UK business secretary launches advanced manufacturing fund

An initiative worth up to £125m is being set up to improve the global competitiveness of UK advanced manufacturing supply chains.

Announced by business secretary Vince Cable, the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative aims to help existing UK supply chains grow and achieve world-class standards while encouraging major new suppliers to come and manufacture here.

According to a statement, the fund will support projects in established UK advanced manufacturing sectors, such as aerospace, automotive and chemicals.

It will also target newer growth areas where the UK is well placed to make an impact, such as renewables and other low-carbon sectors.

The competitive fund will invite applications early in the new year and be flexible in the type of support offered to successful proposals, recognising that, to fulfil their potential and address market failures, suppliers and supply chains may require a combination of investment in capital equipment, associated research and development, and improved skills and training support. Applications will be assessed by the Technology Strategy Board.

Terry Scuoler, chief executive of EEF, said: ‘UK suppliers in manufacturing compare with the best in the world, but there are simply too few of them.

‘Addressing this shortcoming is vital, as many companies are responding to the shocks of recent years by looking afresh at how they manage their supply chains. Now is the right time to provide a serious boost to our domestic capability.’

The programme is expected to complement and work alongside other publicly funded schemes, such as the Regional Growth Fund, Growth and Innovation Fund, Manufacturing Advisory Service and UK Trade and Investment.