£19m Midlands 'Eco-Car' Fund
|England's Midlands has been designated a new Low Carbon Economic Area (LCEA).
To bolster the move, Business Secretary Lord Mandelson has pledged £19m toward the development of low carbon vehicles.
Lord Mandelson made the announcement during a visit to the International Manufacturing Centre at the University of Warwick.
"The LCEA will send a clear signal to the global market about the Midlands’ strengths in advanced automotive engineering," he said.
Lord Mandelson said the low carbon economy presents huge opportunities.
"This new funding will help secure the Midlands’ 10,000 existing car industry jobs, by helping transform them into the green car jobs of the future."
Mick Laverty, Chief Executive at Advantage West Midlands, welcomed the Government investment in the Midlands.
"Becoming a Low Carbon Economic Area will reinforce our growing reputation as globally competitive regions, which continue to develop cutting-edge green technologies and high technology industries upon which the future prosperity of all UK regions will depend."
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East Midlands Development Agency chair Bryan Jackson said the Low Carbon Economic Area will link unique transport innovation network (iNet) in the East Midlands.
Professor Lord Bhattacharyya, founder of the University of Warwick’s Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) said the car industry is facing huge challenges over the next decade.
"From emissions, the environment to safety engineering, a new generation of hi-tech but low carbon cars will be required.
"Today’s announcement is a crucial and most welcome government investment in low carbon automotive engineering which will help companies meet these global needs and provide them with new opportunities to grow as the world emerges from recession."
Ian Austin, Regional Minister for the West Midlands said: "Advanced automotive engineering and low carbon technologies are extremely important to the future prosperity of the Midlands’ and UK economy."
Mr Austin's East Midlands counterpart, Phil Hope, said: "By providing the environment for businesses in this sector to develop and implement new, low-carbon ideas, we will ensure that Midlands-based companies remain at the cutting edge of new technologies, creating skilled, green jobs and bringing additional wealth to the region."
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