A groundbreaking project bringing together the University of Birmingham and Jaguar Land Rover is to receive a share of £200 million in an attempt to boost local economies.
Prime Minister David Cameron has announced, in a speech to the CBI, plans to “transform our fortunes” by helping businesses flourish, in a speech to the CBI.
His plan to promote economic growth followed Chancellor George Osborne’s Spending Review last week - which cut spending by £81 billion in a move which could cost 490,000 public sector jobs.
The Government admits that posts will be lost but argues that new jobs will be created in the private sector.
Launching the Government’s new National Infrastructure Plan at the CBI’s annual conference, Mr Cameron revealed £200 million would be provided for Technology and Innovation Centres over the next four years, to help universities and businesses work together.
They include the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Ansty, Warwickshire, which involves leading firms such as Jaguar Land Rover, Rolls-Royce, Airbus and Aero Engine Controls working closely with Birmingham, Loughborough and Nottingham universities.
Construction of the £130 million building began in April and it is due to be completed next year.
The aim of the funding announced by Mr Cameron will be to help each centre specialise in an area of expertise, such as high technology manufacturing.
Labour had previously committed itself to providing funding of £200 million for the centres, but over ten years rather than four.
Mr Cameron said: “The fact is that we are not as good as some of our competitors in turning great ideas on the drawing board into prototypes in a laboratory and actual goods and services people can buy.
“That’s why I can announce today that we will invest over £200 million in Technology and Innovation Centres over the next four years.
“These centres will sit between universities and businesses, bringing the two together.
“They won’t just carry out their own in-house research, they will spread knowledge too connecting businesses – large and small, new and old – to potential new technologies, making them aware of funding streams and providing access to skills and equipment.”
Other measures highlighted in the strategy include the planned £1.4 billion region growth fund, which is designed to help employers in the Midlands and the North.
In his own speech to the CBI, Labour leader Ed Miliband accused the Government of failing to do enough to support manufacturing - although he also admitted Labour had been guilty of the same mistake.
He said: “Under governments of both parties, we let other countries steal a march on us and I fear the same may happen again: from creative industries to green manufacturing to bio-sciences.
“Despite all the talent in engineering and work in our universities, I fear Britain still suffers from an anti-manufacturing bias.
“The way to support British businesses who want to lead in the industries of the future isn’t for government to do nothing.”