British government moves to support motorsport industry

Britain's Department of Trade and Industry has revealed plans for the government to act to help preserve Britain's place as the industry leader in motorsport. The plans were unveiled by Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt, who promised a three-prong attack. The first move will be an in-depth independent study into the industry and the issues that are facing the business. There will then be a round table, chaired by Hewitt herself, which will include some of the major players in the motorsport business. This will be followed by the development of a long-term partnership program between the industry and the government. This will probably include the establishment of a Motorsport Panel to bring together the industry leaders and the government on a regular basis.

"Motorsport a great example of where technology, innovation and manufacturing comes together as a great British success," says Hewitt. "But there is more we can do to spread the benefits and opportunities generated by the UK motorsport cluster across manufacturing and service industries. The UK leads the world in this sector, but we cannot be complacent. Tens of thousands of people have jobs associated with the sector and we need to make sure that we can meet the growing competition from other countries.

"I want to ensure government does what it can to assist. A cross section of key industrialists in the UK will participate to ensure that the needs of industry are being addressed and help inform the research for the study."

Over the last 20 years, the UK has developed a world class motorsport industry cluster of performance engineering and service companies which now generates $7.5bn annually, over 50% of which is exports, and directly employs over 40,000 people (including 25,000 engineers) in over 2,500 individual businesses.

One of the major problems identified by the sport is that there is not enough high technology in Britain to keep the motorsport business ahead of competition in Japan and Germany. The government has recently announced plans for a $70m investment in an Automotive Academy, where the latest design expertise and world-beating production techniques can be perfected and shared between Britain's top car engineers and manufacturers.

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