Nigel Evans, MP for the Ribble Valley, has praised the Government’s decision to invest £246 million to develop battery technology, a move which aims to drive the UK towards its modern industrial strategy.
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Greg Clark, introduced the funding on Monday, along with several other funding measures aimed at increasing productivity and growth -including a £45m competition to create more accessible and affordable batteries. It is expected that the £246m will have particular benefits in the automotive and renewable energy sectors over the four year funding period.
Mr Clark, who visited Lancashire in May this year, said of the modern industrial strategy: “For all our citizens to be able to look forward with confidence to a prosperous future, we need to plan to improve our ability to earn that prosperity. To enjoy a high and rising standard of living we must plan to be more productive than in the past.”
The industrial strategy was launched by the Prime Minister in January with the aim of helping Britain’s economy after Brexit, it received nearly 2,000 responses over a three-month period of consultation. Mr Clark’s announcement today will ensure the UK builds on its strengths and leads the world in the design, development and manufacture of electric batteries.
Speaking from Birmingham, Mr Clarke outlined cutting-edge energy plans to break down barriers to new technologies and business models: “Economists have pointed to what they have called a productivity puzzle in Britain. That we appear to generate less value for our efforts than, say, people in Germany or France. In other words, we have to work longer to get the same rewards.
“It’s not that we want – or need – people to work longer hours. It’s that we need to ensure that we find and seize opportunities to work more productively – as a country, as cities and regions, as businesses and as individuals. If we can do so, we can increase the earning power of our country and our people.”
Nigel Evans, who has been a vocal supporter of the modern industrial strategy, hopes this extra funding will directly benefit the Ribble Valley: “I am thrilled with the massive investment announced by Greg Clark today, the funding stream will bring together different sectors, and will require a joint effort between entrepreneurs, scientists and researchers, industries, and local and national government - I will be supporting calls for a portion of this investment to be used across businesses and industries in the Ribble Valley.”
Continuing, Mr Evans outlined the importance of making the UK a world leader in the field of battery technology: “The role of batteries in a low-carbon economy is absolutely imperative, whether it be in the use of automobiles, household electronics or on an industrial scale, it is essential that we expand our capabilities in battery technology. This investment is in addition to the £1 billion announced in April to fund cutting-edge technologies to create jobs and raise living standards, including in healthcare and medicine. This Government is making a massive effort to improve the UK’s self-sufficiency in this area.”
Greg Clark has also confirmed £25m to be allocated to research and development of connected autonomous vehicles, this time on schemes for off-road, driverless vehicles destined for construction, farming and mining.