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Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP Speech for Press Launch of the Review of UK Motorsport Valley Cluster 2013

20 Jan 2014

Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen. It is a great pleasure for me to be here today at Autosport International to mark the launch of the results of the MIA’s 2013 Motorsport industry survey.

I am delighted that Government was able to support this important initiative - this is very much part of the stronger relationship that we have developed with the MIA and the sector over the past year. This type of support is key to the Government’s Industrial Strategy partnership approach, which ultimately resulted in the publication of the Automotive Strategy.

An important element of our growing relationship with the sector has been the involvement of the MIA, its members and others from the UK motorsport scene – in the work of our Automotive Council. I am grateful to those who are already working with the Council’s Technology Group, which emphasises how a collaborative approach between government and industry can work to bring further success and growth here in the UK.

An example of the joint Government and industry approach already underway, is the Advanced Propulsion Centre - a £1bn joint industry/Government fund. This joint 10 year commitment exemplifies strategic vision and teamwork on a grand scale, and I hope that the UK's global dominance in motorsport will continue to feed cutting edge innovation into the sector, and beyond.

The past decade has certainly not been easy for many in the automotive industry. But, through the most challenging times and as this latest MIA survey shows, motorsport has continued to grow. Sales have more than doubled since the previous survey to over £9bn, with exports playing an increasingly significant part as 87% of companies sell their products outside the UK

More than 4,300 companies, across Motorsport Valley (and elsewhere), employ over 41,000, highly skilled, and well motivated people who deliver these impressive results. It is clear that the undoubted quality of these employees is at the heart of this unique British success story.

As the survey illustrates, exports remain key to the sector in the UK and I am pleased that UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) continues to support this flagship sector. A key focus this year is recognising the scale of opportunity in the USA and UKTI will be supporting a range of MIA-led international trade activities throughout the course of the coming year and remain committed and available to help all UK-based firms to export anywhere in the world.

As well as supporting British companies to export, it is important that we demonstrate to businesses across the globe that they should and could be part of this success, while at the same time encouraging the companies that are already here to increase their investment in the UK. With UKTI and the Automotive Investment Organisation, which was launched in July, we will be working hard to spread the message that if you are in motorsport and high performance engineering the UK is the place to be.

Motorsport has a unique power to excite and inspire our young people and offers a showcase for engineering excellence and for engineering as a career – in the automotive sector and beyond. So I’m delighted that many across the motorsport community are working hard to show our youngsters and their teachers the opportunities that exist within advanced engineering and manufacturing. If we can get young people thinking positively about engineering, building and designing, a new generation of engineers, designers, mechanics will emerge to carry the industry forward and bring further success to our country.

In order to ensure that the right education and training offer is available to our inspired young students, the Government provides significant support for through the National Apprenticeships service and the Higher Apprenticeships fund with The Government currently supporting around 36,000 Advanced Manufacturing apprentice starts a year. We are also supporting skills and jobs, as well as company growth, through the Regional Growth Fund and the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative. The skills development of our workforce remains a key priority for us and we will continue to support a range of activities to strengthen the industry’s future.

In conclusion the MIA’s survey shows us all what a successful, innovative, creative and exciting Motorsport sector we are fortunate enough to have in the UK. Our collective aim must be to nurture what we already have, and at the same time work to build a successful and world leading industry of which we can all be proud.

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