£246 Million Battery Technology Investment To Be Launched By Business Secretary In Birmingham

The first phase of a £246 million Government investment into battery technology is being launched.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said the aim is to ensure the UK leads the world in the design, development and manufacture of electric batteries.

Known as the Faraday Challenge, the four-year investment round is a key part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy. It will deliver a programme of competitions that will aim to boost the research and development of battery technology.

Birmingham’s car industry and universities are engaged in research to make electric batteries more efficient, more compact and longer lasting to power our vehicles of the future and lessen the economy’s dependence on oil, as well as boost our economy.

The West Midlands has already launched a bid to open a national battery research centre in Coventry.

The minister will tell a meeting hosted by the Resolution Foundation at the University of Birmingham today: “To enjoy a high and rising standard of living we must plan to be more productive than in the past.

“Economists have pointed to what they have called a productivity puzzle in Britain. That we appear to generate less value for our efforts than, say, people in Germany or France.

“In other words, we have to work longer to get the same rewards.

“It’s not that we want – or need – people to work longer hours. It’s that we need to ensure that we find and seize opportunities to work more productively as a country, as cities and regions, as businesses and as individuals.”

“If we can do so, we can increase the earning power of our country and our people.”

Mr Clark said there had been an “extraordinary” reaction to a Green Paper on the Industrial Strategy, with over 1,900 written responses, from new start-ups to big businesses and from organisations as diverse as the Premier League to the Women’s Engineering Society.

The Farday Challenge

Mr Clark says the investment will begin by bringing together the UK’s best minds and facilities to create a Battery Institute.

He says: ” The most promising research completed by the Institute will be moved closer to the market through industrial collaborations led by Innovate UK.

“And the Advanced Propulsion Centre will work with the automotive sector to identify the best proposition for a new state-of-the-art open access National Battery Manufacturing Development facility.

“The work that we do through the Faraday Challenge will – quite literally – power the automotive and energy revolution where, already, the UK is leading the world.”

The Faraday Challenge’s competitions are divided into three streams – research, innovation and scale-up – designed to drive a step-change in translating the UK’s world-leading research into market-ready technology that ensures economic success for the UK:

Research: To support world class research and training in battery materials, technologies and manufacturing processes, the Government has opened a £45m competition, led by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), to bring the best minds and facilities together to create a virtual Battery Institute. The successful consortium of universities will be responsible for undertaking research looking to address the key industrial challenges in this area.

Innovation: The most promising research completed by the Institute will be moved closer to the market through collaborative research and development competitions, led by Innovate UK. The initial competitions will build on the best of current world-leading science already happening in the UK and helping make the technology more accessible for UK businesses. ‘

Scale-up: To further develop the real-world use and application of battery technology the Government has opened a competition, led by the Advanced Propulsion Centre, to identify the best proposition for a new state-of-the-art open access National Battery Manufacturing Development facility.

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Back Smaller Builders To Tackle Housing Shortage Says Wayne Hemingway

Fashion giant turned urban designer Wayne Hemingway has called on Government to speed up house building for young people.

Mr Hemingway, who famously founded the Red or Dead fashion house, told a meeting of council bosses at the Library of Birmingham that they should emulate Birmingham City Council’s Municipal Housing Trust to tackle the national shortage.

The Housing Trust is currently the largest house builder in the West Midlands with 800 properties under construction and more in the pipeline, and is looking to rapidly expand its output to help meet the city’s target of 89,000 new homes by 2031.

But he said the Government also needed to encourage more smaller building firms to start developing rather than wait for the big construction beasts who he accuses of restricting housing growth to drive up demand and keep profits high.

Mr Hemingway said his staff, many professional young people earning a good living in the creative industries, could never afford a house and have nowhere decent to rent. “Most of them are in constant dispute with their landlords,” he said. “And there are people in a much worse position than them.”

“For those of us over 40 there was a feeling that if you rolled your sleeves up and put a bit of elbow grease you would most likely do better than your parents.”

He added young people today do not have that feeling.

He called for a change in the market to encourage smaller local building firms. Asked what the Government and town halls can do he said: “They can help people who will build faster while working with less margins.

!I know from my years in the industry the big house builders will build more slowly than they could, they will blame staff shortages, they will blame skill shortages but ultimately they often release a certain amount of homes every month which keeps demand up, keeps the price up and doesn’t serve society.

!When we get a big site of 300 or 400 homes it needs to be split among SMEs like Clive Jessup or Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust who all go on to a development and build it out fast.”

He said this will increase the pace and quality of the building through direct competition.”

He went on to praise Birmingham’s architectural renaissance, noting the large amount of construction work around Paradise, Arena Central and Centenary Square. He said: “I think the Library of Birmingham is a fantastic building. Birmingham is being noticed.”

Council leader John Clancy hosted the Local Government Association Conference event with Clive Jessup of Birmingham construction firm Jessup Brothers.

The council used the event to launch its document “Building great homes, creating great places” targeted at other councils and developers.

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Mario Addison Speaks At Housing Authority’s ‘Man To Man’ Event

Mario Addison speaks at the “Man to Man” event.(

He may have played in the Super Bowl, but the NFL’s Mario Addison told a group of Birmingham man that life is about more than athletic achievement.

Addison, who grew up in North Birmingham Homes, spoke to almost 200 people this week as a part of the Housing Authority of the Birmingham District’s “Man to Man” event.

(Special)

Addison will also host a football camp for HABD youth this summer.

The program at the Smithfield Community Center brought together 180 men of all ages participating in this summer’s HABD summer camp. Addison, a defensive end for the Carolina Panthers, urged the young men to seek and embrace the positive examples that are already present in their daily lives.

“It doesn’t always have to be your parents. There are other people,” he said, motioning to the HABD staff lining the walls as examples.

Though Addison said playing in the NFL has been like “a dream come true,” it’s not the only thing of importance in his life. He has had to adjust to his role as the father of an 8-year-old girl.

As a parent, Addison said he now understands that every decision he makes will impact his child.

“It ain’t all about Mario anymore,” he said.

Addison told the group of teenagers and adolescents that it’s important to plan now for what they want to become in life. Athletics is not a guaranteed path to success. Even he is beginning to plan for life once his professional football career is over.

“We need more firemen, we need more teachers and lawyers, policemen,” he said.

The event this week is an expansion of the annual HABD Fatherhood initiative. Activities in June are part of the national HUD initiative to promote fatherhood and positive lifestyles for men. The program this year includes outreach to younger men as well. Activities will continue throughout the summer, including a midnight basketball program.

“This was amazing. For a former resident to come back and spend time with our kids spoke volumes for me,” said Cardell Davis, chairman of the HABD Board of Commissioners, who also participated in the panel discussion.

Addison ended the event with a drawing where two boys were awarded a shopping spree to Academy Sports next week.

HABD President/CEO Michael Lundy called Addison the prefect person to speak to the young men.

“The thing about his story is it’s so realistic,” Lundy said. “He talked about the mentors in his life, and if it weren’t for the people in his life he would not have made it. Even with the ups and down, he still made it. The kids could identify with that.”

Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb is running for the Democratic nomination for governor. (Greg Garrison/ggarrison@al.com)

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