UK announces 150 mln pound support for manufacturing

Tue Jul 28, 2009 6:25pm BST

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* Package includes funding for Rolls-Royce expansion

* Government aims to support advanced manufacturing

LONDON, July 28 (Reuters) - The British government announced a 150 million pound ($248 million) package on Tuesday to foster high-technology manufacturing.

The package includes government funding of 45 million pounds to help engine maker Rolls-Royce (RR.L) build or extend four factories in Britain, creating or securing 800 jobs. Rolls-Royce announced a total 300 million-pound investment earlier on Tuesday.

The government said it was providing a further 45 million pounds from its Strategic Investment Fund to support research and technology for developing low-carbon aircraft engine technology. The project will be led by Rolls-Royce.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown's government announced in April it would adopt a more activist industrial policy to drive recovery from recession, marking a shift from its philosophy of leaving everything to market forces.

The new policy aims to target government help on growth industries as it seeks new sources of expansion after the credit crunch dealt a crushing blow to financial services on which much of Britain's previous prosperity had been based.

The government will also invest at least 40 million pounds in the SAMULET Research and Technology programme, a collaborative aerospace project focusing on productivity and environmental improvements.

It also announced a 12 million pound expansion of the Printable Electronics Centre in Sedgefield, northeast England, which focuses on display technology, creating up to 1,500 jobs by 2014.

The government said the state-funded Technology Strategy Board will invest a further 5 million pounds in collaborative R&D projects as part of its high-value manufacturing competition, in addition to 24 million pounds invested earlier this year.

It also announced a 4 million-pound expansion of the Manufacturing Advisory Service to help a wider range of businesses improve efficiency and increase orders.

"This practical package of measures will help equip British manufacturers, of all sizes and sectors, to take advantage of the advanced technologies and new market opportunities now shaping our low-carbon industrial future," Business Secretary Peter Mandelson said in a statement. ($1=.6045 pounds) (Reporting by Adrian Croft; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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