McFadden today also launches Manufacturing Insight, a new industry-backed body charged with improving the public perception of the sector and highlighting the range of careers available.
“Britain has a great manufacturing future, not just a great manufacturing past,” says the business minister. “We are the sixth largest manufacturing economy globally. But the face of manufacturing here is changing and we need to embrace and support the numerous opportunities created as a result.”
“That’s why we’re investing in centres like Ansty Park to help businesses and universities collaborate and commercialise new and innovative products and processes.”
The new centre at Ansty Park in the Midlands will form part of a national network of manufacturing centres offering support for business and universities. The £40m investment comes from Advantage West Midlands and East Midlands Development agency.
Up to 20 projects have already been identified to use the new centre at Ansty Park and it is hoped that up to 150 highly skilled jobs will be created. Over the next ten years a total of £130m will be invested in the centre – the largest investment in a manufacturing research facility for many years.
However, Real Business is betting that today’s announcement has been politically timed. Today’s Bank of England report reveals a 40 per cent year-on-year fall in bank lending to the manufacturing sector in the last quarter.
“Today’s appalling lending figures will send a chill through every manufacturing company in the country," says Liberal Democrat shadow business secretary John Thurso. “It’s no wonder that Gordon Brown is presiding over the longest recession on record when perfectly good businesses cannot get the credit they need to invest and grow. Labour’s failure to get the banks to lend is costing people their jobs and businesses are going bust.
“Businesses need real action now and are fed up with Labour’s empty promises and meaningless rhetoric.”
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