The Government will drive £2.5bn of investment into key industries such as aerospace, cars and agricultural technology over the next seven years in an attempt to put Britain at the forefront of global manufacturing.
The aerospace sector will be the biggest recipient, with the Coalition pledging to invest £2bn to create a UK Aerospace Technology Institute that will develop quieter, more energy- efficient aircraft. The Government will pump £1bn into the centre, while eight aerospace companies including Rolls-Royce, GKN, Bombardier and Airbus have pledged the other half.
Nick Clegg unveiled the investment on a visit to Airbus's plant in Filton, Bristol, yesterday. "We're doing all we can to maintain this jewel in our crown," the Deputy Prime Minister said. Paul Everitt, head of the aerospace, defence and security association ADS, hailed the news as "the biggest thing the UK aerospace industry has seen for at least a generation".
By 2030, there will be global demand for an estimated 27,000 new passenger aircraft worth $3.7 trillion (£2.5trn) and 40,000 helicopters worth $165bn. Britain has the second-biggest aerospace industry after the US and a 17 per cent share of the global market. However, countries such as France, Germany, India and Brazil are snapping at its heels and the UK needs to ensure it stays ahead, Mr Everitt said. The £2bn of extra money could help to protect jobs in the UK aerospace industry, which employs 230,000, and could create thousands more.
Ministers also announced an extra £500m of funding for other key industrial sectors, such as agricultural technology and car-making.
Meanwhile, Airbus said yesterday it had won a record order for 234 aircraft worth €18.4bn (£15.7bn) from Lion Air of Indonesia. The order trumps last year's record order for 230 Boeing jets – also from Lion Air. The Airbus A320 aicraft will be made in France and will secure 5,000 jobs there.