• £270m of extra funding for high-tech hubs in the West Midlands
• Backing for British expertise at 40-year high
• Latest GDP figures confirm economy continues to grow
Philip Hammond will expand successful ‘catapult centres’ which are fuelling innovation across the country, including in the West Midlands, as part of the UK’s ambitious, modern Industrial Strategy. This new funding backs Britain’s brightest talent – supporting work in high-tech labs, cutting-edge factories and advanced training centres.
So far this has helped create hundreds of new products, services and inventions, including a portable pollution sensor that parents can attach to a child’s buggy, cellular therapies to fight cancer and improve recovery of stroke victims, LED treatment for blindness, and more-efficient wings for aeroplanes.
The Chancellor made the announcement during a visit to the West Midlands on the day GDP figures showed the UK economy has grown by 0.4%.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, said:
“We are backing innovative British companies to grow and create jobs, as we build an economy fit for the future.
“Today’s £270 million investment for the West Midlands will support innovators across the region to create the technologies of the future and the better, highly-paid jobs we all want to see.”
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said:
“In terms of job creation, exports and investment, the West Midlands is a genuine economic success story. Innovation is right at the heart of this.
“We identified some years ago the sectors and industries in which the West Midlands had a natural advantage and focused our attention and investment on these.
“Warwick Manufacturing Group, the MTC and the Energy Systems Catapult are leading-edge research and development centres that are working with businesses on the technologies, products and services of tomorrow and therefore creating the industries and jobs of tomorrow.”
Mr Hammond met with apprentices and workers, who specialise in automation and machining, at the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry. This high-tech facility will benefit from £122 million of government funding, and is currently a world-leader in 3D printing. The funding will also go to Warwick Manufacturing Group (£99 million) and the Energy Systems Catapult, in Birmingham (£50 million).
The UK has a reputation for innovation and is building on this strength with the largest investment in research and development in 40 years. This is part of our balanced approach, getting debt falling while investing to create more opportunities for the high-skilled, well-paid jobs of the future.
The catapult network supports sectors and technologies that are going to be in high demand in the years ahead. It brings together the best of UK business, science and engineering to work side by side in research and development to ‘catapult’ products from ideas to market. It helps remove barriers to growth, which often can include access to finance, inadequate facilities or skills shortages.