Government makes progress on £240m tech investment

First phase launched today

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark will today announce in a keynote speech on the industrial strategy  the launch of the first phase of a £240m government investment into battery technology to ensure the UK builds on its strengths and leads the world in the design, development and manufacture of electric batteries.

Known as the Faraday Challenge, the four-year investment round is a key part of the government’s Industrial Strategy.  It will deliver a coordinated programme of competitions that will aim to boost both the research and development of expertise in battery technology.

An overarching Faraday Challenge Advisory Board will be established to ensure the coherence and impact of the Challenge. The Board will be chaired by Professor Richard Parry-Jones, a senior engineering leader with many decades of senior automotive industry experience and recently chaired the UK Automotive Council for six years.

The Government and Ofgem will also set out a plan later today to ensure the energy system is fit for the future. With over a quarter of the UK’s electricity being generated through renewables and the costs of technologies like battery storage rapidly decreasing, there are significant opportunities to secure economic benefits for businesses and households across the country.  

At a speech hosted by the Resolution Foundation in Birmingham, Greg Clark is expected to say on the need for an Industrial Strategy: “At its heart is a recognition that in order 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.

“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.

“We have great strengths. Our economy has been extraordinarily good at creating jobs. When we look at our closest neighbours, we can be truly proud of the fact almost everyone of working age in this country is in work and earning.”

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