Last updated 20 Jan 2010
Here are BIS’s 10 major achievements from over the past 10 weeks, all focussed on the Government’s number one priority – sustainable economic growth. They include significant new investment in supporting businesses and strategic sectors, and major strategies in skills and higher education.
1. Response to Milburn Report will break glass ceiling of social mobility
BIS responded to a review of how Government can make sure talented people succeed in the professions with an ambitious agenda. Plans include creating a new free online internships service to help undergraduates and graduates find opportunities, with bursaries for those from low income backgrounds; and giving the brightest young people from low income backgrounds structured assistance at secondary school, such as mentoring.
2. Government sets out strategy to get Britain Going for Growth
The Prime Minister and Peter Mandelson launched a strategy that makes sustainable economic growth the Government’s number one priority this year. Going for Growth: Our Future Prosperity outlines how government will drive growth in core capabilities such as enterprise and knowledge.
Announced alongside the strategy were three high-tech manufacturing research centres funded with £70 million of new Government investment to help UK businesses develop exciting new technology products. Major announcements on broadband and wind farms were also made to help support growth.
3. Targeted support for business announced in PBR
Announcements made in the Pre Budget Report gave BIS a key role in Government plans to support recovery and drive longer term economic growth. These include continuing the Enterprise Finance Guarantee for another year to help facilitate up to £500 million of bank loans to viable businesses. The Strategic Investment Fund has been expanded to £950 million to offer support for investments across the UK economy and strengthen innovation, job creation and growth, particularly in low carbon projects.
4. Creating the materials of the future
We launched the Plastic Electronics Strategy to ensure the UK remains a world-leader in the high-growth plastic electronics sector. £8 million is being invested by the Technology Strategy Board in initiatives to help the industry work collaboratively to develop new manufacturing processes and innovative products.
New investment totaling £22 million to further advance the development of ‘composite’ materials was announced. This will help strengthen an industry that is a growth opportunity for Britain, producing materials that will be used in low carbon projects such as offshore wind farms.
5. Promoting growth of new industries in the regions
We set out a new role for Regional Development Agencies in backing growing industries and supporting Britain’s future economic success with the publication of Partnerships for Growth – A National Framework for Regional and Local Economic Development. The framework sets out plans to coordinate the work of RDAs and local authorities to promote the industries that will drive growth and pursue national priorities for skills, innovation, investment and enterprise.
6. Civil nuclear industry receives boost
We pledged to boost the UK’s civil nuclear industry with a package of announcements to help British businesses seize the opportunities of the low carbon economy. These include a new nuclear advanced manufacturing research centre, funding to upgrade laboratories and a new civil nuclear factory for Yorkshire and the North West.
7. £30million more for car charging points
The Office for Low Emission Vehicles delivered the Plugged-In Places initiative which could £30 million of Government funding creating thousands more charging points for electric and plug-in hybrid cars. The funding will support the development of between three and six electric car cities and regions across the UK which will act as trailblazers for electric car technology.
8. National skills strategy launched
The national skills strategy Skills for Growth was launched to take an active approach to creating the skills we will need for the high tech, low carbon, higher value added sectors that will drive future growth. Commitments include creating 35,000 new advanced apprenticeships and a modern class of technicians; giving every adult a personal skills account; and simplifying the skills system by reducing the number of public bodies by more than 30.
The Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act also received Royal Assent. The act strengthens apprenticeships and paves the way for a new Skills Funding Agency.
9. Ten-year framework for higher education set out
We launched the Higher Ambitions plan to improve access to and drive up excellence in higher education. The plan sets up a greater role for universities in driving economic recovery such as through greater commercialisation of research. A review of higher education funding was also announced.
10. Government helps SMEs look towards growth
The Prime Minister announced the Government’s intention to develop a proposal for a new growth fund to provide finance for companies looking to invest and grow. This followed an independent review into the availability of investment capital which found a gap exists for businesses looking for between £2m – £10m in growth capital.