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UK Politics

£70m funding boost for manufacturing research

The Government announced a £70m funding boost for manufacturing research today as part of plans for economic growth.

Ministers said Britain needed a strategic approach to building the foundations of low carbon industrial competitiveness to boost public finances through sustainable growth.

At a conference in London later today the Prime Minister will say: "We must now match the bold and decisive action we have taken on the recession with a similarly radical approach to deliver renewed growth and opportunity.

"Growth is not only key to prosperity and jobs, but also to rebuilding the revenues for safeguarding the public services on which we all rely. The growth strategy shows how we will support and unleash the entrepreneurial, innovative and dynamic talents we know we have in Britain."

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said the Government's plan was about a "renewed politics of production", including the dynamism of personal enterprise, the drive of a skilled and confident workforce and access to finance on the right terms for long term growth.

"These simple, powerful capabilities are the building blocks of our future growth. They stress the importance of recognising that industrial competitiveness is not something that emerges out of the free market ether," he said.

Lord Mandelson added that the jobs of the future will not be the same as those in the past, pledging: "We will turn new technologies into jobs, like those in digital and biotechnologies. We will commercialise the output of our hugely successful science and research base.

"We will turn low carbon into business and employment opportunities. None of this is going to happen with government simply standing on the sidelines. Other governments are actively investing in their industrial strength. We have to do the same.

"The global financial crisis has given us the opportunity to reflect on our approach to industrial policy and the Government's role in shaping markets."

The new funding will help university-based centres at Southampton, Loughborough and Brunel.

The Technology Strategy Board also announced £38.5 million of funding in nearly 260 new research and development projects, focussed on carbon abatement technologies, low carbon vehicles and high value manufacturing.

The Government has also announced that rural communities and hard to reach areas who do not have access to next generation broadband will benefit from a share of £1 billion of investment to upgrade the UK's digital infrastructure to bring super-fast broadband to 90% of the country.