Chris McDonald, CEO of Middlesbrough-based Materials Processing Institute, quizzed opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, about innovation and the foundation industries.
The Labour Leader was speaking at the CBI Annual Conference, which this year focussed on innovation. Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Theresa May, made a commitment to increasing Government spending on innovation to £2Bn per year by 2020. In response, Jeremy Corbyn pledged that a future Labour Government would raise innovation spending to 3% of GDP.
Chris, a recognised champion for innovation and the foundation industries, who is also the Innovation lead on the UK Metals Council and a member of the CBI regional council in the North East, responded to Jeremy Corbyn’s speech on industrial strategy, by welcoming the policy to increase innovation spending, but he questioned the Leader of the Opposition directly on the role of metals and material in future industrial strategy. Jeremy Corbyn responded by emphatically positioning both steel and metals as the bedrock of UK industry, stating that manufacturing was not possible without a steel industry.
Chris said: “The recognition by the Prime Minister and Jeremy Corbyn of the importance of both innovation and the materials sector is welcome. We acknowledge the shift in the Government’s innovation agency InnovateUK in the last ten months from a position that materials is ‘not important’ to one where they are now appointing a director for materials. We now need Government to respond to the request from industry, including CBI, to establish a new innovation Catapult for the metals and materials sector.”