Hewitt announces new £20m to spread manufacturing success

Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt today announced a £20 million cash boost to manufacturing as part of drive to spread excellence throughout the sector.

Ms Hewitt made the announcement whilst addressing representatives of employers, employees and Regional Development Agencies (RDA’s), and fellow ministers at the Manufacturing Summit in Birmingham.

The money will be used over the next two years to take forward the conclusions of the joint CBI/TUC work on productivity. It will also go towards an expansion of the Partnership Fund, providing grants to help employers and employees work together.

In addition, the umbrella national best practice campaign ‘Fit for the Future’ will be expanded. Both the TUC and CBI will sit on the steering group and develop the campaign’s strategy with other key partner organisations.

This additional £20m over the next two years reportedly builds on the £20m already committed to the promotion of best practice and the £5m already committed to the Partnership Fund, bringing the total amount that is currently being spent in this area to £45 million.

The Trade and Industry Secretary also announced the establishment of four more Regional Centres of Manufacturing Excellence in the East Midlands, South West, Yorkshire and Humberside, and the North East.

These new centres join those recently announced in the South East and North West and will provide hands-on advice, support and practical aid to local manufacturers.6

‘While there is much to celebrate about British manufacturing, we still lag our main competitors in skills, in production techniques, in investment and management expertise,’ said Ms Hewitt. ‘No one pretends that these challenges can be met with just one meeting. This is why the Summit must be part of an ongoing commitment to work together.’

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