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A new national programme launched to help SMEs

A new national programme which will focus on helping small and medium manufacturing businesses to grow has officially launched, Business Minister Mark Prisk and the Manufacturing Advisory Consortium (MAC) announced recently.

The new Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) is now available to all manufacturing businesses across England. It will be delivered by the MAC, which is comprised of Grant Thornton, Pera, WM Manufacturing Consortium Ltd and SWMAS Ltd. It has been estimated that the new MAS will help to generate £1.5 billion in economic growth, 23,000 jobs and safeguard 50,000 jobs.

Businesses interested in finding out more about the programme can find out more by visiting www.mymas.org or by calling an advisor on 0845 658 9600.

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Apprenticeships: Cable guarantees quality, slashes red tape and delivers cash boost for firms

Business Secretary Vince Cable today announced new measures to ensure more young people benefit from an apprenticeship, and to help employers gain the skilled workers they need to grow.

As part of the Government’s plan for growth, Ministers are taking action to make it easier for companies to take on apprentices, and ensure that the quality of apprenticeships is continually improved. He told businesses in Londonrecently that the Government would slash the red tape that can deter hard pressed firms from taking on apprentices, and provide a financial incentive to help the smallest firms recruit their first young apprentices.

The following measures to further strengthen the UK’s world class apprenticeships programme were recently announced:

· To encourage thousands of small firms that don’t currently hire apprentices to take on a young apprentice aged 16 to 24, the Government will offer employers with up to 50 employees an incentive payment of up to £1,500. This will support up to 20,000 new apprenticeships in 2012/13. An initial payment will be made two months after the individual has started their apprenticeship; the balance will be paid after the apprenticeship has been completed and the trainee has progressed into sustainable employment.

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Government funds manufacturing research in drive for future growth

The UK’s ability to stay at the forefront of world-class manufacturing received a boost of over £170 million today as the Government announced a package to drive future growth.

A high value manufacturing technology and innovation centre will receive over £140 million over a six year period and is open for business.

The centre is formed from seven research and technology facilities from across the country. It will help to kick-start a sustained manufacturing revival by commercialising science – taking ideas from the drawing board to help make them into real products.

The Technology Strategy Board (TSB) will run a competition of nearly £18 million, Technology Inspired Innovation, to fund products inspired by new discoveries and breakthroughs, such as advanced materials, biosciences and nanoscale technologies.

The TSB and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) will also be running a £15 million competition for investment into the research and development of low carbon vehicles.

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Government launches next phase of Growth Review

The rural economy and medium sized businesses will be at the centre of the next stage of the Growth Review, the Government announced today, as it continues its focus on restoring the economy’s health.

Building on the radical programme of reforms set out in the first Plan for Growth, published at the Budget, the next stage of the review will focus on:

Infrastructure – considering how to eliminate barriers and encourage greater investment in UK infrastructure

  • Education and skills – looking across the whole of the education system from schools, FE colleges, universities and other training providers to consider how to maximise economic growth
  • Logistics – covering rail, road, shipping and air freight interests and cutting across the wholesale industry, looking at opportunities and barriers to growth as the logistics sector evolves in response to the increasing complexity and globalisation of supply chains
  • Mid-sized businesses – examining businesses that have expanded beyond the definition of SMEs, considering how to increase the number of firms that show significant growth at this level
  • Rural economy – scrutinizing the constraints, opportunities and risks impacting on economic growth in rural areas, and considering specific issues including labour market characteristics, to support the Government’s commitment to rebalancing the economy
  • Open data – investigating the potential growth benefits and risks of opening up access to public sector data assets
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