Despite the naysayers, navigating the economic shock of the pandemic and the market turbulence caused by Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, British manufacturing is showing impressive resilience and levelling up communities across the country with higher-paid and skilled jobs.
We overtook France to become the eighth-biggest manufacturing nation in the world in the most recent data. Our industries now contribute a whopping £205 billion to the economy and are boosting employment in every region of the country, including over 300,000 jobs both in the North West and Yorkshire and The Humber.
From Belfast to Birmingham and Glasgow to Grantham, our strong manufacturing industries are breathing life into areas of the UK that are most in need of investment and jobs. It’s why today, we have announced £4.5 billion in funding for the sector to strengthen its world-leading credentials and in turn, boost prosperity for all across our four nations.
With the transition to zero emission vehicles and greener air travel, our automotive and aerospace industries are having to evolve their production rapidly. As the need for home-produced, low-carbon energy becomes ever-more apparent to households and businesses, newer energy sources like offshore wind, hydrogen and nuclear power are becoming more attractive. And in the wake of the pandemic, the global prowess of our science and pharmaceuticals industry has made British research and development even more valued on the world stage.
As the automotive, aerospace, clean energy and life sciences sectors find themselves on the cusp of these critical moments of change, we are targeting the funding at these industries so they can seize the opportunity of global change and harness the world-class manufacturing talent Britain holds.
The Chancellor has already made clear, the UK does not want or need to enter a subsidy race with other countries to enable our manufacturing industries to thrive or to continue to lead the way in the net zero transition. We are specifically targeting support at the sectors where we are already strong or can be in the future. We’re providing long-term certainty for British manufacturing sectors so they in turn can create the high-skilled, higher-paid jobs we need to level up more parts of the UK.
And we are already seeing industries taking advantage of these existing strengths and transformations by injecting new money and new jobs into our towns and cities.
In Teesside, through an investment of over £500 million, a huge monopile manufacturing operation will employ hundreds of people from Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesborough, and the surrounding areas. Just last month, we have seen a £600 million investment from BMW who are expanding their electric car operation in Oxford, with up to a thousand iconic Minis rolling off the production lines every day. Tata has announced the biggest ever investment in British car production with £4 billion to build a battery plant, choosing the UK over the EU and creating thousands of jobs. The list goes on.
It’s vital this kind of investment continues so UK manufacturing remains internationally competitive, and our economy can grow.
And while we are targeting investment at these specific sectors, we are also supporting others as part of our wider manufacturing support package.
We are keeping energy costs down for steel, metals, chemicals and paper producers while also supporting the development and deployment of technologies to support businesses to transition to a low-carbon future. And we have the most generous capital allowances in the OECD, boosting business and attracting further investment.
Manufacturing is vital for boosting our economic growth and levelling up our towns and cities. That’s what the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement next week is all about. We’ve been working hard to tame inflation and with the good news this week, now’s the right moment to be more optimistic about the future, and how much better it can be when we make decisions – like this one – for the long-term.