Commenting on specific announcements made today (Wednesday) in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement and Spending Review, Simon Whalley, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at the Royal Aeronautical Society, said:
“The Government has demonstrated a good grasp of the requirements of advanced manufacturing sectors like aerospace as some details of the operation of the Apprenticeship Levy were announced today. The focus on high-quality, putting control of standards and proceeds from the Levy in the hands of employers – particularly building on the already-successful Trailblazer groups – and the recognition that more expensive apprenticeship programmes like those in aerospace will require more funding are to be welcomed.
“However, a single industry-wide expiry date for spending money on accounts is not sensitive enough to fluctuations in industry demands in different sectors. This merely encourages firms to create apprenticeships that do not meet business need, which would defeat the object of the Levy and merely undermine national productivity.
“Evidently there is much work for the Government still to do with employers before April 2017 to iron out the creases in the new system.”
“Investment in science and related research yields proven economic returns across the aerospace sector and must remain at the heart of a strong sustainable national economy. The Chancellor’s commitment to protect the Science Budget in real terms over the life of this Parliament is a positive first step but sadly does not go far enough to compensate for the £1 billion lost to the research base over the past five years due to the Government’s flat-cash policy.”
“We welcome the Government’s renewed commitment to helping to provide the means and resources to develop and capitalise on world-class technologies so that the aerospace sector remains one of the most innovative and internationally competitive sectors in the UK economy. During the last Parliament, Government and industry worked together to establish initiatives like the Aerospace Technology Institute to maintain the UK’s global pre-eminence in aerospace manufacturing, in particular creating the right environment for research and development. It is only right that this partnership should continue.”
Notes to Editors:
1. The Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) is the world’s only professional body dedicated to the entire aerospace community. The Society promotes the highest professional standards in all aerospace disciplines; provides specialist information; acts as a central forum for the exchange of ideas; and plays a leading role in influencing opinion on aerospace matters. Visit www.aerosociety.com for more information.
2. Simon Whalley is available for further comment and interview.
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