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Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 27th June 2012.

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Photo of Simon Kirby Simon Kirby Conservative, Brighton, Kemptown

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what plans his Department has to promote the growth of the aviation industry.

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

The Aerospace Business Leaders group, chaired by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable, and the Aerospace Growth Partnership group (which I chair) bring Government and business together to take action to stimulate growth in aerospace, boost exports and grow the number of highly skilled jobs available in the UK. This work involves some 80 senior business people from the aerospace sector, supported by eight full-time business secondees, and BIS officials addressing what needs to be done to maintain UK's competitiveness and achieve growth in areas such as research and technology, manufacturing capability, supply chain effectiveness, external engagement and skills.

As part of this work we announced, in the March Budget statement, £60 million of new funding to create a UK virtual centre for aerodynamics. It will pull together existing research and modelling capabilities into a coherent centre, with a small programme team, that will encourage increased investment to fund a programme of work to ensure the UK is a competitive leader in this field.

More widely, the Government are supporting business investment in both the product and manufacturing technologies that the Aerospace Growth Partnership has identified as important to best position the UK for future growth. For example, on 21 June, we announced £25 million Government investment in a series of collaborative Research and Technology projects. Led by Rolls-Royce under the heading 'Strategic Affordable Manufacturing in the UK through Leading Environmental Technologies 2' (SAMULET2), the programme will investigate new manufacturing processes aimed at increasing productivity and making the best use of resources. In addition, last autumn, we agreed to invest £32 million in AgustaWestland Yeovil to help introduce the civil AW169 aircraft. We will also be investing over £500 million to support the development of the Airbus A350 XWB and the Bombardier CSeries aircraft.

Aerospace companies are expected to benefit from other more general support provided by the Department such as the £125 million Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative and £2.4 billion Regional Growth Fund.

We are working closely with business to promote the attractiveness of the aerospace sector as a career choice to ensure that we have the future skills needed to deliver growth. As part of this work, the aerospace sector is actively participating in the See Inside Manufacturing programme, with a range of activities where aerospace manufacturers are opening their doors to schools and young people. The sector is also active in the Make it in Great Britain (MiiGB) campaign.

A large number of Ministers will be attending the Farnborough International Air Show in support of UK business and BIS is supporting Futures Day at the show on 13 July at which some 10,000 young people will participate in a wide range of events.

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