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Plan for Growth: Boris Johnson looks forward to a year of economic recovery at the second meeting of the Build Back Better Business Council

Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Prime Minister @BorisJohnson looks forward to a year of economic recovery at the second meeting of the Build Back Better Business Council as Chancellor @RishiSunak and Business Secretary @KwasiKwarteng write an open letter to businesses on the Government’s Plan for Growth.

The joint letter between Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng sets out the key pillars of investment that the government will focus on as we build back better from the pandemic, create jobs and drive forward key government priorities.

This month’s Budget helps to get businesses of all sizes back on their feet, with the roadmap setting the country’s course for cautiously reopening society and the economy and enabling many businesses to re-open.

The Plan for Growth looks ahead, building on the best of the Industrial Strategy set out in 2017 and refreshing the government’s long term strategy for growth in light of a new economic landscape, including the pandemic, our net zero target and our new place on the world stage as an independent nation outside the EU.

The letter comes ahead of the second meeting of the Prime Minister’s Build Back Better Business Council today (30 March 2021), which will be one of the ways that the government engages with business to drive forward the Plan for Growth. There, they will discuss how to make 2021 the ‘year of economic recovery’.

Ahead of the second meeting of the Build Back Better Business Council, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

With great progress being made on our vaccine programme and our roadmap underway, 2021 can really be the year of economic recovery.

Our Plan for Growth sets our path to invest in infrastructure, skills and innovation to build back better, whilst harnessing the strengths, resilience and creative spirit we’ve seen from businesses over the past year, so we can level up opportunity and prosperity across the country, eliminate our contribution to climate change and forge ahead as a truly Global Britain.

The joint letter from the Chancellor and Business Secretary says:

Creating and supporting jobs and helping to drive growth in existing, new and emerging industries is the government’s central economic focus. That is why we are transitioning the Industrial Strategy into our plan for growth and its related strategies.

The plan for growth builds on the best of the Industrial Strategy from 2017 and makes the most of our strengths right across the economy. It refreshes and goes further than ever before on critical policies and guides the government’s longer-term growth strategy as we build back better, so we can unite and level up the country, support our transition to net zero by 2050, and seize the new opportunities of a Global Britain as an independent nation.

Backed by 3 pillars of investment as the foundation of our economic recovery – infrastructure, skills and innovation – we can put the UK at the forefront of opportunities and give businesses the confidence they need to invest and grow.

The government is still taking forward the best elements of the Industrial Strategy, including continuation of existing Sector Deals.

The letter goes on to say:

The government is, and will continue to be, a champion of the needs of business and industry as we build back better from the pandemic. We will work closely and collaboratively with key stakeholders to ensure that our plans address challenges faced by business and grasp opportunities for future growth. That is why we have convened the Build Back Better Business Council, to draw on the expertise of industry and government to ensure that the plan for growth is delivered successfully, and in partnership with business.

Today’s Council meeting will particularly look at the innovation pillar of the Plan for Growth and discuss the government’s upcoming Innovation Strategy, due to be published this Summer.

The development of new ideas, products and processes, and unlocking the finance to pursue these, will put the UK at the forefront of new opportunities for growth and will be crucial to delivering key priorities such as transitioning to net zero by 2050.

Today, the government has announced over £30 million will be invested towards pioneering research studies into battery technology, electric vehicles and hydrogen vehicles.

The UK has already made great strides in scaling up the electric vehicle market and setting out an ambitious commitment to phase out of the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030.

More sustainable and reliable batteries for electric vehicles will help ensure they can run longer journeys more efficiently, supporting the market to develop and expand further, bringing down costs, and encouraging more households to make the switch.

Studies backed with over £9 million today will look at the development of a plant to extract lithium to use in electric vehicle batteries, the construction of a factory to build specialised magnets for electric vehicle motors, and the suitability of lightweight hydrogen storage for cars and vans.

The government-backed Faraday Institution is also committing £22.6 million to continue its work to further improve the safety, reliability and sustainability of batteries.

This latest round of studies funded through the Automotive Transformation Fund:

  • Cornish Lithium – Trelavour Hard Rock Lithium Scoping Study (Cornwall): Lithium hydroxide is an essential part of vehicle battery production. This study will assess the feasibility of developing a sustainable UK supply chain through the construction of an extraction plant that will produce low-carbon lithium hydroxide from a hard rock source in St Austell.
  • Less Common Metals – New UK Magnet Plant (Cheshire): This study has identified a promising approach to create a new UK magnet plant that will produce high-quality lightweight magnets for motors in electric vehicles.
  • Haydale Composites Solutions Ltd – Hydrogen storage for cars (Loughborough): Storing hydrogen requires high-strength durable containers for safe operation in vehicles. This project will assess the suitability of Haydale’s promising lightweight, low permeability storage tank, which could help to unlock the pathway to hydrogen propulsion.

The Faraday institution will use today’s funding to explore:

  • Battery safety, by investigating the root causes of cell failure in lithium-ion batteries and how this can lead to fires. It will also investigate the environmental consequences of such fires and help develop a consensus around the best method of fighting lithium-ion battery fires.
  • Solid state batteries, which have the long-term potential to deliver improvements in safety and significantly increase the distance an electric vehicle can cover between charges.
  • Recycling and reusing batteries to increase the sustainability of the future automotive supply chain.

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