two years ago, has an operational base in London and announced the contract win during UKTI’s Export Week - High Growth Markets, a week designed to encourage small and medium firms to export to growing markets.

Dr Wei Yang, an expert on garden cities and a trustee of the Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre, said: “It is fantastic to have secured this deal. As the birth place of garden cities and new towns, Britain has a great record of success and Milton Keynes is the most successful new town in the world, offering a strong and friendly community which has stood the test of time.

“The Chinese are looking to create cities that offer people somewhere genuinely exciting to live and work, creating opportunities for future generations so the design philosophy of Milton Keynes is an obvious influence.

"Chinese visitors to Milton Keynes are always impressed by the green setting, and see it as a model for building long-term vision for the city and the community in the early days of urban planning, which is one of the reasons why my firm has a base there.”

Dr Yang has extensive experience of master planning new cities and large scale urban expansions in China and the UK, having worked on Wuhan East Lake Innovation Zone in Hubei Province, China, and strategic development locations in the UK.

Wei Yang & Partners Ltd received help from the Sustainable Cities Initiative and UKTI’s Passport for Export Scheme.

International trade adviser Chris Lowsley, UKTI South
East’s China specialist, advised Dr Yang on her travels to China. He said: “Dr Yang is a world leading expert in town planning, who has chosen to have a base in Milton Keynes due to its established reputation.

“Her knowledge and expertise in eco-town planning and garden city planning have rightly paid off and the complex work she has undertaken has led to her clinching fantastic deals from Chinese cities, proving very valuable to this company and its projected growth.”

Backed by UKTI, Dr Yang will be seconded as a UK principal expert advising on China’s eco-city policies and planning guidance. UKTI says her work will help to boost the profile of UK planning expertise in China.

Mr Lowsley said: “I hope that the success of Dr Yang can be an inspiration to other firms looking to boost sales. There are millions of potential new customers in high growth markets and we at UKTI are here to provide any support we can to help firms reach them.”

To get export advice call UKTI South East on 08452 789 600 or visit www.ukti.gov.uk.

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QTS opens Milton Keynes Head Office

QTS, the market-leading supplier of online and mobile banking systems to building societies, has announced the opening of its new head office in Milton Keynes.
Garry Williams, Managing Director of QTS, said "We've been based in Northamptonshire for over a decade, but following several years of continued growth for the company, we had been looking for new premises to support our expanding team. It makes a lot of sense to be located in Milton Keynes, with a more accessible and flexible environment for our staff and clients. We will be phasing the move to the new site to ensure a smooth transition and no disruption in service."
The new office marks another significant change for the company this year - following the announcement of a new Edinburgh office in January and a new corporate identity unveiled earlier this month at the BSA Conference in Harrogate.
Having previously been known as 'QT Systems', the company has now made a clear decision to be called QTS - reflected throughout their branding and in their new website qts.co.uk. Their new strapline 'Increasing performance through technology' was chosen to communicate concisely their role in helping clients to achieve their strategic goals.

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NiftLift recognised for innovation and export success

Milton Keynes based powered access manufacturer Niftylift is celebrating winning not one but two prestigious Queen’s Awards for Enterprise – one for innovation and one for international trade.
Milton Keynes based powered access manufacturer Niftylift is celebrating winning not one but two prestigious Queen’s Awards for Enterprise – one for innovation and one for international trade.

Niftylift is increasingly being recognised as a role model for home-grown UK manufacturers, showing how innovation and exports can drive success, jobs and growth. Founded in a garden shed in Bedfordshire 1982 by Roger Bowden, Niftylift has grown to be one of the world's leading manufacturers of mobile elevated work platforms, with over 250 employees in the UK and USA, alongside a vast dealer network across over 40 countries worldwide to support the 75% of sales as exports.

The company chose to move to Milton Keynes in 1988 and has expanded and invested in the city where it has a modern manufacturing and R&D facility.

Niftylift is committed to supporting and encouraging the education of engineering in schools and is involved with the Engineering Education Scheme, partnering its own young graduate engineers with students from Denbigh School in Milton Keynes for many years.

Invest Milton Keynes would like to congratulate Niftylift on receiving these prestigious Awards in recognition of their innovation, commercial success and International Trade!

Please follow the link for more information on Nifty Lifts website.

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