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'Cutting edge' technologies receive £1bn from Government to boost businesses

The Government is investing £1 billion in "cutting-edge" technologies including self-driving vehicles, satellites and batteries.

Ministers said the funding over the next four years will create opportunities for businesses across the UK.

The money, from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, will focus on six areas - healthcare and medicine, robotics and artificial intelligence, batteries for clean and flexible energy storage, self-driving vehicles, manufacturing and materials of the future and satellites and space technology.

The Government said the investment was aimed at delivering a "step-change" in turning research into commercialised products.

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said: "This Government wants to create a modern industrial strategy to support the key sectors of our economy and spread jobs, prosperity and opportunity around the whole country.

"Through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund we will provide an enormous boost to our world-class research and development sector, to help turn brilliant British innovations into new businesses and good jobs.

"The UK is home to some of the world's best innovators at the very forefront of global excellence.

"The funding I am announcing today, providing hundreds of millions of pounds of support to develop the next generation of technologies across a range of sectors, shows our determination and commitment to making sure the UK remains at the very forefront of research innovation for years to come."

Chancellor Philip Hammond said: "Addressing the UK's productivity gap is key to raising living standards and ensuring we are match fit to compete in the global economy.

"As we leave the EU, we are determined to help Britain's innovators compete with the best and seize the opportunities ahead, and this money will help advance our position as a global leader in developing cutting-edge technologies."

Rebecca Long-Bailey, shadow business secretary, said: "This is simply a re-commitment of research and development (R&D) funding announced at last year's Autumn Statement.

"R&D is vital for the UK's future prosperity, yet this Government have cut funding since 2010 and the UK remains significantly behind the OECD average of 2.4% of GDP in public and private investment in R&D."

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