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Vince Cable reveals £22m for housebuilding technology push

The government will provide a £22m grant to help push new housebuilding technology as part of a range of measures to boost manufacturing.

The grant is part of a £104m project led by Laing O’Rourke which will promote new pre-assembly techniques to increase the speed and bring down the cost of housebuilding.

Announcing the package of measures today, business secretary Vince Cable said: “To meet urgent demand for new affordable homes, the construction industry must embrace new technologies and techniques – and our support will help them do this more quickly.

“This reflects the long-term commitment of our industrial strategy to modernising British manufacturing. 

“Working in partnership with industry, targeted investment from government is helping firms exploit new technologies, raise skills levels and improve productivity.”

The package of measures also includes an action plan to improve access to finance for businesses along the manufacturing supply chain.

The plan will encourage larger companies to develop skills further down the supply chain by redirecting applicants for jobs or apprenticeships they can’t offer themselves to their suppliers.

It will also tackle late payment and aim to end unfair practices, such as charging companies to stay on supplier lists.

The Laing O’Rourke project is backed by the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative, a government funding competition to provide capital for research and development projects, skills and training.

Laing O’Rourke director of advanced manufacturing Stephen Harley said: “This grant comes at a critical time for the construction and engineering sector and its supply chain.

“It will help our consortium create more than 600 new jobs – and could create 1,000 more across the diverse supply chain.

“The investment is great news for our ability to help address the UK’s housing capacity gap of some 60,000 to 100,000 homes annually, with advanced offsite manufacturing and digital engineering speeding up the provision of affordable, high-quality accommodation.”

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