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Jan Thompson, chairman of JLL's operations across the Midlands, admitted he was delighted by the Budget's focus on manufacturing, and the measures to stimulate exports. "All too often, Chancellors of all parties do little more than pay lip-service to the needs of industry, which of course is such a critical and successful element of this region's economy," he said. "I was very pleased to see the Treasury highlighting the remarkable success of BMW's engine plant at Hams Hall, which is now providing engines for one-in-four of all its vehicles sold in Europe. "Doubling the funding available for export finance to £3 billion, reducing its cost, and also strengthening UK Trade & Investment - which assists companies to enter overseas markets - will be of significant benefit, as will doubling the annual business investment allowances to £2 billion, especially for SMEs. "It was also pleasing to hear that start-up funds will be made available to help launch new services from regional airports, which must stimulate activity at both Birmingham International and East Midlands Airport, as well as making it easier for companies to export. "However, I was disappointed not to hear more news about major infrastructure projects, although there may be something in the prospectus for proposed garden cities, which was mentioned in the Budget statement."
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