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SMMT hails UK Catapult funding committment

By Simon Warburton | 26 November 2015

UK automotive supplier association, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), is welcoming yesterday's (25 November) British government Spending Review, which is pledging to increase funding for Britain's technology Catapult Centres.

Catapults are not-for-profit, independent physical centres which connect businesses with the UK's research and academic communities and have proved particularly influential in bringing automotive supplier ideas to life.

"We commit to the same level of support for our aerospace and automotive industries," said UK Chancellor, George Osborne. " Not just for the next five years but for the next decade. Spending on our new catapult centres will increase."

The UK – in common with most developed Western economies – has faced an almost unprecedented squeeze on public finances following the global economic downturn from 2008 onwards – but a slowly improving domestic financial outlook coupled with a robustly growing British auto industry – is giving cause for cautious optimism.

"Government engagement with industry has been fundamental to the recent success and global competitiveness of UK automotive, so [the] commitment by the Chancellor [Finance Minister] to a long-term industrial strategy for the sector is encouraging," said an SMMT statement.

"More specifically, we were pleased to see the Chancellor heed SMMT's call for increased investment in Catapult Centres and the extension of funding for the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) – both of which are vital to securing the UK's position as a global centre of excellence for innovation.

"Meanwhile, the renewed support for ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs) will help maintain the UK's position as Europe's fastest growing market for these new technologies."

The UK Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, added it would aim to deliver 3m apprenticeships by 2020, compared to 2.4m in the last Parliament and put employers "in control of funding" through a new levy.