On 25 January, a debate was held in UK parliament discussing the importance of adopting photonics in manuafcturing to improve domestic productivity.
The Photonics Industry is a growth sector in the UK with more than 1,500 companies who employ over 70,000 people with an output of £10.5 billion. The industry has experienced a sustained growth of six to eight per cent per year over the last three decades.
More importantly, the Photonics Industry enables other industries to be competitive, with 10 per cent of overall UK jobs depending on it.
Parliamentary support for the photonics Industry with a new APPG for Photonics
The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Photonics’ inaugural meeting was held in October, instigated by member of parliament (MP) Carol Monaghan. The group has cross-party support from MPs throughout the UK. It is now fully registered and included on the parliamentary list of approved APPGs.
Carol is an active campaigner for science and technology and is a member of the House of Commons’ Science and Technology Select Committee. As a former physics teacher Carol brings first-hand experience of science to Westminster and is the SNP group spokesperson on Education.
The Photonics Leadership Group, a not-for-profit organisation representing the UK Photonics industry, will provide administrative support for the APPG and will assist the elected officers in managing the group. In addition, the Photonics Leadership Group has set up and will manage the new website:
The APPG on Photonics will hold its next meeting on 21 February 2017 in the Houses of Parliament, with Members of both Houses and from all parties invited to attend. A number of leading Photonics companies will be there to provide hands-on demonstrations of products to raise awareness of the industry.
‘Building on the international year of light in 2015, I am delighted to have secured a debate in Westminster Hall for the Photonics Industry, recognising the huge contribution that the light-based technology - photonics - makes to the UK economy,’ commented Carol Monaghan MP. ‘The UK has long been a hot bed of photonics innovation and many companies, including those in my own constituency, are translating world-leading UK science into globally exported products. I want Parliamentarians to better understand where this hidden UK strength is having impact, and how photonics can help our industrial output and economy to grow.’
Speaking after the confirmation of the APPG registration, Dr John Lincoln of the Photonics Leadership Group said: ‘The UK is a leading manufacturer of photonics with an annual output of over £10bn, over 75 per cent of which is exported, demonstrating the UK’s globally-leading capability. Even when something is manufactured abroad it is often touched by a UK-made laser in the process. We now need to accelerate adoption of light technology by UK manufacturing to boost our domestic productivity.
‘The Photonics Leadership Group is delighted to welcome the APPG on Photonics to share our passion and ensure the UK makes best use of our photonics strength.’