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Manufacturing Industries: Greater London

Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 9th February 2012.

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Photo of David Evennett David Evennett Conservative, Bexleyheath and Crayford

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he is taking to support manufacturing firms in South East London.

Photo of Mark Prisk Mark Prisk The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

The Regional Growth Fund (RGFs) (£2.4 billion) is a national fund which although focused on areas which are heavily dependent on the public sector can support particularly strong proposals from London. Two RGF programmes run by HSBC and RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland) for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) may be attractive to SMEs, including in manufacturing, as the funding is tied to the purchase of capital assets eg machinery.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) officials meet regularly with manufacturing interests including the new Thames Gateway Manufacturing Alliance (which covers south east London and met recently at the Coca Cola plant in Sidcup) and Made in London, EEF (The Engineering Employers Federation the manufacturers—organisation, and SEMTA (Sector) Skills Council for Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies), with a view to encouraging networking and working together across the sector to improve the image of manufacturing, to offer more apprenticeships and to access appropriate funding eg to tackle skills shortage issues.

We are also encouraging the participation of local manufacturing firms in the new Make it in Britain campaign and hope they will be able to feature strongly in the showcasing of British manufacturing over the summer.

SME manufacturing businesses in South East London can take advantage of our new streamlined Solutions for Business portfolio: eligible companies can gain support in areas such as training and skill development, resource efficiency, exploiting ideas, accessing international opportunities and growing your business. For example, we have just launched the Business Coaching for Growth programme, which aims to help up to 10,000 high growth businesses a year to address barriers to growth and grow more rapidly.

Support is also available from the new Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS), which was announced on 3 January and offers manufacturing SMEs practical support on all aspects of manufacturing, including direct access to manufacturing experts with a proven track record.

Finally, manufacturing companies in South East London will be eligible to apply for the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative, announced in December 2011, which will support investment in training to improve skills as well as expenditure on research and development and capital equipment.

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