Osborne has been eager to push his Northern Powerhouse campaign, which is an attempt to nurture the businesses created in the upper half of the UK. However, a study in November found that two-thirds of Brits have confessed they’re unaware of the chancellor’s crusade.
That came after Osborne was criticised for overlooking the Midlands and the potential to “take the heat out of the South East quickly, much faster than northern counterparts”, though he revealed an agenda to back the region in the Autumn Statement on 25 November.
As such, Osborne’s trip to Jaguar Land Rover’s engine manufacturing facility in Wolverhampton resulted in a £16.6m grant via the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) research body.
The APC itself is a £1bn partnership between the government and automotive industry that brings innovators together across a ten-year period in order to develop low carbon creations.
It’s with a view to develop a transmission system that will provide more efficiency in future cars and takes total project funding to £33m to complement existing private investments.
“I’m determined to build on the success of Britain’s Engine for Growth in the Midlands, and today’s announcement is a crucial step in our plan,” said Osborne.
“In the Spending Review I set out how we’re making significant investments in the Midlands, across transport, energy and culture. This grant is a further example of how this Government is backing businesses in the Midlands to grow and create jobs and support working people at every stage of their lives.”
Read more on the automotive industry:
- London City Airport integrates sharing economy with DriveNow partnership
- George Osborne backs Nissan’s £100m investment to build new Nissan Juke in Sunderland
- The “Simply Clever” approach Skoda has to hijack customers from Ford and Vauxhall
The funding is set to create some 60 jobs in R&D, which could lead to an extra 130 manufacturing and engineering openings while also securing 150 existing roles.
Wolfgang Epple, director of research and technology, Jaguar Land Rover, believes that the funding and those involved in the APC makes for a great chance of creating skills and tech to make the UK an increasingly competitive market.
“Collaborative research like this is hugely beneficial for all partners including academia, the supply chain and the automotive industry,” said Epple.
“The collaborative research programmes we lead bring together some of the best engineering minds in the UK and allow us to multiply the effect of our investment and nurture UK-based technology investment.”
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