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Manufacturing Industries: Leeds

Volume 504: debated on Monday 18 January 2010

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department has taken to safeguard manufacturing jobs in Leeds during the economic downturn. (305986)

Solutions for Business is a streamlined package of publicly funded support offering help for companies to start, grow and improve their competitiveness. This support is accessed in Yorkshire and The Humber through Business Link Yorkshire.

Since they were introduced on 23 October 2008 Business Link has arranged for over 10,500 health checks for businesses in Yorkshire and the Humber. This includes 1,580 businesses in the Leeds local authority area of which 225 are involved in manufacturing.

The Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) is part of the Government Solutions for Business portfolio. MAS plays a vital role in helping manufacturers improve their productivity and competitiveness.

Business Link Yorkshire works closely with MAS to promote services available to manufacturers. As an example, Business Link Yorkshire in partnership with MAS and Leeds City Council organised a “Leeds Manufacturing - Looking to the Future” event on 22 January 2009. This event provided advice to help businesses improve their competitiveness and survive the downturn. It was attended by over 200 manufacturing businesses in Leeds.

In Yorkshire and The Humber MAS has 150 manufacturing specialists who can advise on all aspects of manufacturing to deliver business improvements. Its range of services includes “manufacturing mentoring through the downturn” where the focus is on safeguarding manufacturing jobs.

In the period September 2008 to October 2009 MAS Yorkshire and Humber helped 122 companies in the Leeds area. This support resulted in assisting these companies to achieve Gross Value Added (GVA) improvements of over £3.6 million creating 13 new jobs and safeguarding 345 jobs.

Yorkshire Forward set up a manufacturing task group in February 2009. This group is working on a long term strategy for manufacturing in the region building on key growth sectors. These include low carbon technologies; digital and new media; life sciences and advanced engineering and materials. I will continue to work with this group to ensure both the region and Leeds maintains its reputation as a strong manufacturing base.