One of the great things about representing Wolverhampton South East is the stories of all the small and medium sized businesses located here.

In a constituency with lots of industrial estates, each building within them represents a story of a great idea which someone had which was built into something real and which now makes great products or services and employs people. I love to visit them and hear their stories.

Of course, many of the big names in manufacturing which used to employ thousands have long gone. But it would be a mistake to assume that we don’t make anything anymore. There are lots of small manufacturing businesses making great products in the Black Country -; and they are absolutely vital to the local economy.

I went to one such business earlier this month-; Optimal Armour based in Bilston. They make armoured seats for the pilots of Chinook helicopters. It’s a highly specialised process involving layer upon layer of bullet proof material and ceramics, all melded together to create a product that can withstand armour piercing bullets. This product made in Bilston plays a vital role in protecting our troops. I was very grateful to be shown around and to hear the story of the business. And I am pleased that something so crucial for our armed forces is made here in Bilston.

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