Ministers today (26 February 2015) announced a package of measures to boost British manufacturing, including a £22 million grant to accelerate new house building technology and a new action plan to support growth in supply chains.
The grant, part of a £104 million project led by construction and engineering firm Laing O’Rourke, will promote new pre-assembly techniques in house building. Producing homes off-site will help increase productivity and reduce costs. The project will also deliver training in the latest digital engineering and installation skills.
Visiting a Laing O’Rourke construction site in London’s Elephant and Castle today, Business Secretary Vince Cable said:
To meet urgent demand for new affordable homes, the construction industry must embrace new technologies and techniques – and our support will help them do this more quickly.
This reflects the long-term commitment of our industrial strategy to modernising British manufacturing. Working in partnership with industry, targeted investment from government is helping firms exploit new technologies, raise skills levels and improve productivity.
Vince Cable and Business Minister Matthew Hancock will also speak at the EEF, the manufacturer’s organisation, annual conference today and outline a new government and industry action plan to help manufacturing suppliers win more business by boosting innovation and improving access to finance.
Business Minister Matthew Hancock said:
Backing Britain’s manufacturers has been front and centre of our long-term economic plan.
We know that our manufacturers can only really thrive when their UK suppliers are in the best shape and retain market share in long-established sectors, like automotive and aerospace, as well as strengthening supply chains in emerging sectors like nuclear, shale gas and advanced materials.
The Laing O’Rourke project is funded by the government’s Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI). AMSCI funding provides research and development support, skills training and investment capital, and encourages major new suppliers to ‘re-shore’ in the UK.
Stephen Harley, Director of Advanced Manufacturing at Laing O’Rourke said:
This grant comes at a critical time for the construction and engineering sector and its supply chain. It will help our consortium create over 600 new jobs - and could create 1,000 more across the diverse supply chain.
The investment is great news for our ability to help address the UK’s housing capacity gap of some 60,000 to 100,000 homes annually, with advanced off-site manufacturing and digital engineering speeding up the provision of affordable, high quality accommodation.
The supply chain action plan includes:
- setting out how large employers can do more to support the skills of their supply chain by redirecting high calibre applicants they can’t offer apprenticeships or jobs to themselves to their suppliers, as well as opening up training programmes and facilities to the supply chain
- tackling late payment and ending unfair practices such as charging to stay on supplier lists
- boosting innovation in the supply chain, by increasing the number of small businesses the High Value Manufacturing Catapult works with each year by 50%; the Catapult, which helps firms bring new concepts to market, will double the amount of collaborative research and development accessed by small businesses - to £120 million per annum - in 5 years
The plan will see government and industry take action together to improve the competitiveness of our supplier base.
Notes to Editors
- Read the ‘Manufacturing Supply Chain Action Plan: Strengthening UK manufacturing supply chains: a plan for government and industry’.
- The manufacturing sector supports 2 and a half million jobs and contributes almost £150 billion a year to the UK.
- The Business Secretary also announced the next phase of the Building Information Modelling programme (BIM) today. BIM digitises the construction process – harnessing the same techniques used by the advanced aerospace industry in pre-production to design, build and test construction projects. Firms including Laing O’Rourke are recognised as key early-adopters of BIM technology.
- In 2011 the government announced that BIM would be a requirement of all central government construction procurement from 2016, providing a powerful incentive to firms to invest in BIM capability to remain eligible to compete for future government contracts. This has already resulted in 20% savings in government construction costs and the UK is now a world leader in BIM technology. To maintain this position and to export BIM technology to global markets the next phase will drive further uptake, address technological challenges and develop new approaches.