In order to maximise the impact of technologies including advanced materials, electronics, photonics, electrical systems, biosciences, nanotechnology, high value manufacturing and ICT, there should be broader parameters in government procurement, and changes to the tax system to incentivise investment in technology.
Specifically, the paper recommends structuring tenders in such a way that small business would be eligible to compete, and allowing tax deductions to cover the costs of investment in technology, research, capital, and training. In addition, says the paper, greater emphasis must be given to design, customisation and intangible services.
Paul Jackson, Chief Executive of the Engineering and Technology Board (ETB), said, “The UK Exchequer currently spends £175 billion or approximately £1 in every £4 on procurement. Just think how much could be achieved if this funding was invested strategically in growth technologies such as photonics and advanced materials.”
The ETB published its paper as the UK government announced a series of measures to support advanced manufacturing that included investments totalling £151.5 million in key sectors and markets.
The investments in plastic electronics, the nuclear supply chain, aerospace, and silicon design include:
£40 million investment in SAMULET (Strategic Affordable Manufacturing in the UK with Leading Environmental Technology), a collaborative programme between industry and academia led by Rolls-Royce working in a consortium alongside other high profile manufacturers, SMEs and several of the UK’s top universities.
£12 million expansion of the Printable Electronics Centre in North East England which focuses on display technology.
£5 million investment by the Technology Strategy Board in collaborative R&D projects as part of its High Value Manufacturing competition, in addition to £24 million invested earlier this year.
£4 million expansion of the Manufacturing Advisory Service to help a wider range of businesses improve efficiency and increase orders.
Investment of £500,000 to support the development of a Centre of Excellence for Silicon Design in South West England.
Advanced Manufacturing – Building Britain’s Future can be found here.
Another measure to support manufacturers is the Low Carbon Industrial Strategy, launched in July.