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£2 Billion UK Initiative Announced

18 Mar 13. Howard Wheeldon reported that the £2bn shared government/industry boost that was announced in Filton, Bristol, by the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg provides Britain with a really great and lasting opportunity to ensure that our brilliant aerospace industry can and will maintain the lead position that it has long enjoyed for so long in Europe. Congratulations to all those concerned in making the Aerospace Growth Partnership such a success.

Announcing the decision by the Government to award £1bn of long-term funding commitment into a partnership with the aerospace industry and which itself will contribute a similar £1bn amount I am left in no doubt that this particular partnership between industry and with government will place Britain in a very strong position to not only maintain but strengthen the existing lead position that it has as the centre of excellence for European aerospace technology.

The Deputy Prime Minister talked of the UK aerospace industry being the jewel in the crown and so this industry certainly is. Meanwhile the creation of the UK Aerospace Technology Institute will I believe go a very long way toward ensuring that Britain stays ahead the game in an industry that thrives on the back of research and technology development.

Supporting 3,000 individual companies that employ no less than 230,000 people in various parts of the United Kingdom there can be no doubting the importance of the aerospace industry to jobs and overall health of the national economy. Without such commitment from world class companies such as Airbus, Rolls-Royce, GKN and others the UK economy would be a very sorry place. The Coalition Government is to be commended for its continued support to Britain’s premier industry. And if you find that point worthy of debate it is worth remembering that back in September 2012 Airbus forecast that it believed the 20-year global demand for new aircraft would be 28,000 and that these would have a value of around $4 trillion. At the same time the European aircraft manufacturer said that it believed the fleet of civil aircraft across the world would rise from a current 15,500 aircraft to no less than 32,550 and that airlines from the Asia-Pacific region would likely account for 35% of all new aircraft deliveries over that time.

At the end of 2012 Airbus order backlog stood at 4,437 aircraft that if valued at list prices amounted to $638bn. And as if to provide further evidence that its forecasts are not misplaced the company announced that it had received orders today for no less than 234 of its single-aisle A320/A321 aircraft from Indonesian carrier Lion Air Group. Rolls-Royce and GKN have also been doing well and have continued investing large sums here in the UK.

Following up on the announcement made in Filton, Bristol today the role of the UK Aerospace Technology Institute will be to further strengthen and push UK aerospace technology development potential even further. This is a great move by government and industry combined and unusually if I may, please allow me to single out praise to Marcus Bryson of GKN Aerospace, Graham Chisnall of ADS plus senior individuals at UKTI who have together worked so hard to make the ‘Aerospace Growth Partnership’ really work.

But even with the good news announced today there is no time for the UK aerospace industry to rest on its laurels. Clearly we have come a very long way over the past twenty years but no-one is under any illusion that to stay ahead will require constant rounds of effort renewal together with ever increasing amounts of investment in research and technology. We should continue to worry about maintaining the skills base despite all the excellent work that companies such as Airbus and Rolls-Royce do in terms of apprenticeship and graduate entry schemes. We need a lot more engineers in the UK and in my view we particularly need to encourage female engineering graduates and to

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