It’s an honour to be here today.
What an absolutely extraordinary and brilliant centre! I’m delighted to be here – I want to thank you very much for having me, and thank MPs Mark Pawsey and Marcus Jones for suggesting that I visit.
The work you are doing is hugely important.
You’ve shown that government can work in partnership with industry, backing businesses who want to harness the latest science and engineering and turn it into the advanced manufacturing of the future.
And this is the perfect place to talk about the future of manufacturing.
The Midlands was one of the cradles of the Industrial Revolution in this country.
Derby has long been the foremost centre of the British Rail industry
And it’s home to the world’s second largest aero-engine manufacturer, Rolls-Royce.
In Coventry you built the first car, and went on to become the centre of British motor manufacturing.
The West Midlands still host many of our manufacturing giants like Jaguar Land Rover and Aston Martin.
Trains, planes, cars – we have excelled in all these areas, and we continue to do so.
But they are just a part of the future of British manufacturing.
Today I’ve seen amazing new technologies.
I have seen a laser so powerful that it could knock the head off the statue of Lady Godiva in central Coventry - from here.
There’s only one laser that’s more powerful in the world – and that’s the one that NASA have to shoot down missiles.
Here you’re harnessing this technology for commercial ends – using it to weld, cut and clad mechanical components with a level of precision and efficiency well in advance of current manufacturing standards.
I’ve seen rotary friction welding, a technology that will be a game changer for the aerospace industry and elsewhere.
I’ve seen the world’s most advanced 3D printing technology.
Technology that doctors at Sheffield Hospital have been able to use to save a young girl’s life.
This is the future of British manufacturing.
Now some cynics say that Britain’s manufacturing days are over. That we simply cannot compete and so we might as well give up.
We need a new approach.
That’s why this government has been pursuing a long term economic plan that will allow Britain to win the global race.
And to those who say it won’t work - that we will always just rely on the City of London - I say look at the facts:
The West Midlands growing twice as fast as London
And manufacturing helping to create 49,000 new jobs in the West Midlands since 2010
Our plan means:
Reducing the deficit,
Cutting income taxes,
Creating more jobs by backing businesses,
Capping welfare and controlling immigration, and
Delivering the best schools and skills for young people.
Our plan is about delivering economic security for hard-working Britons. A recovery for all: good careers and decent salaries available for all.
If we are going to achieve that, it is not enough for government just to provide economic stability and competitive taxes, vital as they are.
The government also needs to unashamedly back those parts of the economy that are a British success story – like car manufacturing, like biotechnology, like aerospace.
It’s not about picking winners, but helping British businesses to maintain their competitive edge.
Helping them to harness the best science and technology that our universities and research institutes are developing.
And that’s why today I can announce that the government will be providing £30m of new funding - matched by another £30m from industry - for the development of a new dedicated aerospace technology centre here at the Manufacturing Technology Centre.
We are already the best in Europe for aerospace and with this investment we can do even better.
The dedicated new facility created here will allow companies to develop new technologies, like using carbon fibre in jet engines, planes and helicopters, which will be exported around the world.
It’s just part of £2 billion which will be invested by government and industry in this sector, through the Aerospace Technology Institute.
Our long term economic plan is working and the economy is growing.
But there is still a long way to go.
The job is not even half done.
And we must never again neglect our great manufacturing industry.
Britain needs to make things again.
We are doing the things that are needed to put British manufacturing at the heart of Britain’s recovery
And I can see that with the innovation and the drive of the people here today, we will build a proud future for all of us.