Britain needs a strategic approach to building the foundations of low carbon industrial competitiveness to boost the UK’s public finances through sustainable growth, Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said today, publishing the Government’s UK growth strategy.
The strategy, entitled Going for Growth, describes how the Government has implemented the agenda set out in New Industry New Jobs in 2009. It signposts how it will now build on those foundations in seven key areas:
- Supporting enterprise and entrepreneurial activity;
- Fostering knowledge creation and its innovative application;
- Helping people develop the skills and capabilities to reach their personal and economic potential;
- Investing in the infrastructure required to support a low carbon modern economy;
- Ensuring open and competitive markets allowing business to grow;
- Building on our industrial strengths in sectors where we have expertise and investing to foster new comparative advantage;
- Understanding and employing the right strategic role for government in markets enabling us to capitalise on new opportunities.
Lord Mandelson said: “This plan is about a renewed politics of production. The genius of science and research. The dynamism of personal enterprise. The drive of a skilled and confident workforce. Access to finance on the right terms for long term growth. A world class infrastructure. And strategic action from government to invest in all these things. These simple, powerful capabilities are the building blocks of our future growth. They stress the importance of recognizing that industrial competitiveness is not something that emerges out of the free market ether. The £70M funding we’re announcing today for state of the art manufacturing research centres shows what we can do to realise our potential.”
Over the last 12 months since the publication of New Industry New Jobs, Government has invested to build long term capacity in the foundations of industrial recovery, while meeting the challenges of the recession, including:
- allocated £950M in the Strategic Investment Fund to develop the UK’s industrial strength and build for the recovery;
- supported enterprise and SMEs through nearly Enterprise Finance Guarantee, announced in PBR 2008 with a value of £1.3bn and increased and extended in PBR 2009;
- expanded apprenticeships, including the creating of 35,000 Advanced Technical Apprenticeships over the next two years;
- expanded annual funding under the Higher Education Innovation Fund to support university spin-out companies.
Alongside Going for Growth Lord Mandelson announced £70M of new funding under the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council for state of the art manufacturing research centres, bringing together our university knowledge base with innovative manufacturing. The first three university based centres will focus on photonics (the science and application of light using optical fibres to revolutionise the internet and telecommunications) at Southampton, regenerative medicine (therapies to enable damaged, diseased or defective tissues to work normally again) at Loughborough and liquid metals (developing innovative technologies for the reuse and recycling of metal) at Brunel.
The Technology Strategy Board also announced £38.5m of funding in nearly 260 new R&D projects, investing in knowledge and innovation and Building on our industrial strengths in sectors where we have expertise. The projects will be focussed in four areas, Carbon Abatement Technologies, Low Carbon Vehicles, High Value Manufacturing and Feasibility Studies in areas such as Digital Britain, Regenerative Medicine, Advanced Materials; Biosciences; Electronics, Photonics and Electrical Systems; High Value Manufacturing; Information & Communication Technology and Nanotechnology.
And the Government has also announced that rural communities and hard to reach areas who do not have access to next generation broadband will benefit from a share of £1billion of Government investment to upgrade the UK’s digital infrastructure to bring super-fast broadband to 90% of the country
To continue to shape the economy for growth the Government will:
- Ask technology entrepreneur Hermann Hauser CBE to undertake an urgent but systematic evaluation of the UK’s existing innovation network – including a range of new centres of excellence established by the Government in 2009 in areas like nuclear engineering and plastic electronics - to see how Britain can learn from Germany’s successful network connecting university research with the industrial base. This work will sit alongside a new report commissioned from Regional Development Agencies on how universities working together with RDAs can drive economic growth in their areas.
- Ask Investment Minister Lord Mervyn Davis to report on how to bring together the range of government-backed investment funds including the new Growth Fund into a national industrial investment network with a strong regional capacity.