Government announces new fund to support manufacturers

The government has announced a £151m package to help UK manufacturers embrace emerging technologies and improve advice available to them.

The fund has been designed to support businesses manufacturing products requiring a high level of scientific skill and complicated processes, and to promote the advancement and adoption of environmentally-friendly technologies.

The cash injection will come as very welcome news to British manufacturers, who are feeling the cold force of the downturn as much as any industry. Earlier this month it was revealed that two thirds of businesses in the sector had been forced to freeze pay - the highest proportion since 1987.

£5m of the package will be invested in collaborative R&D projects working on complex items, while £4m will go towards bettering the Manufacturing Advisory Service, created to help businesses of all sizes become more efficient and generate more sales.

Business secretary Peter Mandelson, who announced the ‘Advanced Manufacturing’ fund yesterday, emphasised the importance of the manufacturing sector. “At the heart of Britain’s knowledge economy is our manufacturing base. This practical package will help equip British businesses, of all sizes and sectors, to take advantage of the technologies and new market opportunities now shaping our low carbon industrial future,” he said.

“It’s about giving them the support they need to create jobs in Britain, and export the best of British manufacturing design, technology, skills and innovation around the world.”

Hear, hear.

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