HC Deb 17 December 2001 vol 377 cc112-3W
Mr. Nicholas Winterton

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the outcome of her Department's Manufacturing Summit held on 5 December. [22224]

Ms Hewitt

[holding answer 12 December 2001]: The aim of the Manufacturing Summit was to bring together national Government, devolved Administrations, regional development agencies and industry and trade union leaders to reach a shared view on the challenges facing UK manufacturing industry. The summit built on the joint work of the CBI and TUC on productivity, which was recently presented to the Chancellor and myself.

Acting on a recommendation from the CBI and TUC, I announced at the summit an additional £20 million of funding over two years to expand the Industry Forum and the Partnership Fund. This funding will help more firms to work to spread best practice within the supply chain through the extension of Industry Forum principles to additional sectors. The expansion of the Partnership Fund will help employee and employer representatives to work together to achieve better performance in the workplace.

As a result of the summit, RDAs will work closely with manufacturers, unions and other local partners to implement regional industrial policies in accordance with their regional economic strategies.

At the meeting, industry representatives recognised the need to boost training and skills in order to achieve the productivity improvements that are necessary. We agreed to work more closely to share ideas and best practice on the promotion of innovation and skills that are key to the future success of our manufacturing industry. We will also ensure that Government agencies are working together more effectively to help people who are made redundant to get new skills and jobs as quickly as possible.