Lord Mandelson addressed the annual trade and industry dinner hosted by the Lord Mayor of the City of London at Mansion House on 1 March, highlighting government’s role in securing the UK’s economic growth.
Describing the key factors to supporting the UK economy, the business secretary said, “Government needs to lend its energy to the stimulation of new innovation and enterprise from our world class research base and universities. We need to ensure that in a period of reduced funding our universities give increased priority to STEM subjects, and to commercialisation of research, and that our skills system provides advanced apprenticeships and technician training to serve the new industries of the future.
“We need to mobilise private and public investment behind Britain’s infrastructure needs and to boost our national supply chain – in digital, in energy, in transport and in low carbon transition.
“We have the biggest demonstrator programme of its kind in the world for ultra- low carbon vehicles in Britain – publicly funded. We have announced both support for charging infrastructure and for consumer subsidies for the first generation of mass market vehicles next year. The result: Toyota and Nissan have both announced their intention to base new low carbon operations here.
“Britain is the world’s sixth largest manufacturer and our manufacturing output has remained stable in both value and volume over the last decade, despite the fiercest imaginable competition. It remains absolutely central to our export strength.
“But if we want to maintain those strengths we have to pioneer advanced technologies and keep investing in the science, research and skills that underwrite them.”
Government last week announced a £230 million ultra-low carbon car incentive programme. From January 2011, motorists will be entitled to a ‘Plug-In Car Grant’ of up to £5,000* when buying an electric, plug-in hybrid or hydrogen fuel cell car that meets safety, reliability, performance and warranty standards set by the Office for Low Emissions Vehicles (OLEV) in consultation with industry.
* Motorists will be entitled to a 25% discount from the list price of the eligible car, up to the value of £5,000. Offer of the ‘Plug-In Car Grant’ will be subject to notification of technical requirements to, and state aid approval from, the European Commission.