The government has committed an extra £100 million worth of funding to a scheme designed to boost UK manufacturing, the Business Secretary Vince Cable has announced.
The extra funding will go to the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI), which aims to help UK supply chains achieve world-class standards and encourage major new suppliers to locate in the UK.
Businesses can apply for AMSCI funding to support:
- research and development
- skills training
- capital investment.
The scheme has already secured £500 million worth of public-private investment in more than 40 projects involving 180 businesses.
Vince Cable said:
“A strong manufacturing sector is vital to a balanced economic recovery, and I want to ensure that Britain’s supply chains are up to the task of supporting the sector in the long term.
“Our industrial strategy, which has given business the confidence to invest, is paying dividends in the reshoring we have seen so far. We will continue to support businesses to secure more highly skilled jobs and a stronger economy.”
Terry Scuoler, chief executive at EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, said:
“This is another welcome boost for British manufacturing, which will have a positive impact on the wider economy. Our own research shows that in the last 3 years, 1 in 6 companies have re-shored production back to the UK with many turning to a UK-based supply chain for parts and components. High value manufacturing creates jobs and wealth here so I’m delighted to see the government getting behind it.”
In other manufacturing news, figures from the Office for National statistics show that manufacturing output in the UK grew by 4.4% in the 12 months to April 2014, although output remains 7% behind its pre-recession peak.
The main contributors to growth were the manufacture of:
- rubber, plastic and other non-metallic mineral products
- transport equipment
- food products, beverages and tobacco.
David Kern, chief economist at the British Chambers of Commerce, said:
“While the manufacturing sector’s contribution to the overall economy remains relatively modest, it is pleasing to see that its annual growth is in excess of 4.0%, somewhat higher than that of the total economy.
“To build on these figures, it is imperative that further steps are taken to broaden the recovery towards investment and exports, where manufacturing can have a positive impact. The government must keep boosting efforts to support UK exporters and improve access to finance for growing firms.”