In the short time since its creation, the Department has already done much to progress Government plans for building Britain’s future and developing a stronger and fairer society.
Together these achievements underline the value and sense of bringing higher and further education, skills, enterprise, innovation and business together to build a dynamic and competitive UK economy and foster an environment for world class science and research.
In the first few days following the creation of BIS, the Secretary of State said the Department should be judged on what it delivers. We’ve already begun to demonstrate practically how we are going to do that.
We’ve focused especially on creating the conditions for business success, promoting innovation, enterprise and science and giving everyone the skills and opportunities they need to succeed. Not for nothing are these things at the heart of our new Mission.
Since the start of June 2009 we have scored ten notable achievements:
Published a new Low Carbon Industrial Strategy and named the North East and South West regions as the UK’s first specialist low carbon economic areas. These will combine targeted Government funding with the expertise of local businesses, universities and colleges to help the UK maximise economic opportunities of the low carbon world.
Published the White Paper Digital Britain, setting out how important the digital economy is to the nation’s future. We outlined measures to ensure the country has the world class digital infrastructure and talent it needs to succeed.
Published a new Consumer White Paper to promote responsible lending and to provide the long term framework to enhance and enforce the rights of consumers.
Announced the creation of the UK Innovation and Investment Fund backed by £150 million of Government funding to help invest in growing small businesses, start-ups and spin outs in the digital, life science, clean technology and advanced manufacturing sectors.
Put in place further support for young people in these tougher economic times by increasing funds to help enable an extra 10,000 students start a science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) degree this summer. We also identified 5,000 possible internship opportunities for graduates to secure vital work experience skills.
Worked closely with the Department of Health and with industry to establish a new blueprint on life sciences, putting innovation at the heart of health care delivery and transforming the environment for UK based life science companies.
On space, launched a consultation on the creation of a new British Space Agency, set up a dedicated innovation growth team and opened the first European Space Agency funded centre in the UK to further drive forward the UK’s success in this increasingly important hi-tech sector.
Have now supported well over 150,000 customers to replace their older cars to help boost the car industry through our successful scrappage scheme.
Launched a £150 million package of targeted investment with major new measures to help firms in advanced manufacturing create competitive advantage for future growth. This will boost the UK’s skills base, encourage take up of new technologies and tackle the challenges faced by specific sectors like aerospace and civil nuclear new build.
The Capital for Enterprise Fund, part of the Government’s Real Help for Business programme, has now completed its first two investments, worth £3 million, out of total offers so far of over £35 million to 24 businesses. This £75 million fund aims to provide the finance small businesses need to release and sustain their growth potential.
This is just the beginning, but we’ve hit the ground running.
In the coming months we’ll take this work further forward, including with new strategies on higher education and skills. All are focused on building Britain’s future and developing a stronger and fairer society.