Today (Thursday 16 January) the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne announced £60 million of new funding for the development of new high-tech aerospace technology at the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry.
The government will provide £30 million in funding, which will be matched by industry. It is one of the ways government and industry are working together through the aerospace industrial strategy to give businesses the confidence to invest, creating more high-skilled, long-term jobs in the UK.
The Chancellor said:
Our long term economic plan is working and the economy is growing. But there is still work to do which is why we are working with industry to drive innovation and lead the global race in technology, engineering and manufacturing.
We are already the best in Europe for aerospace and I want to do even better. Up to 27,000 new planes are needed between now and 2030, worth billions of pounds to the UK economy in contracts. That is why I am announcing today that, together with industry, we will invest around £60 million in a dedicated facility for aerospace manufacturing as part of £2 billion of support for this growing sector.
The Chancellor made the announcement at a visit to the Manufacturing Technology Centre, part of the government’s ‘High Value Manufacturing Catapult’ centres which promote high end manufacturing in the UK, providing world-class capability and equipment, such as the world’s largest commercial laser, seen by the Chancellor on his visit to the MTC.
The UK is currently number one for the aerospace industry in Europe and second only to the United States globally. The aerospace facility will allow companies to develop new materials such as lightweight carbon fibre for use in planes, jet engines and civil helicopters that will be exported around the world.
The funding will also support the creation of a national centre for ‘additive manufacturing’ (so-called 3D printing technology), to develop new products for aero-engines and aircraft landing gears, as well as automotive and medical devices.
This investment is part of the £2 billion of joint government and industry funding for the Aerospace Technology Institute that will be invested in the sector over the next seven years. It will make sure the UK has the manufacturing capability needed to meet this growing global market, which already generates £24 billion a year for the UK economy.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said:
Britain has a world beating aerospace industry, second only to the United States. But to keep it that way we must continue to invest in the latest cutting edge technology. These new facilities, funded from the £2 billion committed by government and industry for aerospace research and development, will help us maintain our competitive edge in the sector.
The aerospace industrial strategy, which government has developed jointly with industry, is giving businesses the confidence to invest in the UK, creating more high-skilled, long-term jobs.
Chief Executive of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult programme, Dick Elsy said:
This is a very exciting time for manufacturing in the UK. In the two years since its formation, the High Value Manufacturing Catapult is set to exceed its targets in terms of the investment generated from industry, the projects secured and the Collaborative R&D delivered.
It is clear that industry recognises and embraces the opportunities that we offer and this latest expansion of capability at the MTC is a tremendous new resource which will help the UK’s high value manufacturing sector – and the aerospace sector in particular –to continue to go from strength to strength.
The High Value Manufacturing Catapult allows companies of all sizes to develop technology from new concepts to commercial reality using state-of-the-art machinery and expertise which is shared between members, reducing the costs to business and ensuring that the UK’s excellence in design and research is translated to marketable products.
Aerospace is just one of the areas of ‘high value manufacturing’ that the government and industry are supporting through the HVM Catapult programme to stimulate growth in British manufacturing. Other high-value manufacturing includes the development of new efficient vehicles and electronics, pharmaceuticals and nuclear technology.
Photo courtesy of Coventry City Council on Flickr, used under Creative Commons.