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£780m government cash to boost high-paid technology jobs

Chancellor Philip Hammond said the funding is intended to help start-ups and entrepreneurs.

The Chancellor has announced a £780 million funding boost to foster innovation technology start-ups and help create the high-paid jobs “we urgently need”.

Touring a manufacturing training centre on Friday, Philip Hammond said the cash would expand “catapult centres”, supporting work in high-tech labs and factories.

He made the announcement as figures showed the UK’s GDP (gross domestic product) was up 0.4% between April and June, compared with the first three months of the year.

Mr Hammond, who was in the West Midlands, said: “We are working hard to build a stronger, fairer economy – dealing with the deficit, helping people into work, and cutting taxes for individuals and businesses.

“Unemployment is at its lowest since the 1970s, our national debt is starting to fall, and the economy has grown every year since 2010.

“It is by backing innovative British companies to grow and create jobs that we will continue this progress and build an economy fit for the future.

“Today’s £780 million investment will support innovators across the country to create the technologies of the future, and the better, highly-paid jobs we urgently need.”

The funding is in addition to £180 million announced by Prime Minister Theresa May in the North East last month.

Mr Hammond was meeting apprentices and staff at the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry, which has received £122 million of the government cash and is currently a world-leader in 3D printing, including development of a process to build Rolls-Royce aeroplane engine parts.

The money will fund a new research and development building on the site, just off the M6, which will help entrepreneurs and start-up firms bring new technology to market.

Unveiling a plaque in the Sopwith Building, Mr Hammond said the facility would “help start-ups turn their ideas into reality”.

The centre is named after Sir Tommy Sopwith, whose company built First World War aircraft, including the famous Sopwith Camel which was credited with shooting down 1,300 enemy planes.

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