March marked the formal launch of the 4IR All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) at the House of Commons. Set up by government as a response to the fourth industrial revolution, the group aims to drive the business infrastructure required to ensure that the UK is well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities presented by 4IR technologies.
Hosted by Alan Mak MP and with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP as guest of honour, the launch was attended by a mix of MPs, industry leaders, technology companies and government officials. LCR 4.0 was the only regional presence at the event and was also the only business support programme directly tackling the challenge of enabling SME engagement with 4IR.
Following the opening presentations from Alan Mak MP and the Chancellor, the 150 guests were invited to network and visit the various stands, including that of LCR 4.0.
Simon Reid of the Liverpool City Region LEP who represented LCR 4.0 at the event, said: “It was fantastic to showcase the LCR 4.0 programme on a national stage and in front of such an influential audience. It’s good to be able to align ourselves as being at the forefront of regional engagement with 4IR.
“There was a great deal of interest in LCR 4.0 throughout the day, including from MPs and the Chancellor which is a great endorsement. The general impression was that people were genuinely surprised that a region was so far ahead in its thinking in terms of creating opportunities for SMEs to explore 4IR technologies and was already actively engaging with businesses.
“In the Chancellor’s speech, he discussed the need for a pro-business and pro-innovation environment for 4IR to thrive. He also made reference to the physical infrastructure required to support 4IR, 5G for example, and how the Treasury is working towards this which was good to hear.
“Moving forward, we need to ensure that talk turns to action so that businesses across the UK, not just those within the Liverpool City Region, are able to fully explore 4IR and opportunities it presents.”