Chancellor reveals £780m boost for UK tech
Chancellor Philip Hammond has unveiled an additional £780 million funding boost for the UK’s technology sector.
The government investment will go towards expanding its so-called ‘catapult centres’ of innovation, which support sectors and technologies of the future.
This builds on £180 million announced by the Prime Minister for centres in the North East last month, taking the total of additional funding to almost £1 billion.
"We are working hard to build a stronger, fairer economy – dealing with the deficit, helping people into work, and cutting taxes for individuals and businesses," Hammond said.
"Unemployment is at its lowest since the 1970s, our national debt is starting to fall, and the economy has grown every year since 2010.
"It is by backing innovative British companies to grow and create jobs that we will continue this progress and build an economy fit for the future.
"Today's £780 million investment will support innovators across the country to create the technologies of the future, and the better, highly-paid jobs we urgently need."
The Chancellor made the announcement during a visit to the West Midlands on the day GDP figures showed the UK economy has grown by 0.4 per cent.
Hammond met with apprentices and workers, who specialise in automation and machining, at the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry.
Dr Ian Campbell, interim executive chair of innovate UK, said: "Today's significant announcement means our world-class network of catapults can build on their success and continue helping thousands of businesses across the UK to undertake innovative R&D."
He added: "In their first five years the catapults have supported around 3,000 small businesses to develop and exploit new technologies.
"They operate more than £850m world-class facilities and are also training hundreds of apprentices and doctoral students, such as at the High Value Manufacturing Catapult where in the last year 900 apprentices have gained invaluable practical experience with cutting-edge technologies used in modern manufacturing."