A £343m investment in UK aerospace will be used to boost supply chains and SMEs.
The investment, announced by the government at the Farnborough Airshow, aims to put the UK at the forefront of electric and hybrid planes.
Some £255m has been allocated to research and development, £68m has been earmarked for SMEs and £20m will be used to increase productivity.
Business and energy secretary Greg Clark also announced the start of formal negotiations for an Industrial Strategy sector deal to seek further investment to raise productivity levels in the supply chain.
Clark said: “The UK has a rich heritage in civil aviation as the home of the jet engine and the wings factory of the world. Technology is driving revolutionary changes in aviation that have not been seen since the 1970s and today’s investment is foundational to the future of commercial aviation and ensuring the UK remains at the cutting-edge of the sector. This revolution in civil aerospace will bring significant benefits to UK industry, passengers and the environment.
“Through our modern Industrial Strategy, we are working with industry to lead the world as we embark on this journey into the new age of air travel.”
Prime minister Theresa May, speaking at the airshow following the departure of education secretary Justine Greening from the cabinet, the latest resignation over the UK’s Brexit strategy, said that “frictionless free trade of goods, an independent trade policy, the avoidance of a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland and between Northern Ireland and Great Britain – these are conditions we seek”.
She said: “We know from our discussions with you, and other industries, how friction at the border would not just jeopardise the uniquely integrated supply chains and just-in-time processes on which millions of jobs and livelihoods depend – but how divergence in regulations could result in complex and expensive multiple tests for different markets.”
May added: “So at the heart of our proposal is the creation of UK-EU free trade area for goods, supported by an up-front commitment to ongoing harmonisation with EU rules on goods and agricultural products.
“A new business friendly customs model – a facilitated customs arrangement – which would operate as if we were a combined customs territory, removing the need for customs checks and controls between the UK and the EU, while at the same time allowing us to set our own tariffs for other countries outside of the EU.”
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