Keeping UK Motorsport on top

Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt has unveiled a new strategy to develop the UK's position as the world leader in motorsport technology

. The three-pronged programme, which will involve both the Government and key players in the sector, will involve: - A far-reaching independent study to look at they key issues facing motorsport; - a motorsport 'round table', chaired by Ms Hewitt, involving all the main players from the industry, sport and Government to meet early next month; and - the development of a long-term partnership programme between the industry and Government at national and regional levels. One of the main proposals is the establishment of a Motorsport Panel to bring together the industry, sport and Government on a regular basis. Building on industry's own recent efforts to create joined up working, the panel would look at the competitive threats to the UK's world leading motorsport industry; bring together the interests of the industry, sport and Government in the UK to develop a joined up long term approach; and examine the best ways to enhance and develop the UK's competitive position in motorsport technologies. Ms Hewitt said: "Motorsport a great example of where technology, innovation and manufacturing comes together as a great British success. But there is more we can do to spread the benefits and opportunities generated by the UK motorsport cluster across manufacturing and service industries. "The UK leads the world in this sector, but we cannot be complacent. Tens of thousands of people have jobs associated with the sector and we need to make sure that we can meet the growing competition from other countries. "I want to ensure Government does what it can to assist. A cross section of key industrialists in the UK will participate to ensure that the needs of industry are being addressed and help inform the research for the study." Over the last 20 years the UK has developed a world class motorsport industry which now generates a £5 billion annual turnover, over 50% of which is exports, and directly employs over 40,000 people (including 25,000 engineers) in over 2,500 individual businesses. The new motorsport study will look at the key issues facing the UK's motorsport cluster, drawing together the needs of both industry and the sport. The study will be produced by an independent consulting firm, with the work to be carried out between July and October 2002. The study will build on existing motorsport research and planned activities by industry, DTI and Regional Development Agencies to ensure a fully co-ordinated approach. It will produce recommendations on what the Government's future role in motorsport should be. The proposed Motorsport Competitiveness Panel could include industrialists, relevant industry and sport bodies, with representatives from relevant Government departments and agencies as and when required. The members could be drawn from both the sport and industry interests of motorsport but also from other industry sectors to provide a balanced view. Picture: Mark Thompson /Allsport